Murano glass


Murano glass chandeliers: tutorial #1

Seguso murano glass Coloniale 6 light chandelier detail

We casually say that Murano glass chandeliers can come in a variety of sizes and shapes. But we don’t necessarily explain what that means – what is possible and what is not.

So this post illustrates what is possible.

My example is Coloniale from Seguso, partly because Seguso Vetri d’Arte is one of the most illustrious of all Murano brands, and partly because it is a design that particularly suits our market. (In other words, I think that you will like it!)

Here is a round six light chandelier version of Coloniale:

Seguso Coloniale 6 light Murano glass chandelier

A twelve light:

Seguso Coloniale 12 light amber Murano glass chandelier

An eighteen light: (See that as the number of lights increases, they start being arranged in tiers.)

Seguso Vetri d'Arte Coloniale 18 light Murano glass chandelier

And a  twenty-four light:

Seguso Vetri d'Arte Coloniale 24 light Murano glass chandelier

The key point is that they are modular – a kit of standard parts that, like Lego, can be made up into different designs. In this case, there are three lengths of arm, and three units making up the stem. One of these is long and used on its own in the six light chandelier, the next is ball-shaped and added to make a longer stem in the twelve light. The third is concave. It is added above the bowl of the twelve light, partly to add length and partly to finesse the transition between the ball-shaped unit and the bowl. This shape also goes between the additional bowls in the eighteen and twenty four light.

In other words, the components are specific sizes, so you can’t have a chandelier that is the same shape but – say – 10% bigger. (In fact, you can – Murano chandeliers are made to order by the most highly skilled craftsmen, but non-standard components will cost a lot more.)

On the other hand, the modules can be made up into other things. There are always matching wall lights! This is a Coloniale two light applique:

Seguso Verti d'Arte Coloniale Murano glass applique 2 light plus blue shades

And sometimes there is also a five light wall light (in two tiers – two above, three below).

Seguso also offer table lights in this family. Here is one…

Seguso Coloniale Murano glass table light tall

…plus a floor light…

Seguso Vetri d'Arte Coloniale Murano glass floor light

…and even an elegant side table!

Seguso Coloniale Murano glass side table

You can see that the last three are constructed from the components that make up the stem of the chandelier.

Do get in touch with me if you’d like more info about Coloniale or Murano chandeliers in general.

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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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GLASS FROM Venice: Mazzega 1946

AVMazzega Murano glass pendant Bios SO 3102

Two characteristics distinguish the Murano glass company AVMazzega, now called Mazzega 1946.

The first is that their catalogue contains examples of every significant style of Venetian light.  They do contemporary glass, such as the cleanly detailed Mirror pendant, with its mirrored, semi-translucent finish, that comes in three sizes (Ø14cm, Ø25cm, and Ø40cm).

AVMazzega Murano glass pendant light SO3150

The small one looks great in rows over a bar:

AVMazzega glass pendant light SO3150_1_big

The simple, elegant Forme pendant (and table light, and ceiling light) comes in two (larger) sizes, Ø33cm and Ø49cm:

AVMazzega Murano glass pendant light forme-sospensione-so3131-cristalllo-h

Stand Up (H178cm)  is one of several tall, slim floor lights than can be clustered to brighten a dark corner, as here:

AVMazzgea Stand Up Murano glass floor light TE5041

or they can animate a corridor:

AVMazzega Murano glass floor light stan-up-te-504

Air can is a neat design, in two sizes (H33cm or H47cm)…

AVMazzega Murano glass portable light aircan

…that you can treat like a bucket of light, carrying it to wherever you need it:

AVMazzega aircan Murano glass portable light

But you are also going to be particularly thrilled by their vintage designs, some the real thing, others designed more recently.

This is Bios (which is also at the top of this post):

AVMazzega Bios Murano glass pendant light

But AVMazzega are from Murano, so of course they do multi-arm chandeliers! A spectacular rezzonico, for example:

AVMazzega Murano glass rezzonico chandelier 800118

Or something smaller – Ca' Pesaro:

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier 800206

Or more contemporary Melissa

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier melissa-9003-12-ametista

…with shades if you prefer. This is Atlanta...

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier Atlanta 1000408

...and this is Richmond:

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier richmond-10006-12-rosso

From a practical point of view, there are designs with different overall shapes, to suit various spaces. For example, Octopus is very shallow and therefore suited to our lower, English ceilings:

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier octopus-9017-12-alessandrite

We particularly like Jackline – plain, but not too plain, thanks to those coloured spirals:

AVMazzega Murano glass chandelier Jackline 01908

There are plenty of table lights, floor lights and wall lights in AVMazzega's catalogue (so not just chandeliers, then!), including the elegant, sophisticated Ca’Donà:

AVMazzega Murano glass floor light 8007TE

AVMazzega also have an impressive record when comes to custom feature pieces – here at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris:

AVMazzega custom Murano glass installation at lancel-paris-louvre
AVMazzega custom Murano glass installation at lancel-carrousel-du-louvre

Or this, in Wexford:

AVMazzega Murano glass custom chandelier at amber_springs_hotel_wexford

Or this, for Boutiques Catherine Malandrino:

AVMazzega custom Murano glass installation for boutique_malandrino

The second reason to work with AVMazzega is because of the seminal rôle that the company played in the development of the lighting of today. About fifty years ago, a young Carlo Nason joined them and suggested that new kinds of glass light would be possible. The result was an amazing period of fertility that changed the design of lights for ever. One example of his work will have to suffice: Sixty, dating from 1971. A collection of glass C-shaped hooks that are knobbly (to pick up the light)…

AVMazzega Sixty Murano glass light detail

…that can be hung on a metal structure to create light fittings of many kinds…

AVMazzego Murano glass pendant light so3126-cristallo
AVMazzega Murano glass wall light sixty-ap1083-cristallo

…and sizes:

AVMazzega large Murano glass composition Sixty arredaesse
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