For the last 700 years, glassmakers on the island of Murano, near Venice, have had to adapt to changing technologies and consumer tastes. Yet, a private visit to the closed- door atelier of Barovier&toso, the oldest glassmaking firm on the island, reveals that many of the methods used to create its famous chandeliers remain very traditional.
Creating such beauty is a long process that starts in the furnaces from which the master craftsman will coax a glob of molten glass and work it into the desired shape using a blowpipe, either free- blowing it or inflating it in a wooden or metal mould, and then letting the piece rest on a slow- moving conveyor belt in a cooling tunnel.
The series of finishing touches can only be done by hand, so using a mixture of sand and water on a turning table, a craftsman will first sand away any imperfections on the glass, then use a rubber wheel and later a fabric wheel on each piece for successively finer finishes.
“Our goal is to project emotion as well as light,” enthuses Luigi Lucchetta, director general of the company.
Such emotion is appreciated around the world with Barovier&toso chandeliers adorning some of the grandest hotels and private residences.
“One of the reasons we’re still here after 700 years is because we’re always looking forward, which means stylistic innovation as well,” says Lucchetta. www. barovier.com
“One of the reasons we’re still here after 700 years is because we’re always looking forward.”