Carlo Moretti


The New Lighting Collection from Carlo Moretti

Carlo Moretti Ovale clear Murano glass table light

This beautiful table light, called Ovale, is from the collection of lighting launched in Milan last month by the great Murano glass firm of Carlo Moretti. There is also a thrilling black glass version:

Carlo Moretti OVALE black Murano glass table light

The shade of Ovale is also made of glass. There are other designs in the collection that have fabric shades, such as Bricola:

Carlo Moretti BRICOLA table light

And Faro:

Carlo Moretti Faro Murano glass table light

Another strand of the collection is more radical in shape, more sculptural. The glass is clear and/or frosted, and the structures (which are more important to the overall design than is typical) are in muted metal tones of, for example, aged brass and crackle-finished graphite, as here in Efra:

Carlo Moretti Efra Murano glass table light

The effect is almost steam engine-like – and very untypical of the brightly coloured glass lights we expect from Murano!

The shapes are unusual; here is Scudo:

Carlo Moretti Scudo Murano glass table light

And the fascinating floor-standing Drima (H155cm):

Carlo Moretti Drima Murano glass floor light
Carlo Moretti Drima Murano glass floor light set

All of these designs were created by Carlo Moretti himself. However, a key member of the team now running the company is Antonio Ceschel. He has previously been with Osram and Venini and is exactly the person you’d want to be working with on a custom installation. He has designed Boblu, a system that allows great freedom for where glass balls can be hung, such as here, down a double height stairwell:

Carlo Moretti Boblu Murano glass light installation down a stairwell

Or more closely spaced:

Carlo Moretti boblu Murano glass light installation

The standard balls are clear, but with a white section at the top that conceals the lamp:

Carlo Mretti Boblu_Murano glass sphere

There are other patterns, and also the ability to have one or two balls in patterns derived from Carlo Moretti tumbler designs:

Carlo Moretti Boblu Murano glass pendant options

During the Milan fair, the Carlo Moretti lighting collection was displayed in the amazing showrooms that Tadao Ando designed for the cool fashion brand Duvetica. Here is Boblu by the famous two-storey curved wall:

Carlo Moretti Boblu Murano glass lighting

And the rest of the collection next door:

Carlo Moretti lighting as shown during Milan 2015

This is an outstanding, important – but also very useful – collection. You can download the lighting catalogue here.

Carlo Moretti Murano glasswoks
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Carlo Moretti during the Milan fair

Carlo Moretti lighting teaser

Carlo Moretti is best known for the finest Murano artglass objects – glasses, vases, sculptures &c.

Carlo Moretti Bora tumblers

But he also designed lights. The Carlo Moretti lighting collection will be relaunched during the Milan fair, at the Duvetica showrooms in the Montenapoleone fashion district, the building with the amazing Tadao Ando-designed two-storey curved wall

Duvetica showroom in Milan Tadeo Ando curved wall

The address is via Senato 41/a.

Your first reaction will be that the lighting collection seems very different to the artglass. There is very little colour, for example. Instead, the lights grow out of the interplay between form and function, glass and metal.

There are two elements to the collection. The first is of table and floor lights, which were partly developed by Carlo Moretti in collaboration with artist Paolo Martinuzzi. It includes about twenty lights, ranging from classic-inspired pieces like Bricola, through the surprising and original designs of Efra, Igra and Quati, to the imposing, sculptural Drima.

The other element comprises the Boblu project, a system of individual glass balls intended to be hung in site-specific arrangements in large spaces. An example has therefore been set up in the double height entrance of the Duvetica space. It has been developed by the Carlo Moretti design team together with Diego Chilò – one of the leading figures in contemporary glass and light design. As Cameron Peters, we have total confidence in Carlo Moretti’s ability to design and deliver trouble-free, and beautiful, custom arrangements, because the work will be overseen by Antonio Ceschel.  

