Villaggio Valentino, Ethra Reserve

Valentino Village, Nova Yardinia, Castellaneta Marina, Puglia, Italy


In 1996, Brian collaborated with architect Emilio Ambasz on several features of the Ethra Reserve development, designing integral artworks for the theatre and conference centre at Villaggio Valentino – now called the Clarke Room, where a wall of stained glass forms one side of the building's exterior – and the amphitheatre 'loggia' tower. He collaborated with Ambasz again in in 2000–2001, designing the stained glass panelling and ceiling of the Kalidria Hotel and its restaurant, in the same development. In the work at the Villaggio Valentino theatre, which Brian describes as “the first time I felt the real pull of huge organic forms – this inspired the idea for The Glass Wall", the contemporary stained glass forms a curved, radiant, coloured frieze at night when illuminated from within; by day, the mixture of transparent and translucent glass – together with the sculptural relief of the graphic leadlines – form an artwork that also functions 'as a blind behind which the activity of the theatre can go on undisturbed' by passers-by. The two other artworks are set into the amphitheatre tower, a panel on each side, opposite each other.

"I felt Villaggio Valentino was immensely successful. I conceived the work as having a nocturnal presence, said ‘light it up at night’. The plaza in front became a restaurant, because people loved sitting there, because its glow created a kind of theatrical event. I chose, and had fabricated, opal and opalescent glass, so that in the daytime, in the outside light, it looks like sliced alabaster.

In this design, pools of light form onto the floor of the conference theatre and mute the inside of the room. The glass acts as a screen to the strong Mediterranean sunlight, and the room is animated by fragments of colour.” – from the book ‘The Art of Glass: Integrating Architecture and Glass’, by Stephen Knapp.