Carlo Moretti Murano glass – an introduction

Carlo Moretti 2015 selection Murano glass

The three greatest Murano glass brands are Barovier & Toso, Venini and Carlo Moretti.

Carlo Moretti is the youngest, having been started by Carlo and his brother Giovanni in 1958, when they were both only twenty years old. Throughout their careers, their work was unlike anybody else’s. On this island of colour, for the first twenty years or so, they only worked in clear glass (“cristallo”). There were two consequences. The first was that they developed the clearest possible glass. The second was that they were very imaginative in creating new forms and decorations.

Here is their iconic collection, Il Trittico, comprising the Ovale (1977), Asimmetrico (1985) and Cartoccio (1983):

Carlo Moretti Murano glass l trittico

Ovale really is oval. The significance of this is that the glassblower normally rotates the glass in the mould to ensure that it picks up the shape of the mould fully. This cannot be done if the piece is oval. Also, the glass is the same thickness all round: only a very skilled maestro (gaffer) can achieve this; glass is normally stretched more (and therefore becomes thinner) at the ends of such shapes.

Carlo Moretti added engraved decoration to some of their clear pieces. This is the Ovale Millemolature vase that has lines engraved from top to bottom:

Carlo Moretti Murano glass ovale millemolature_601.37

Once they started working with colour, it was almost always colour added to clear glass, rather than the whole piece being coloured.

Here are the 2012 additions to the range of Bora, for example:

Carlo Moretti bora_2012 Murano glass water glasses tumblers

 The Bora is another iconic Carlo Moretti range. They are tumblers – water glasses – that also are not round. They have a seemingly random shape, that fits satisfyingly into the hand (they don’t just look good, they also feel good!).

And here are three of the 2015 additions to the range of smaller I Diversi glasses (that are slightly oval and less irregular than the Bora), using this year’s beautiful, soft fur grey:

Carlo Moretti Murano glass bora 2015 grey tumblers water glasses

Bora and I Diversi work best when all different designs are used, as here, at the Milan Four Seasons:

Carlo MOretti Murano glass water glasses bora Four Seasons Milan

Or at the Milan fashion world’s favourite Il Salumaio restaurant, off the Via Montenapoleone:

Carlo Moretti bora Murano glass tumblers Salumaio Milan

In a shop, the Bora are laid out so that the customer can select their own personal combination of favourites:

Carlo Moretti Bora Murano glass water glasses

Larger pieces include a group of vases in related shapes that come in limited editions of 111, each in three sizes:

Carlo Moretti Murano glass vases

The Sfera (bottom right) becomes an Eclisse (behind it) when flattened into a more oval shape (an additional step that increases the cost). Similarly, the Ogiva (in the middle) becomes an Elisse (far left) when flattened. The fifth shape (that swells out at the bottom) is the Troncosfera (second from the left). They come in four colourways (except  Troncasfera, of which there are three).

Other vase series are not limited. Troncocono is a best seller – here’s one in Italian colours!

Carlo Moretti Murano glass vase troncocono_1741.IT

Flattened, it becomes an oval Arco:

Carlo Moretti Murano glass vase arco_240.ST

Since Carlo Moretti’s glassblowers are so good, and because it is a shape that is both interesting and useful, there is a wide selection of oval Ovale. Here is a black one with gold leaf squares:

Carlo Moretti ovale mosaico-601.N ORO Murano glass vase

Specialist collectors snap up the Calice – sets of six glasses in annual editions limited to thirty three sets, that are delightfully quirky (and technically demanding, involving several different glass masters in the making of each one).

Carlo Moretti Murano glass calici da collezione

Easier to collect, because they are in bigger editions (of 333), are the small I Piccoli vases. They do not even take up much space, all being around 20cm high or less. The aim is to have fifty designs available at any one time – but when they're gone, they're gone! Here is a cheerful display of some…

Carlo Moretti I Piccoli Murano glass

…and some recent ones:

Carlo Morettii piccoli blue red Murano glass
Carlo Moretti Murano glass i piccoli coloured stripes
Carlo Moretti i piccoli sphere blues Murano glass
Carlo Moretti i piccoli red white Murano glass

One of the most thrilling displays of Carlo Moretti’s Power of Colour is the custom range produced for the Capri Palace hotel…

Carlo Moretti Murano glass for the Capri Palace

…that picks up the tones of the restaurant…

Capri Palace restaurant

…and of the sea beyond:

The Mediterranean Sea off Capri

Carlo and Giovanni both died recently. The business is now run by a team, most of whom previously worked for Venini.  They have made the company as easy as possible to work with, by rationalizing the collections, producing very good catalogues, rethinking limited editions, keeping prices at a sensible level, and by having an efficient administration that responds quickly. From now on, coherent new collections will be added at sensible intervals, including new Calici.

The main showrooms are in Milan, the Via della Spiga:

Carlo Moretti showroom Via della Spiga Milano
Carlo Moretti showroom Via della Spiga  Milan

…but of course the production and offices are on the Venetian island of Murano:

Carlo Moretti vetreria glass works Murano Venice

Click here to to download the catalogues – the “complete catalogue” and the “new 2015 collections”.

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