Venice: Venetian glass -- contemporary custom pieces from Glass & Glass

Glass and Glass Murano glass pendant light Sciabole 80 x 80  b It may seem odd to focus on the catalogue of a glassworks, but the catalogue of Glass & Glass is exceptionally useful, and it exemplifies how well this company does everything -- not just how well  it works glass.

First, the catalogue provides information in a form that works for specifiers. Even before Venetian glass workers were exiled to Murano in 1291, they were finding new ways to work with glass -- new shapes, new colours, new decoration. As a result, there is a breathtaking range of things that they can now do, over eight hundred years later, but it is difficult for people around the world wanting custom pieces to know exactly what.

This is because in the past Venetian glass would be sold in a shop, where you basically get what the shop has in stock or, at best, minor variations to order -- different sizes, different colours. Or Venetian art light items have been specified by the client going to the glassworks and discussing the commission with the glass experts, until they agree on what will be made (still the best way).

Glass and Glass Murano glass long pendant light sciabole 85 x 250

Glass & Glass have thought about this and done two things.

They have created shapes which come in standard arrangements, but which have been designed to be customizable in many ways. (This is something one or two other important lighting makers have done -- Windfall being the best example, but also Vetreria Vistosi). Then, they have split their catalogue up into discrete sections, each one focusing on one type of shape. And within each section, there are further subsections.

The pendant light at the head of this post is of the Sciabole (sabres) design, from the Ambient collection. The second image in the post also shows a Sciabiole design: the 2500mm long white pendants.

But compare the two and you can see that the "blades" are not the same shape. Because everything is made by hand in this versatile material, the designers will modify the individual components to suit the overall design. The Ambient collection is in the Creative catalogue, which you can download from here.

The second thing that the catalogue does is to show the sheer variety of applications for which Venetian glass is suited.

So the Ambient collection, which includes standard shapes made from triedri and quadriedri, also shows these -- large chandeliers with just one layer in a colour, made from narrow tubes that can be used like triedri:

Galss and Glass Murano glass pendant light Ambient 79 120

Probably the most frequently used catalogue is Sospensione -- Hanging, also downloadable here. This is where the balls are -- the bolle di vetro:

Glass and Glass Murano glass balls Bolle di Vetro 70 x 100

And, as in many other sections of the catalogues, there is a clear display of the various options (and, this being Venetian glass, that means not just textures, but COLOURS!):

Glass and Glass Murano Bolle di Vetro options

A variation on the balls are the Chicchi Soffiati (blown glass beans):

Glass and Glass Murano Chicchi Sopffiati 75 x 95

Other suspended shapes include Eliche (propeller blades):

Glass and Glass Murano Eliche 50 x 150

and Dischi (discs):

Glass and Glass Murano Dischi 50 110

Since Angelo Mangiarotti came up with his Giogali system for Vetreria Vistosi, some glassworks have merely copied them. But Glass & Glass, like others, have developed new shapes for the hooks (Ganci), which can be used to make a light:

Glass and Glass Murano Ganci pendant light 55 77

or a glass curtain:

Glass and Glass Ganci Murano glass curtain

One of the most useful shapes to suspend is a tube (larger than the onles used in the chandeliers above, and with a textured finish) which, in a cluster, can all be clear (cristallo):

Glass and Glass Murano glass tubes Liquidambar 50 x 125

or some or all can be coloured:

Glass and Glass Murno Liqhidambar pendant 75 x 110 c

Tubes are so versatile that Glass & Glass have several tube options: the one above is called Liquidambar.

But Glass & Glass also do more flamboyant forms intended for more extreme results -- if you really want a wow factor, this is where you come!

Ghirigori are squiggles (download the PDF Ghirigori catalogue here). They can be used to make installations of any size. Here, for example, is a 3000mm long one:

Glass and Glass Murano glass pendant light Ghirigori 60 x 300

and these arrangements of several ghirigori balls...

Glass and Glass Murano pendants Ghirigori 130 x 600

...are, at 6000mm, double the length of the long white one.

But if those are large, look at this!

Glass and Glass Habitat  Murano glass modules 190 x 350

Each panel is 1900mm by 3500mm!They take advantage of Venetian glass components which are designed so that they could go on for ever, in any direction, by repetition. These ones are round glass shapes, in the Habitat Creative range (download the catalogue here) that look like this close up...

Glass and Glass Habitat Murano glass green yellow

...and which come in this range of finishes and colours:

Glass and Glass Murano Habitat options

Besides ceiling installations, they can also be used on walls:

Glass and Glass Murano Habitat applique

Glass & Glass use their skills to make another collection which is more restrained in its colours and shapes, wherein the interest is generated not only by the quality of design details (the dimensions, curves) but also by the decoration in the glass. These are Cerchi (circles) --

Glass and Glass Murano Spicchi di Arte Cerchi 75 90 120 150

this ceiling light comes in four sizes, from Ø750mm to Ø1500mm -- and the ones with the finish below are called Tessuto (fabric, or web):

Glass and Glass Murano Spicchi di Arte tessuto pendant lights

Designs like this, from the Spicchi di Arte Veneziana (little bits of Venetian art) range -- download the catalogue here -- are very difficult to make. The edges of each piece have to match perfectly if there are not to be gaps. Yet they are being made out of glass,  a fluid material that has to be worked at a very high temperature.

There are many other good things to say about Glass & Glass but we'll save them for another post. This one is longer than normal because the quality and range of their production gives me the opportunity to explain not just what they can do, but also the versatility of Murano glass in general when it worked by a top glass works.

Glass and Glass Murano Sciabole 80 x 80

So the work of Glass & Glass demonstrates why Murano glass is still the beating heart of fine decorative lighting. 

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