The Duvetica showrooms are part of the same building that houses Carlo Moretti’s own Milan showrooms, at Via della Spiga, 48. It is here that they will be showing the artglass collections:

But all the production and offices are on the Venetian island of Murano:

You can read my post profiling the Carlo Moretti company here.

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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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Light Installations Down Stairwells


The stairwell can provide an excellent location for a major feature piece, even in a building that has low ceilings. Similar long arrangements can also work well in high atria, particularly when a glazed wall allows them also to be seen from outside. They can be one continuous piece or made up of multiples. The former are always lit from within. The latter can be made up of pendant lights, or (if not too long) lit from downlighters above. 1. Should a feature light piece running through a stairwell be a single piece, or made up of multiple pendants?

A single long piece can create the most stunning, opulent effect. It is usually the most expensive option -- and looks it!

Windfall stairwell WF1590-902

Credit: Windfall

Multiple pendants allow you to adapt the piece to the budget. The more pendants, the more it will cost.

Carlo Moretti Boblu Murano glass lighting installation in stairwell

Credit: Carlo Moretti

Lit from above there is less glare and thinner cables. But there will be less useable light cast onto the stairs and the longer the piece, the less light will hit those at the bottom.

Windfall staircase Balance chandelier

Credit: Windfall

2. Should it be lit from within, or from above?

If you just want the luminaire to be a beautiful illuminated sculpture, it can be lit by spotlights from above. This can be the most beautiful effect because there are no lamps in the luminaire itself, and so there are no sources of glare.

If, on the other hand, it is there also to provide essential ambient light, so that people can see their way up and down the stairs, lighting from within may be necessary, particularly if the there are several flights of stairs, making the feature light longer.

A large single piece is normally lit from within. Multiple pendants can either be lit from within or from above.

3. If I go for multiple pendants, how should they be arranged?

Though some makers have standard arrangements, others will expect you to decide the quantity, lengths of drop, and combinations of luminaire (colours, sizes, etc.) yourself, so that you can create something site-specific. The most expensive option is usually to have the pendants arranged equally all the way down but you often don't need to do this. Instead, work out where the pendants will be seen from on each floor, and create coherent designs along each of these site-lines. You can then have between the floors just a few pendants connecting each of these groups, or none at all.

The cable has to be rated to carry the weight of the pendant. If the pendant does not contain a lamp, and the luminaire is light, the finest, almost-invisible wire can sometimes be used. A thicker cable is required for a pendant with a light in it, because it needs to be able to carry the electric current.

4. How tall should it be?

The arrangement of pendants, or the single piece, does not need to start right up against the top plate; instead, they can often begin quite a lot lower (which is cheaper, because you will need fewer pendants). Only you can decide where it should start, by taking into account the various sight-lines.

5. How near the floor should it go?

If people are going to be walking underneath it, normally allow 230cm from the floor. Note, however, that these tend to be major feature pieces, designed to add a wow factor. You may want to create the wow when visitors enter the hall through the front door, so check what it looks like from there. If the bottom of the piece is too high up, it may lack impact - or be completely invisible.

If people are not going to be walking under it, again, think of the sight-lines and create a good composition, bearing in mind what else is in the space. You can bring it all the way down to the ground, of course, but do check first for the presence of cats, dogs and children that may want to pull on the piece if they can reach it.

6. How near the bannisters can it go?

Children and drunks may want to reach over and pull at the piece. If they are determined enough, design alone can't prevent this, but if the presence of either is likely on a frequent basis, keep the luminaire more towards the centre and so further out of reach.

Note that in older houses, the space between the bannisters is not always the same on each floor. You have to be guided by the smallest of the measurements in each direction (which may not be on the same floor).

7. Is there anything else that I should be aware of?

Yes! - anything hanging down through a stairwell will be seen from all angles, as people walk up and down

- pendants may move a little in draughts. If this is likely, ensure that they will not bang into the stairs or each other

- please also see Practical Considerations when Hanging Chandeliers.

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