The story of Venini, which began in 1921, is one of passion and creativity. Starting with that extraordinary character who was Paolo Venini, its founder, a Milanese lawyer with a distant family tradition in glassmaking.
It was his idea to create a company in Murano, together with his antiquarian friend Giacomo Cappellin, with the aim of transforming the classic craft of glassmaking into an innovative art, capable of quickly becoming the protagonist of the Milan Triennials, the Venice Biennials and exhibitions in all the countries of Europe and the United States.
Today, more than a century later, a recently published volume (Venini – The Magic of Glass, Rizzoli, 256 pp., € 90) recounts this fascinating journey through creativity, excellent craftsmanship and artistic vision. Through the many illustrious collaborations, for example: Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Tadao Ando, Ron Arad and Peter Marino, who signs off the book’s foreword.
The volume does not follow a chronological order but is organised by themes and design associations, from “Color” to “Full and Voids” or “Collecting”. Ten glimpses into the Venini universe which span the icons of the great masters, transparencies, hot and cold working, creative themes such as Herbarium and Bestiary, declinations of glass for the table, light and collectors’ pieces.
An itinerary made up of images – over 150, including archive photographs, original drawings and an unpublished photo shoot by Lucrezia Roda, which shows the Venini pieces in the glass furnaces – and texts that Federica Sala, curator of the work, commissioned from personalities such as James Bradburne (director of the Brera Art Gallery and the Braidense National Library), Anna Carnick and Wava Carpenter (editorial directors of Design Miami/); as well as design historians Domitilla Dardi, Ivan Mietton and Rainald Franz, artist Michela Cattai, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte general director Alberto Cavalli and contemporary art history lecturer Elisabetta Longari.