A couple of weeks ago, we were visiting the great glassworks of Gianni Seguso. In the room where we were talking, there was a chandelier like the one above.
Andrea was explaining why glass pieces created on Murano will always be the finest. What he said is so important that we'll dedicate a separate post to it. But it was entirely believable to me as I looked at -- could not keep my eyes off -- this remarkable piece.
I was acutely aware of two problems that we face daily:
- not everything is of the same quality. Fine things tend to cost more than things that are not so fine
- the power of something, especially if it is made in glass, can never be fully conveyed in a photograph (or a CGI).
So, I can tell you that the impact of this chandelier overwhelming (in a good way!) -- gob-smacking, wow factor, shiver-down-the-spine good -- suitable words do not exist. You have to come and see it.
But it is more expensive than other chandeliers that will look similar in pictures. So, how do you encourage your client to go for the very finest? If you know the answer to that one, do tell us.
These chandeliers are of a type now known as a "Rezzonico", after the Ca'Rezzonico, the palace on the Grand Canal in Venice that is now a museum of the 18th century Venetian interior.
They are ornate, with details, such as flowers, that are beautiful and which show off the glass worker's art. In the past, they have been highly coloured:
while some are still coloured, but with a much more limited palette -- this one is in just gold and blue;
Why are they so fine? It is partly the design and partly the craftsmanship. If you use the finest craftsmen, they can create the finest work.
And Gianni Seguso comes from a long line of the finest gaffers (maestri). By running his own glass works, he has control over the peices that he creates, the conditions under which he works, and the other experts that he has working beside him.
The best news for all of us is that his son, Marco, has joined him (see above -- the son is balder than the father!) and has been taught by his father, just as Gianni himself was taught from a very early age by his father. Therefore, this glassworks can continue for so long as there are people who are able to appreciate their artistry and who will pay for it.
Their workshop is laid out in a traditional way, not often seen nowadays:
There is a single central furnace with the ovens that contain the molten glass arranged around it. With gas bills for an active glassworks being typically €20,000 a month, anything one can do to cut down consumption is welcome.
Everything is made to order, specific to the requirements of the space and to what the client wants, so there can be no catalogue. We will be getting more pictures, and indicative prices of what the chandeliers in the pictures might cost. But even that is misleading: the budget is as important a part of the specification as the dimensions because the piece will be designed to be within budget.
This process takes time, and they are busy, so it is necessary to confirm the order well before the required date of delivery.
So if your client is seriously interested in commissioning a masterpiece, in something that will give the kind of deep pleasure that only the very finest can give, then get do in touch with us. We will go through the main issues in detail, using information, pictures and experience of Murano glass that we have here. If there is still interest, a visit to Venice would be advised. This is no hardship...
...and it is a great privilege to be able to see such craftspeople at work:
Oh, and Gianni Seguso do not only do chandeliers. They'll even make you a pet: