Murano Illumina il Mondo

Promoted by The Venice Glass Week and Comune di VeneziaMurano Illumina il Mondo (Murano Lights Up The World) is a project which – for the very first time – brings an exhibition project to St Mark’s Square, shining a spotlight on the significance and future of Murano glass.

Every evening from 24th November 2023 to 29th February 2024, Venice’s residents and visitors alike can admire the illumination of twelve chandeliers which are the result of the collaboration between twelve internationally celebrated artists and nine of Murano’s most prestigious glass furnaces. These original masterpieces, specifically created for the exhibition project, transform St Mark’s Square – one of the most beautiful and famous locations in the world – into the setting for a truly unique public art intervention.

Murano illumina il Mondo was made possible thanks to the generosity of the participating artists and furnaces and the collaboration and contribution of numerous sponsors, including: Pentagram Stiftung, Chahan Interior Design, Generali – The Human Safety Net, Bassetto Impianti and Select Aperitivo. Special thanks are also given to Servizio Produzioni Culturali del Comune di Venezia and Vela.

(Update 26/02/2024) The dismantling of the chandeliers began today.

Works, Artists, Masters and Furnaces

The chandelier by Ritsue Mishima and Andrea Zilio features a metal supporting structure that divides into two concentric circles, with elements in blown and mirrored transparent glass made by the Anfora furnace. Their jagged forms refract the light and resemble spires, with silhouettes that have a vaguely spiritual appearance. The lighting section is composed of blown and sandblasted elements which act as light bulbs.

The chandelier designed by Lino Tagliapietra is inspired by the concepts of sustainability and recycling, from both a material and an intellectual point of view. Without resorting to blowing new glass, he uses sections of some of his previous vases and cuts them into circular modules which display different glass working techniques. The design reproduces the composition of “rullo” glass windows (featuring small circular panes of glass) which are often found in Venetian palaces, while the form recalls a kind of spaceship, created with the support of Alessandro Vecchiato.

Michael Craig-Martin – who worked with Simone Cenedese – has exposed the chandelier’s metal structure, which is usually hidden, and covered it with hundreds of pieces of transparent and coloured blown glass to enhance a structure which is linear and free from decoration. The work has the form of a classic Rezzonico chandelier, with long arms and a large empty centre: hanging from a single chain, it branches out in four directions and creates a sense of weightlessness.

Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg wanted to recall the colours and shapes of the fireworks that feature in Venice’s annual Redentore festival. Working with the masters of Barovier&Toso, they experimented with the use of new production techniques to create a chandelier that is both classic and contemporary. Simple lines, combined with the shimmering effect of silver leaf, give the chandelier a distinctly modern feel, whilst also recalling the traditions of the 19th and 21st centuries.

The students of class 5A of Scuola Abate Zanetti, together with maestro Eros Raffael, designed and created a work that represents a minimalist and contemporary reinterpretation of the classic Rezzonico chandelier. Based on their studies in the field of graphics, design and glass working, it features blown glass elements inspired by the Venetian Lagoon, with three arms mounted on a metal structure.

Maria Grazia Rosin addresses the theme of sustainability with a self-sufficient chandelier that features LED spotlights equipped with solar panels. Covering the supporting metal structure are elements of blue blown glass created by Componenti Donà, in various forms and pastel tones found in traditional Venetian stucchi.

The chandelier designed by Silvano Rubino and created by Gianni Seguso in collaboration with Effetre Murano is composed of around 700 elements and made with glass tubes in two tones of aquamarine. The three concentric cylinders recall the compositional motifs of chandeliers from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the tubes, if placed side by side, would form an ideal line of approximately 350 metres in length. The idea of infinity? One can imagine that the series of segments forms part of an infinite line.

Pae White entrusted Simone Cenedese with the creation of her chandelier, in which 72 Murano glass ribbons form a Californian sunset: a fleeting moment made visible at any time in the heart of Venice. The artist explores the luminosity and transience that is transmitted and preserved in the glass.

The chandelier conceived by Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda – thanks to the structure realised by Paolo Rossetto – is able to host a self-sufficient plant ecosystem in which soil and plants live and feed themselves via the Murano glass water containers and the light of the chandelier itself.  It was created in collaboration with designer Giacomo Bernello and technical designer Alberto Furtack, and involved the participation of the University of Padua, Wave Murano Glass and maestro Roberto Beltrami.

Giorgio Vigna‘s work, realised by Barovier&Toso, is inspired by wind and water. Creating a sense of movement and fluidity, the chandelier appears to move or sway with the rhythm of the wind.  The suspended sculpture radiates light from faceted elements of transparent and colourless crystal glass, producing unexpected luminous effects. The structure, like the veins of a leaf, adds movement and creates connections between the natural worlds.

The design of Federica Marangoni’s chandelier, which was realised with Simone Cenedese, was inspired by the seagull – a bird which plays a prominent role in the Lagoon city of Venice. The classic structure, featuring a ceiling cup and a larger diffuser cup below, is ironically decorated with webbed feet and long legs that run down the central tube and almost seem to support the luminous sculpture.  A crown of large crystal feathers recalls a motif often found in chandeliers, and four protruding lamp holders form the heads, with long yellow beaks and eyes made from murrine.

Cornelia Parker was inspired by the six-armed chandelier depicted in Jan van Eyck’s celebrated painting The Arnolfini Portrait (1434), and to represent it in glass she drew on a double collaboration. The central body of the work was created in blown glass by Salviati, while the arms were produced by Nicola Moretti, who used a water laser to cut through glass and render their complex perforated contours in three-dimensional form. 

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Murano Illumina il Mondo

Photo credit: Marco Valmarana