Luciani handled the overall design and production, handing off the
fixture and furniture production to Macerata, Italy-based Grottini,
which also acted as general contractor. “It’s a delicate task because
of the quality required for luxury finishes, and the assembly and
shipping included,” he says. “Grottini maintains and preserves its
family tradition of seriousness, professionalism, and human rela-
tionships. They have a good technical team.”
Grottini’s Evoli says the company enjoys collaborating with
Luciani, whose inventiveness is coupled with technical expertise.
“Alessandro is demanding,” he says. “He is highly valued in the
The collaboration also helped the team anticipate the adaptations
design community for his attention to details along with creativity
and no space for compromises. Having a good understanding of
technical feasibility and having our lab and our facilities available
to his experimentations is also rare in our industry.”
The Grottini team worked closely with him, to ensure that each
piece brought into the tiny space would fit perfectly, Evoli says.
that would be needed for a location that was anything but standard.
Grottini’s previous work in Venice had familiarized the team to
the logistical challenges of transporting all materials and furnishings by waterways, difficulties increased in this instance by the
delicacy and fragility of glass, fine leather, and polished galvanized
“There is always a big risk [handling such pieces], but in this
case, everything went really well,” Evoli says. “The painstaking
work of evaluating of all phases of work, done in the beginning,
helped minimize the risks.”
The company’s dedication to teamwork and collaboration ensured
that the on-site work realized the designer’s intent as much as the
pieces crafted from detailed drawings in the workshops, he says.
To ensure that everything fit in the small irregular space, some
pieces had to be built or customized on-site.
According to Grottini, the main practical design challenge was
creating suitably luxurious fixtures that could withstand occasional
floods of saltwater. Suspended showcases covered in ponyskin keep
the precious merchandise off the ground, and the stainless-steel
construction of remaining furniture weathers maritime exposure.
All pieces are raised at least 60 cm from the floor.
The only space in the store for consulting with sales associates,
looking at and trying on the product, and completing the payment
transaction is a custom table with stainless-steel legs. Evoli says
watches are brought out on “wood and leather trays that are as
much temporary displays as they are containers; they’re the only
displays in the store not encased in glass.
The vitrines displaying the watches required a special emphasis
on lighting, Luciani says.
“The U-BOAT brand caters to an international clientele that
wants an exclusive object with high technological and stylistic value,
The U-BOAT watch store façade takes its visual cues
from the historic San Marco building and St. Mark’s
Plaza. Istria stone, ubiquitous in Venice, is both iconic
and practical. It has been used to withstand the
frequent floods of seawater for more than 800 years.