Art openings in New York City can be special, but the recent opening party for the VENINI glass exhibit which I attended last week positively twinkled. VENINI , the largest and most well known of the Murano, Italy glass furnaces still in business, is celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of their company with a traveling exhibition around the world.
Presently at DDC/Domus Design Collection, one of my favorite contemporary furniture showrooms in Manhattan, the Venini exhibit is a stunning display of both older and new pieces. Established in 1925 by Paolo Venini, the company embraced Modernism trends in art and architecture with their glass designs in elegant shapes and colors. Venini took the Murano tradition of glass blowing and combined it with the French fashion industry tradition of using outside designers to bring new ideas to Murano. In addition to boasting the talents of Paolo Venini himself, who perfected the sommerso technique in the 1930s and used the traditional technique of inciso to create vases that appeared to glow from within, the company attracted architects and artists such as Carlo Scarpa, Fulvia Bianconi, and Gio Ponti to Murano. glass bottles, for example, were designed by a Finnish designer and created by Venini using Incalmo, a method where the top and bottom are made separately and then fused together. Seemingly and seamlessly amazing.
Venini still produces a beautiful line of art vases- some classic designs, and some new designs introduced every year. Take great care, as occasionally the new “classic” vases are mistaken for the older originals. Venini vases are signed, and the type of signature can give a clue to the age of the piece.
Of course, what would a Venetian glass exhibit be without handblown Venetian glass chandeliers? These dazzling Arnolfini chandeliers lamps lit up the DDC’s Madison Avenue showroom.
This witty piece was designed by Brazilian brothers Fernando and Huberto Campana originally for Moss Gallery in NYC. Venini attached the glass doll figures, modeled after Brazilian cloth dolls, to different pieces, including chandeliers. It is at once conceptually whimsically and technically brilliant.
What do you think of art glass? Whose do you love and/or collect?