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Up Next: The Venice Glass Week

The maiden edition of the first international festival dedicated to the art of glass opens this September 10 with a roster of more than 140 events

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Text by Rab Messina

La Serenissima is honouring its millennium-long glass history with a new event: The Venice Glass Week. With a roster of more than 140 events, the first international festival dedicated to the art of glass opens on September 10.

This maiden edition is the result of a joint effort by the city’s major art institutions: the Town Council of Venice, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini/Le Stanze del Vetro, the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arte and the Consortia Promovetro Murano.

The program, which runs until September 17, presents exhibitions, conferences, seminars, screenings, educational activities, themed evenings and open furnaces. The exhibitor list includes foundations, art galleries, museums, universities, glass companies, artists and private collectors from Italy and abroad.

Planning to visit? Here are our top 10 picks.

Tradition meets technology in this exhibition at the newly renovated Murano Gallery LUab. The Muranese glass making companies have been experimenting by combining their inherited processing techniques with new technical discoveries, and the fruits of their work can be seen in the international focus of the lighting glass designs on display.
[In collaboration with Ilaria Ruggiero]

Murano Gallery LUab
Calle Vivarini, 6a – Murano

How fragile can fashion get? Ask Marina and Susanna Sent, who have been experimenting with glass textiles for more than two decades. This exhibition features pieces like the Penelope textile, with a double hole bead; the Bucata bodice with its irregular bead of flat glass and the Soap collar, made of blown borosilicate on display.

Marina e Susanna Sent SRL
Fondamenta Serenella, 20 – Murano

Casa Flora is an Italian-design apartment in San Marco, in the city center. The spot will host professionals from many fields —not just glass production— in a two-day workshop meant to start a debate on the role of innovation in the guild.

Casa Flora
San Marco, 2313 – Venice

This exhibition is already garnering quite the buzz, thanks to the intricate and delicate objects on display: think of that “gift of love” from yesteryear, beaded flowers made with Murano seed beads —what locals call conterie. George Ragnar Levi, author of the book Flower Forever, is presenting a selection from his private collection of a thousand handmade bead flowers, mostly from Italy.

Palazzetto Bru Zane
San Polo, 2368 – Venice

What’s a Venice major art event without some Scarpa thrown in the mix? The Fondazione Querini Stampalia, one of the architect’s major restoration works in the city, is providing a guided tour of a particular interpretation of less known sector within the glass guild: Venetian windows —Scarpa created a glass wall during his intervention of the palazzo. After the tour, the foundation will also be hosting a workshop on the subject.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia
Santa Maria Formosa, Castello 5252 – Venice


Another guided tour, another Scarpa intervention: visit the awe-inducing Aula Baratto, designed by the architect, and the aula magna of the Ca’ Dolfin, decorated with 17th-century frescos. The focus of the tour are the chandeliers made by Murano glassmakers and the wall-lights designed by Scarpa himself.

Università Ca’ Foscari
Dorsoduro, 3246 – Venice

Look around the stalwart of performing arts in the city, the La Fenice theatre, and what do you see? Venice’s favourite shorthand for opulence and prosperity: gold. Fittingly, the theatre’s Apolline Hall will be hosting Gold, a glass-and-24-carat-gold-sheets installation made by companies associated with the Vetro Artistico Murano.

Teatro La Fenice
San Marco, 1965 – Venice

Regardless of the craftsmanship involved in making the pieces that conform this exhibition —the know-how of master craftsmen who bring their instinct to furnace work—, they are wonderful to look at. Designed by Emmanuel Babled for Venini, the handmade glass objects are made by literally throwing colour at them —action-painting style.

San Marco 314 – Venice

Camilla Brunelli and Simone Crestani have produced insect exoskeletons made of glass for Editamateria. These animals, in turn, become part of delicate vases and bottles —which speaks of how nature can transition into design.

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Calle del Fontego – Venezia


Yet more animals on our list. This time, the invertebrate species —the “tentacular” in the exhibition’s title— that have been a part of the Venetian artistic imaginary for centuries now make the appearance both in tableware items and some rather intriguing drinking glasses by Nason&Moretti.

Palazzo Contarini Polignac
Dorsoduro, 874 – Venice

Also interested in visiting Pae White’s Qwalala, Vittorio Zecchin’s Transparent Glass and Gaetano Pesce’s Five Glassmaking Techniques? Stay tuned to read our dedicated coverage of those exhibitions.

A piece from Pyros
A piece from Pyros
The Lacuna lamp from Light Blowing
A piece from Glass Textiles
A piece from Glass Textiles
Pieces from Metamorphosis
From Tentacular Obsession
From Flora in Vitro, a Baroque-inspired composition- artichokes by Natalia Wiedenbeck, Helleborus by Deborah DiJusto and Delphinium by Diane Baron. Photo: Edvard Koinberg

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