THE WOODEN POSTS SYMBOL OF VENICE
Briccole or ‘piles’ are large wooden posts made of European oak driven into the muddy bed of the Venetian lagoon with the top sticking out of the water, generally arranged in groups of three. They are one of the symbols of the city of Venice and mark the navigable waterways.
Together with numerous individual posts placed almost at random (known as dame, ‘ladies’ in Italian), they make up an actual road system that map out the Lagoons waterways. There are thousands of them – an underwater forest of ancient oaks that must be replaced every seven years. The wood is worn away yet rendered beautiful by the labyrinths, irregular grooves and unique tunnels dug by shipworm (Teredo Navalis), a wood-boring saltwater mollusc.
Rather than being thrown away, thereby ending their life cycle, the old posts are removed and restored using a meticulous manufacturing process.
The transformation of this scrap material into a useful object is only possible thanks to a happy historical coincidence. However, the availability of this wood is to be called into question in the not too distant future as the high cost of renewing the briccole has prompted the Lagoon municipality and Venice’s Water Magistrate (Magistrato delle Acque) to replace them with polyethylene posts.
OM officinae certifies the exclusive origin of the wooden posts from the Venetian Lagoon and marks each piece of the Teredo collection with a serial number, identifying it as an enforced limited edition given the limited availability of the raw material.