A collaboration with NasonMoretti, glassmakers based in Murano, Venice, for Wallpaper* Magazine's Handmade exhibition Hotel Wallpaper, held during the Salone de Mobile in Milan in April 2016.
These unique Matches Vessels are currently on sale at WallpaperSTORE*
Cylindrical matchboxes served as an inspiration for the forms of these glass vessels. Simple, straight sided glass cylinders of various sizes, surface motifs and colours are used in contrasting combinations to create a new series of forms.
Local manufacturers founded on generations of craft expertise like NasonMoretti have to compete in a consumer landscape of cheap mass and industrially produced goods. Value is created by emphasising handmade, unique or ornate elements over techniques that are perceived to be too plain or industrial looking. I wanted this project to celebrate the precision and simplicity that this emphatically manual process can produce, achieved through a lifetime of mastery of a craft.
A unique bonus of working with a company as old as NasonMoretti is access to their incomparable archive, rich in old moulds, experiments and mothballed ideas. For a fast-paced collaboration like this, it became fundamental to unlock the potential of the archive and use it as a raw material. So I sought new ways of reusing and reconfiguring their existing moulds and techniques, incorporating a dusty set of corrugated moulds from 1968 together with assorted plainer moulds sourced from within the archive.
An extremely skilled decorative process called 'rigadin ritorto' was employed for the plain forms, where molten glass is first blown into a ribbed bronze mould to create fine ridges, then subsequently blown into the final plain mould while the glassblower manually twists the glass in order to create the angled lines. When viewed from the side, these ribs overlap to form an intricate cross-hatch. This time consuming and manual technique is hard to 'read' - it looks both handmade and industrial - and is contrasted with the simpler but no less skilled corrugated forms, which resemble machine made tin cans.
In the workshop I also discovered a glass colour called Aviation Blue, strikingly similar to Wallpaper* Magazine’s custom in-house hue, which is used intermittently in the compositions alongside clear glass to compliment the blue matchboxes.
Mould blown glass by NasonMoretti
Photography by Matteo Piazza (1), WallpaperSTORE* (2-10) and Will Yates-Johnson (11-19)
The Matches Vessels on show at Wallpaper* Handmade during the Salone de Mobile in Milan in April 2016
Making the vessels at NasonMoretti's glass factory in Murano, Venice