The Fragility and Resilience of Murano Glass

A Commentary on the 2018 Venice Glass Week

We have been busy. Very busy actually. If you did not know, Venice Glass WeekFestival Internazionale del Vetro was held a couple of weeks ago.

Perhaps the most important event in the world of Murano glass. Venice Glass Week brings together glass artists, glass houses, buyers, resellers, media and official entities and various commercial and cultural representations. All of them united by the love of the art of blown Murano glass.

Murano glass workshop

The event ran from 9 to 16 September and its activities included exhibitions, guided tours, workshops & demonstrations, lectures and award ceremony, as well as performances, special openings, and of course, many openings, parties and leisure or sports activities.

The event is perhaps the second best pretext to enter this world of fragile and transparent beauty. Thus we could not find a better excuse than to comment again on our partnership with the house Ongaro e Fuga.

In case you could not read it before, or if you want to read it now, here is the link, although you may have to have a subscription to the Financial Times to read it. In any case, here’s our summary of said article.

The Venice Glass Week 2018 - FT Weekend special newspaper cut
The Venice Glass Week 2018 – FT Weekend

Traditional Mirror Market Current Situation

Despite being a millenarian and exclusive technique of incomparable beauty, the Murano world is currently facing a crisis.

It is a crisis caused by the modern world in fact. Given the globalization and other commercial impacts of the present times.

There is greater access to suppliers, vendors and markets, as well as greater competition. In addition to this, there is a lack of appreciation for the Murano technique compared to that which existed a few years ago.

However, all is not lost. There are new houses, new ideas, and new talents that are attracted to the Murano world and the charm of Venice.

Such is the case of the artists, architects or designers Elena Mazzi, Mario Bellini, Carlo Scarpa and Maria Grazia Rosin, which will be discussed today.

All of them, past and contemporaries, in one way or another have brought a vitality to the Murano world, not seen very often, but extremely necessary to revitalize the art.

Since we have previously covered several profiles of creators related to the Murano glass. We will use this chance to showcase the work of these creators.

1. Elena Mazzi

Venetian based visual artist whose Murano inspiration is evident from her short film “Reflecting Venice“, a project that investigates the possibility of responding to recent year’s increase in environmental issues affecting Venice and the world alike.

Perhaps she was one of the first to document this decline in the Murano world in an artistic way.

She has also collaborated with the house Ongaro e Fuga dating from 2014, with the creation of Murano’s artistic glass.

Elena Mazzi Murano glass mirror

Elena Mazzi-Ongaro-Fuga-Mirror-2
Elena Mazzi Murano glass mirror

Elena Mazzi “Reflecting Venice”

Elena Mazzi "Reflecting Venice" detail
Elena Mazzi “Reflecting Venice”

Elena Mazzi "Reflecting Venice" detail 2 Elena Mazzi "Reflecting Venice" detail 3 Elena Mazzi "Reflecting Venice" detail 4

2. Mario Bellini

Milan-born architect and designer, best known for his collaboration with Rudy Ricciotti, building the Islamic arts department of the Louvre, as well as his Milano Convention Center.

Islamic arts department of the Louvre
Mario Bellini architecture
Mario Bellini Milano Convention Center Sideview
Milano Convention Center

The work of the renowned architect has not only remained in the design of buildings, his career also includes development of products for the automotive industry, electronics and communications.

The exhibition of Mario Bellini in Murano – “The architecture of glass, the glass of architecture“, gives us a 360 degree view of the work of the master in this field.

Mario Bellini Murano glass vases

Mario Bellini vase
Mario Bellini Murano glass blue vase

Mario Bellini vase 2

Mario Bellini murano glass vase grey

Murano glass blended yellow cups by Mario Bellini

3. Carlo Scarpa

Another retrospective that took place during Venice glass week, and that deserves its own space, is what was done with the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.

Born in Venice in 1906, the career of the architect was influenced by both Venetian and Japanese culture.

Carlo Scarpa architecture

Brion Cemetery by Carlo Scarpa
Brion Cemetery
Brion Cemetery staircase
Brion Cemetery staircase

Carlo Scarpa architecture detail Carlo Scarpa cemetery staircase

His most recognized work is in the art of glass and furniture, where the artist demonstrates his interest in history, regionalism, and inventiveness in traditional techniques.

Even before Scarpa began his career as an architect, he preferred to study with the master glass workers of Murano (one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon) rather than follow the traditional path of academia.

Carlo Scarpa Murano glass vases

Carlo Scarpa Murano glass vases
Carlo Scarpa Murano glass vases
Carlo Scarpa Murano glass red vase
Vase in coral red pasta vitrea with amethyst decoro fenicio and finishings in coral-red pasta vitrea. Photography: Enrico Fiorese
Carlo Scarpa green Murano glass vase
Corroso a bugne

Carlo Scarpa Murano glass chandelier

Carlo Scarpa murano glass chandelier
Carlo Scarpa Murano glass chandelier

Carlo Scarpa Murao glass chandelier detail

4. Maria Grazia Rosin

Finally, we will return to the present with a contemporary exhibition by the hand of Maria Grazia Rosin, resident artist in Venice whose work mixes pop and fantastic influences, elaborated with the traditional technique of blown Murano glass.

Among her most relevant Murano glass modern chandeliers we can mention its Octopus candelabra, Loredan chandelier, and Cosmospora.

Octopus chandelier by Maria Grazia
Octopus chandelier
Cosmospora chandelier by Maria Grazia
Cosmospora chandelier
De Majo chandelier by Maria Grazia
De Majo chandelier
Loredan chandelier by Maria Grazia
Loredan chandelier

In addition to her chandeliers, Maria Grazia has developed a series of works in jewelry, object art and decoration inspired by the Murano technique.

I leave some pictures of your work.

Maria Grazia Murano glass art objects

Detergens murano glass piece by Maria Grazia
Maria Grazia jewelry
Maria Grazia jewelry
'Ossessione tentacolare' murano glass chandeliers and candleholders
Ossessione tentacolare
'Ossessione tentacolare' murano glass chandeliers and candleholders
Ossessione tentacolare candleholders

The Fragility and Resilience of Murano Glass

Resilience (noun)

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. “the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions

  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. “nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience.

We have presented two scenarios to you. While on the one hand the world of Murano seems to be in decline, in the face of new competitors and less harsh and hybrid techniques.

On the other hand, the last decades have seen a kind of renaissance in this millenary art. Artists and creators of all fields are still inspired by the appeal of Murano and its exquisite technique.

It is your decision if you want to continue supporting the resilience of Murano glass.

Do you want to tell the next love story with Murano? Call or email me with that specific Murano glass request and I’d love to give you the best price and service.