Love letter from Luca Nichetto to Murano glass – SURFACE

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DESIGN

The prolific designer returns to his Venetian roots with a group exhibition that showcases the material’s ability to evoke memories and emotions.

BY RYAN WADDOUPS

September 16, 2021

“Empathic: Discovering a Glass Legacy” at the InGalleria / Punta Conterie art gallery in Venice, Italy. Photograph by Roberta Orio

“It’s part of my DNA” Luca Nichetto said about Murano glass. He literally means: born in Venice to a family employed by the world famous Murano glass industry, Nichetto began selling his childhood creations to local factories before honing his knowledge of industrial design at the Università Iuav. di Venezia, joining local glassmaker Salviati as an early career concert and consultant for heritage lighting company Foscarini. The launch of his own design practice soon followed, and now he creates furniture, lighting and accessories that are inflected with his Italian panache and the clean sensibilities of Stockholm, where he is currently based.

He has not lost sight of his roots, which shine through a collective exhibition he organized for the Ingalleria / Punta Conterie art gallery in Venice and which highlights his glass sensibility. “Empathetic. Discovering a Glass Legacy ”invited eight world-renowned designers, including Ini Archibong, Elena Salmistraro and GamFratesi, to create artistic pieces under the close supervision of Murano glass masters. The brief? Carte blanche, and the more experimental the better. “I wanted to see what would happen if we all got involved in experimenting,” says Alessandro Vecchiato, who produced the show alongside Nichetto and aimed to “disrupt the grammar of each other’s forms, techniques and ingenuity. to achieve unprecedented results “.

Granule by Benjamin Hubert

Laminated by Richard Hutten

Unsurprisingly, the results are stunning. Each piece pays a subtle homage to the illustrious history of Murano glassmaking while incorporating design flourishes that speak to each manufacturer’s distinct sensibilities. GamFratesi, for example, turned to the Venetian Lagoon for a small landscape made up of different shapes in large blown glass resting on sections of wood obtained from odds and ends, the traditional posts that mark the waterways. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance also focused her gaze on the seaside, infusing a side table with dusty tones reminiscent of Lucie Jean’s photographic series “Down by the Water”, which she created on a small neighboring island called Madonna del Monte. Its rounded glass surface gently ripples like waves, a delicate technique to achieve, but carried out with extreme precision.

Other biased designs featured, speaking of the material’s unparalleled ability to evoke emotions and recall memories. Elena Salmistraro designed a monumental mirror inspired and named after Medusa and her Gorgon snakes. A centerpiece with sinuous glass edges and coils that seem to slide, she presents herself as an emblem of femininity that both enhances the beauty she reflects and petrifies those who gaze within. Ini Archibong, meanwhile, returned to his Nigerian roots with a highly detailed sculptural piece that seamlessly conveys the expressive nature of African wooden masks in chromatic glass.

Mecha by Luca Nichetto

“Empathic” took a deeply personal note for Nichetto. Although he was the curator of the show, he presents three unpublished pieces that poignantly recall childhood memories. It pays homage to the animated series of the 70s Grendizer Robot UFO-known as Goldrake in Italy, through three colorful glass robot-like creatures, sheathed in glittering, rustproof armor. “They perfectly represent the union of two elements of my childhood on the island: glass and Japanese cartoons”, Nichetto wrote on Instagram. “I couldn’t be happier to combine these two great memories.”

For Nichetto, no piece sums up the beauty of “Empathic” and its memories with Murano glass. Rather, he emphasizes how “the creation process was intended only to support Murano glass. I like to think that we too are part of the rich tradition of designers who have worked with Murano glass over the years – names like Carlo Scarpa, Ettore Sottsass, not to mention more contemporary artists like Jeff Koons. He also wants the exhibition to encourage young designers to discover the joy of Murano while, of course, spreading a certain positivity. “I hope that all the energy put into the exhibition will bring a positive message of growth and broadening of horizons for the island.

“Palafit” by GamFratesi

Jellyfish by Elena Salmistraro

Madonna del Monte by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

Marc Thorpe’s family

Africa by Ini Archibong

“Empathic: Discovering a Glass Legacy” will be on display at the InGalleria / Punta Conterie art gallery in Venice, Italy until April 10.

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