The inspiration for the limited edition collection ‘Vetri a forma di vasi’ (Glass in the shape of vases), comes from decades of research on transparency and shape. Michele De Lucchi designed simple but rich objects, choosing the artisanal production and the use transparent green blown glass due to its rarity and colour.
De Lucchi and Produzione Privata decided to resurrect a particular type of transparent green, common during the medieval ages, which fell out of fashion with time and the advent of better colours. The act of tranforming ancient materials & techniques into the culprit his products has always been a theme with De Lucchi's choices. Now, among the few artisanal producers left, this transparent green is almost always associated with Produzione Privata.
«I designed them with a very thin nib, retrieved from old pens dating back to my architecture student days in Florence. Building up the drawing with innumerable strokes, I achieved the effects of opacity and reflection with the utmost, persevering and enjoyable patience. This satisfaction can probably be seen from the persistent repetition of motifs each generated by the other, making the effect steadily more complete.» Michele De Lucchi
«It is not at all obvious that in these glass vases it is the cavity that creates the form and the colour that creates the transparency» Michele De Lucchi, January 2006
«Their richness is due solely to their form and to a rare colour which only a few craftsmen in Murano still know how to produce» Michele De Lucchi, January 20th, 2006
REDISCOVERY OF ANCIENT TRADITIONS
The history of Venetian glassmaking is a particularly rich one. Tecnical knowledge and skills were built up over many generations of glassblowers and improved upon through the constant process of experimentation. In this section we are embarking on a journey of discovery of the glass craftmanship which is nowadays a dying art in Italy.
Now, let us dwell into the artisanal production process of the 'Vetri a forma di Vasi' collection. This is how the process begins:
1. A wood mold is essential in shaping the glass into Michele De Lucchi's edgy designs. It would be hard, if not impossible, throught the conventional mouth blowing techniques
Three wooden molds made of pear wood
The molds designed to give the desired shape to the glass are made entirely out of pear wood. Pear wood is chosen because it has no knots and is very resistant to heat, this is why it is the go to wood for glassblowing.
2. The attention to details and craftmanship in the wood carving alone is impressive, and still only half of the work!
Detail of wooden mold shape
This particular mold was used to realize the Vasotre. If you wondered what the holes are made for they help the hot air escape so that the vase can cool and freeze into shape. After being blown the molten glass blows up into a kind of balloon that adheres perfectly to the walls of the mold.
3. Once the desired shape is achieved through the mold the transparent green blown glass is left to cool and is then cut once cold
The obtained shape after ‘molding mouth’ (mold)
The warm glass, removed from the mold wood is left to cool. Then, will be 'cold' cut and later assembled. This picture is a perfect example to illustrate the effect the cast has on a blown glass. The top side shows what an object would look if only mouth blown (a big round balloon). It is then easy to spot where the mold began which is where the Vase's design takes shape after the walls of the mold.
THE FINAL COLLECTION AND THE ‘VETRI A FORMA DI VASI’ EXHIBITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Michele De Lucchi has commissioned twelve wooden molds to experiment with different designs. In the end, in the tradition of glass blowing, only ten glass masterpieces were produced.
'Vetri a forma di vasi', tecnical drawing 2006
The result of this fascinating journey into the world of glass resulted in these ten 'glass shaped vessels' in delicate shades of green.
'Vetri a forma di vasi’, transparent green blown glass, Produzione Privata 2006. Ph. LucaTamburini
These ten glasses in form of vases have then started travelling around the world, exhibition after exhibition. Most notably they were displayed in New York for "The new order exhibition" and in Belgium for "Vetri a forma di vasi".
"The new order exhibition" at Moss Gallery, New York
'Vetri a forma di vasi' (Glass in the form of vases) at "The New Order" exhibition, Moss Gallery, New York (USA), july-september 2006. Ph. Davide Angeli
'Vetri a forma di vasi' at "The New Order" exhibition, Moss Gallery, New York (USA), july-september 2006. Ph. Davide Angeli
"Vetri a forma di vasi" exhibition at showroom Quattro Benelux, Belgium
'Vasootto'; 'Vetri a forma di vasi' exhibition at showroom Quattro Benelux, Hoegaarden, Bruxelles (Belgium), march 2006. Ph. Andre Vossen
TWO YEARS LATER ENTER THE MEDITERREAN WINDS:
THE 'WIND VASES'
The Produzione Privata Product Line
'Maestrale Libeccio and Scirocco’ first sketches. Michele De Lucchi, pencil on paper, 2008
Maestrale, Libeccio and Scirocco are the 'Wind Vases' designed by Michele De Lucchi in 2008. They were born of the desire to resurrect fading ancient traditions and craftsmanship techniques, in particular the technique of 'optic glass' achieved through mouth blowing into a wooden cast to shape the intended glass waves. The rediscovery of the optic glass through the artistic interpretation of the personality of the 3 major italian winds is part of the creative imagination of Michele De Lucchi.
Maestrale, or Mistral, is a very powerful and cold Mediterranean wind that blows from north-west and is represented by the vase with the largest, most impending waves that similarly to Vivaldi's 'Storm' in the four seasons gives a striking introduction to what will be your contents of the vase.
Maestrale vase. Transparent green blown glass still life on white background. Ph. Luca Tamburini & Michele De Lucchi
The Libeccio is a moody south-west wind named after the land where it is belived to come from, Libya, it frequently raises high seas and gives violent westerly squalls, it is represented by a peaceful rising tide interupted by a break of three escalating waves that end merely suggest the potential of the substance of your vase.
Libeccio vase.Transparent green blown glass still life on white background. Ph. Luca Tamburini & Michele De Lucchi
Finally the Scirocco is the friendly wind from the south-east, it comes from the sahara and brings warmth and sometimes sand to our lands, it is represented by the continuation of peaceful waves in a slight and pleasant decrescendo that embraces and supports your vase's content.
Scirocco vase. Transparent green blown glass still life on white background. Ph. Luca Tamburini & Michele De Lucchi
All our stories end the same way. By the official baptising of our products through a photograph by Michele De Lucchi's own hand. This is how he decided to immortalise his creations. On top of the ancient books that contained the medieval glass blowing techniques from which the vases were inspired from.
'Maestrale, Libeccio and Scirocco’ vases. Transparent green blown on books. Ph. Michele De Lucchi
Now your time has come to say goodbye. If Michele De Lucchi's winds have already visited you in your homes please send us your pictures and stories on our Produzione Privata Facebook Page. We will be happy to share them on our online community and most importantly show them to Michele! Otherwise join us on future journeys!
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Credits: Front cover ‘Vetri a forma di vasi’ made of transparent green blown glass. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia