Heritage and future of Venini, a company which, through the plurality of voices of artists and designers, has been able to give shape to beauty and experimentation in blown glass

The famous architect Alessandro Mendini loved to talk about his collaboration with the historic company founded in Murano with a beautiful phrase: "In my memory, I have the ghosts of the unmistakable identity of the Venini.

When I work for this noble company I always try to connect to the mystery of the archetypes that have led to such a precise style, along such a long history, and I try to try out an interpretation.

It seems to me that the Venini taste is the result of a magical dosage created over time between some exclusive techniques, some exceptional artists who invented shapes and the choice of certain colours. Calm and wisdom of clear craftsmanship, pure and intact over time, an example and testimony of perfection".

Founded in 1921 by the Venetian antique dealer Giacomo Cappellin and by Paolo Venini, a Milanese lawyer with a family tradition in glass processing, the brand has since the beginning collaborated with important artists and designers such as Vittorio Zecchin, Gio Ponti, Fulvio Bianconi, Carlo Scarpa, Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini himself, to name just a few: visionary creators who laid the foundations of an identity which, rather than a single voice, stands out for escape from traditional schemes, the openness towards art and the mastery of manufacturing techniques.

In 2020, the Damiani family, already at the head of the homonymous international fine jewelery brand, acquired the entirety of Venini. Partnership that relaunches the company from an entrepreneurial and managerial point of view with important structural investments.

We talked about it with Silvia Grassi Damiani, president of Venini and vice-president of the Damiani Group.

How would you define the cultural and knowledge exchange between the world of Damiani and that of Venini?

Silvia Grassi Damiani: "The two brands have many similarities. Not only the birth – Venini in 1921; Damiani in 1924 – and the excellence of the artisan work of highly qualified workers, but also the development of the territory to which they belong – Murano, the homeland of blown glass; Valenza of fine jewellery.

Both companies stand out for the importance of attention to detail, design and elegance. They share the pursuit of quality, the value of tradition and the will to innovate by highlighting their Italian spirit.

The recent contract creations show Venini's ability to create important custom-made lighting projects".

Silvia Grassi Damiani: "Since its inception, Venini has always created ad hoc creations, such as the marvelous Polyhedrons at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Palazzo della Farnesina and the crystal flower cane chandelier inside the Moulin Rouge in Paris, just to name two examples.

If in recent decades the company has concentrated on the production of vases and works, in recent years we have also implemented our internal technical office for the engineering and architectural part, in order to solve more effectively and quickly the specific problems related to the contract world, thus managing to be more competitive on the market.

We have a continuous contract and positioning which is based on repeatable formats, as in the case of stores for the luxury sector, or on one-off collaborations > such as the two sculptural installations La Danza del Mare, created by Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin for the MSC Seashore (12 x 3 meters high, 80 in diameter) and Incanto del Mare, created by Guggisberg and Maldwing themselves for the MSC Seascape".

Venini has collaborated with the brightest names in design. What is the added value that these designers have brought to the brand's innovation path? And what will be the role of the new artistic director Marco Piva?

Silvia Grassi Damiani: "In the plurality of glass works by these interpreters there is the centrality of Venini's DNA: a constant need to challenge the search for beauty.

It is a path traced by the founder Paolo Venini that still distinguishes the brand today. Venini has always had one peculiarity of its own: the figure of a creative director within it, who for us is the one capable of orchestrating the multiplicity of voices and the hands of our highly skilled Masters.

In this regard, since January 2023 we have been using the very high professionalism of the architect Marco Piva, whose unique design solutions we love, characterized by stylistic freedom, functionality and emotion ; his extraordinary ability to place and design light in space; his inclination to dialogue with other cultures to create integrated works, where their international character is combined with his strongly Italian roots.

Tell us about the company's future and how the new products represent it.

Silvia Grassi Damiani: "In the short term we certainly want to implement the world of lighting, creating products that can dialogue with each other and with the surrounding space.

At the recent Salone del Mobile we presented interesting novelties such as Alieno, Ballerina and the Fazzoletto steering wheel.

We will continue to pay close attention to sustainability. Venini has always been attentive to recycling: even if we use first fusion glass, for a matter of quality, we have developed a local supply chain that uses waste, remelting it, to reduce waste to a minimum.

Silvia Grassi Damiani: "In this regard, we are studying products that emphasize the beauty of recycled elements, such as the Bloom vases and centerpieces that arise from the fusion of glass from previous processes .

Similarly, we are re-proposing historical colors in an 'ethical' version, such as magenta, which we eliminated because it contains arsenic and is now re-proposed with a new sustainable chemistry thanks to the use of 'gold.

In magenta we have declined a collection of icons, enhanced by the color that makes us understand the inexhaustible value of the form.

Furthermore, we will always continue to design and create one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces, collectors' items that have always been part of the brand's history and heritage.