Tessitura Bevilacqua | Venice, Italy

Tessitura Bevilacqua | Arte Laguna Prize

Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua was founded in Venice around 1700, but the textile tradition started many centuries earlier: it dates back to at least 1499, when the name “Giovanni Bevilacqua, waver”, one of the family’s ancestors, appeared on a painting by Giovanni Mansueti. It is the oldest European weaving still in activity. On the original looms belonging to the Silk Guild of the Republic of Venice, even today the precious soprarizzo velvet is hand-woven with the same techniques and the same quality level imposed by the Doges. The Bevilacqua historical archive, with more than 3500 drawings, is a source of inspiration for the most famous stylists and designers from all over the world. The manual production, which still takes place in the company’s historic headquarters overlooking the Grand Canal, since the 1930s has been accompanied by a mechanical production always performed on exclusive Bevilacqua designs with the use of particular techniques to ensure the quality and prestige of the brand name.

Tessitura Bevilacqua is divided into a part of mechanical production and one of manual weaving. The latter still has its headquarters in Venice, in Santa Croce, overlooking the Grand Canal. The soprarizzo velvet is the most refined and complex type of velvet, since it consists of two layers of velvet: the cut velvet and the curly velvet. It owes its name to the fact that the cut velvet is higher than the curly (riccio) one: from here sopra-riccio or soprarizzo. The difference between these two types of velvets, in addition to embellishing the design, also creates different shades of color, starting from the same yarn. As a matter of fact, the curly velvet reflects the light and is lighter, while the cut velvet absorbs it and, as a consequence, it is darker. The processing is extremely slow, since, on each loom, only a few centimeters a day are produced. However, the satisfaction of creating something unique, whose secret is now guarded by only a few people in the world, repays all the efforts.


Elio Ticca | Arte Lagubna Prize

Elio Ticca
(Nuoro, Italy)

Winner at 13th edition
Discover Elio’s experience >


  • The historic Venetian company awards the best artistic proposal with the precious fabric Velvet Soprarizzo Leoni, made with a loom from 1700, worth € 2,000.

  • Participation requires the submission of projects involving the use of the Bevilacqua fabric. The theme is free, there are no limits of size and the artist has freedom of choice on how to use the fabric. The winner will receive a fabric supply in agreement with the company, the project must be completed within 1 year from the reception of the materials and will remain the property of the artist.

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