Opening on 10th September, Light Blowing is a group exhibition curated by Ilaria Ruggiero and Samantha Punis that presents the richness and complexity of lighting production in hand blown glass today. The exhibition includes nine of the world’s best glass artisans and takes place on the occasion of the launch of the new and revolutionary space Murano Gallery LUab 4.0 during the inaugural Venice Glass Week; an international festival dedicated to promote the treasured glass art industry in Venice from September 10–17th. Light Blowing will have its official opening on Monday, September 11th at 19.30.
On display will be a selection of important blown glass lighting design products, chosen with the aim of approaching, and telling the story of, some very different productive dimensions. Murano glass and Czech glass, the creations of great glass–masters alongside the visions of famous designers, exclusive and limited editions as well as brands which speak through their own personal creative language. A multi–voiced dialogue to present the complexity and richness of glass production today through the works of Bomma/Simone Crestani/Esther Patterson per Curiousa & Curiousa/Doris Darling/Fabio Fornasier/Jaroslav Bejvl jr. per Preciosa/VI+M Studio and Karim Rashid for Purho/Studio Furthermore/Zaha Hadid, Nendo and Nao Tamura for WonderGlass.
“An impossible gesture, a skill, a puff of magical air, an illumination, in which light and glass take shape together”, comments Ilaria Ruggiero, co–curator of Light Blowning.
The exquisite works of Light Blowning will be presented at Murano Gallery LUab 4.0, a place for research and experimentation where Murano glass will converse with international glass, stimulating cultural and generational exchanges, making comparisons between the most disparate creative languages and investigating new production techniques. The location has recently undergone an extensive and careful renovation, including the exhibition halls, ovens, colour rooms and living areas and has come to life based on research of the needs of the local community. Project partners are the companies Tubes supplying state-of-the-art radiators such as (“Soho” designed by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, “Milano” by Antonia Astori and Nicola De Ponti and “Add-on” by Satyendra Pakhalé awarded with the Red Dot Design Award in 2008) as well as Cantiere Daniele Manin who have laying the wood floor made out of briccola. The interior design includes furnishing by renowned design brands as Gaggenau, Boffi under the coordination of Solgas S.r.l.
Leading the parade Fabio Fornasier, a maestro of great technique and aesthetic refinement, who has given a new identity to the classic Murano chandelier. With “LUgiano”– double–faced chandeliers in which tradition and innovation quite literally meet – Fornasier openly declares the possibility of joining these two seemingly opposing spheres.
Confirming the centrality and importance of strengthening a dialogue on an international scale, on display at Light Blowing is the excellence of Preciosa, a brand that since 1724 has been developing and maintaining a unique know–how in working with crystal according to original Bohemian traditions. With “Muutos”, designed by Jaroslav Bejvl jr. – Preciosa Lighting’s Chief Designer from 1986 to 2016 – the combination of tradition/innovation returns with greater force, joining styles which have over one hundred years of history to current techniques.
Czech tradition and a brave mix of craftsmanship, innovative technology and contemporary design also characterise the output of Bomma, a company born in 2012 thanks to Jiri Trtik, an enlightened entrepreneur who has returned the skills of craftsmen and engineers into a brand both decisive and captivating. Displayed in the exhibition is “Soap”, a suspension inspired by the transparency and mutability of the figures and reflections of a soap–bubble, which conserves its different shapes and colours thanks to the technique of free hand–blowing without the use of moulds.
With WonderGlass, a London–based studio founded by Christian and Maurizio Mussati, the exhibition cements the links between the worlds of architecture, art, style, and the landscape of Venetian art within blown glass. The colours of the Venetian lagoon are masterfully demonstrated in “Flow[T]” of Nao Tamura, the chandelier “Komori” of Nendo, blown by Murano glass artisans and inspired by a colony of bats hanging upside down, and “Luma” of Zaha Hadid, a sculptural composition of tubular segments made individually in Murano from hand blown glass. Together the three lighting designs represent the valuable contribution of WonderGlass to the project.
London also acts as a linking thread to introduce “Triptych Dine” and “Triptych Orb” designs by Esther Patterson, founder and designer of the brand Curiousa & Curiousa. Commissioned by The Hayward Gallery of London for the Light Show exhibition of 2015, the Triptych series of lamps are inspired by the pinnacles and spires of Asian and Moroccan tradition in a crescendo of shapes and colours in vibrant hand-blown glass.
Playing games with colour, shaping with irony, the strength of finishes and the power of communication; these are the lamps of Doris Darling. The “Super Strong Lamp” is a true hymn for modern heroines in the form of a gym bar-bell where the weight is represented by large coloured glass spheres. Light Blowing has three different styles of the “Super Strong Lamp”, in floor and table versions, on display.
Exciting colours, sinuous shapes, and unconventional finishes. Thus we present “Normanna”, the lamp designed by Studio VI+M for Purho, a tribute to Sicily, the designer’s homeland, and the rich- ness and fullness of the colours that characterise its art and architecture. Composed of a delicate sphere that makes a diffuser for light and expresses the high chromatic potential of Murano glass – ruby pink, amethyst pink, amber yellow, apple green, emerald green, Mediterranean blue and London grey – Normanna rests on a brushed brass base embellished with triple fringe with a vaguely retro flavour. Also for Purho Karim Rashid has designed “Flik”, a lamp defined by the designer himself as “forged by fire but with the appearance of a drop of water”. A demonstration that the clash between tradition and design has the fundamental value of transforming everyday projects into outstanding sculptural outcomes.
They are designers but they have an artistic approach. Limited series, individual pieces, research and experimentation are everyday elements of their creative language. Design galleries are their world and their products speak a bi–polar language: design and art, art and design. Studio Furthermore and Simone Crestani close this journey in the world of blown glass lighting design by completing a deliberately non–linear path, strongly interconnected by the common thread, which is the very essence of Light Blowing. With “Lacuna Lamp” by Studio Furthermore for Nilufar, the creative duo Marina Dragomirova & Iain Howlett bring to Murano Gallery LUab 4.0 a lamp that lives up to its name, “Lacuna”, meaning empty space. And it is precisely in the form of voluminous cavity of mouth blown glass that this lamp, shown in suspended and table variants, declares its presence in the space. And it does it with vibrant, rotund, theatrical colours.
At Light Blowing, Studio Furthermore are also featuring a selection of their “Stellar” collection – some of these conceived for Apalazzo Gallery – of unique pieces created by assembling glass objects found in antique shops and markets throughout Europe and chosen for their character and charm. Art Deco pieces are matched with Soviet–era lights, Murano glass is matched with the crystal craft of Bohemia. Even an IKEA vase has found a place in the selection. Thus the clash becomes even more decisive and incisive, surprising and sublime.
Closing the show Simone Crestani with a new project, “Bollicine table lamp”. The lamp is part of a new collection of design pieces in which the characteristic glass bubbles of the Venetian designer are combined with polished brass modular structures made entirely by hand by Carlo Rossi, silversmith of Vicenza. The interplay between the structures and the bubble compositions makes each piece unique. From 27 September it will be possible to admire the entire collection at Galleria Maggiore in Bologna, one of the most important Italian gallery in the sector. In addition, important gallery such as the Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto, Alexandre Biaggi of Paris and Bernd Goeckler in New York represent Crestani’s work today.