The Venice Glass Week 2022: Creativity, collaboration, resilience

This year’s festival revealed the innovative ways in which Venice is adapting as a glassmaking centre

2022 has been an important year for glass.
The world has been opening up after the pandemic; and it is the UN International Year of Glass. The Venice Glass Week (17-25 September), part of The Italian Glass Weeks, set out to be the leading event in Europe’s glass art calendar.

One of the festival’s highlights was the exhibition at the Stanze del Vetro, Venini: Luce 1921-1985, curated by Marino Barovier. With the Stanze’s usual meticulous detail, this charted the evolution of the firm’s lighting in a flourishing period for Italian design. The outstanding exhibit was a 4.24m-high chandelier of over 3,000 pink, taupe and crystal polyhedra resembling a gigantic stalactite. Designed by Carlo Scarpa for the Italia 61 exhibition in Turin, it was reconstructed at full scale from original drawings and photographs.

Venini Light: 1921 - 1985 Ph. Enrico Fiorese

The two Venice Glass Hubs, one for the over-35s and the other for ages 18-35, offered an insight into the work now being produced in this captivating material by artists from Finland to Brazil. Particularly poignant was Twilight by the French designer Lætitia Jacquetton, in which amber and milky-white vessels seemed to collapse over bricks salvaged from Murano furnaces that were switched off in the gas crisis.

The under-35 Hub featured a holographic panel on the Creation, made with the help of artificial intelligence, by Marieta Tedenacová, a Czech conceptual designer.

Lætitia Jacquetton, ‘Twilight’, Ph. Massimo Pistore

This year’s Venice Glass Week revealed the innovative ways in which Venice is adapting as a glassmaking centre.
The focus is no longer on secretive factories producing work behind closed doors, but on international collaboration.
The sisters Tara and Tessa Sakhi, Lebanese-Polish designers, worked with maestro Fabiano Amadi and Laguna~B to create a collection of glass urns with metallic veneers, ‘I Hear You Tremble’, installed in the San Gallo Church.
The Sweden-based designer Ambra Trotto collaborated with Vetraie Ribelli, a women glassblowers’ collective founded by Chiara Taiarol, to make the blueprint for ‘Grembo Latteo’ (milky womb), a multimedia installation which they began to fabricate during the Venice Glass Week.

Tara and Tessa Sakhi, ‘I Hear You Tremble’, Ph. Massimo Pistore

The Festival Coordinator, Camilla Purdon, organised a series of ‘Conversations’ between artists, curators and critics to foster the exchange of ideas. Topics ranged from ‘American Artists and the Magic of Murano’ to ‘New Technologies and Techniques’.

The glass industry in Venice has been shaken by recent world crises. But the culture of glass is still thriving here – as the Venice Glass Week shows.

Emma Park
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