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Barovier&Toso to present Luca Nichetto's Vallonnè at Durini
Vallonnè by Luca Nichetto and Barovier & Toso
Video: Courtesy of Barovier & Toso

Barovier&Toso to present Luca Nichetto's Vallonnè at Durini

The mouth blown and hand-crafted suspension lamps designed by Luca Nichetto serve as an homage to the long-running legacy of traditional Murano glassmaking.

by Luca Nichetto
Published on : May 24, 2022

In a recent collaboration with Venetian glass company Barovier&TosoLuca Nichetto has designed two unique glass collections that celebrate the art of glassblowing, an ancient Murano tradition. Driven by the motto to highlight the brand’s 700-year commitment to safeguarding this archaic glassmaking technique, Nichetto, after rigorous research and experimentation, produced the Vallonnè and Vallonné Opale suspension lamps that embody the timeless charm associated with works crafted out of Murano glass, while also exhibiting a strong 'Nichetto' character. “This has been a very satisfying collaboration. We were not asked to engage in a stylistic exercise but were encouraged to make innovation the focal point of the project. The company has taken risks, leaving the possibility of wide-ranging experimentation wide open, also by rethinking some of the main tenets of the tradition. The result has been a brilliant synergy,” says designer Luca Nichetto.

Barovier&Toso has efficiently fulfilled its mission of safeguarding the art of glassmaking for the past 700 years, across different eras, historical events and generations. However, traditions and legacies also need to evolve with time and stylistic changes so as not to become reduntant and vanish. This requires the help of creatives who can take on the role of interpreters and combine the essence of archaic traditions with contemporary thought, ideas and styles. It is only through these new ideas and innovations that the art of glass can continue to emit vibrancy and trigger emotional responses.

In an attempt to carry forward this tradition of glassmaking to the next generation, Barovier&Toso invited contemporary designer Luca Nichetto to sculpt luminaires out of glass. For the past year, the glass brand has been working vigorously on rethinking the processes of traditional glass production that are usually considered 'untouchable' in Murano. This intense research has led to the creation of two ground-breaking suspension lamp collections, Vallonné and Vallonné Opale. While they are avant-garde in character, they also fit perfectly into the company’s catalogue. Crafted out of Venetian Crystal, which was mouth-blown and handcrafted, they bear the characteristic appearance associated with Nichetto's creations and are the result of a versatile, combinatorial approach.

Derived from French, Vallonné means 'hill', an accreditation that perfectly suits these lamps that are characterised by a variety of soft curves and crevices that bend and turn at different angles in each lamp, and is thus evocative of the non-uniform organic forms found in nature. Capturing these forms in glass eternalises them. Crafted by expert glassmakers, they are unique creations that contain and freeze difficult geometries, thus giving form to sculptural pieces.

Action/reaction, expansion/retraction: Nichetto's idea of the glass luminaire design stems from this system of forces and tensions. Breath is a form of energy, and thus, a powerful tool that can be used to capture the hot vitreous mass form and structure. The glass, by nature, expands to form a shape and fit into a volume. It absorbs the air around it and traps it inside. The two collections emphasise this characteristic of the material and bring out its sculptural character.

The surfaces of the lamps reveal a precise pattern of lines and incisions, thus informing the viewer about a sequence of expansions and contractions through its various geometric shapes. In the collective imagination, these forms suggest the presence of a metal cage utilised to make the piece and then retained within it.

Barovier&Toso have, however, been able to move beyond this concept of a cage containing the creation. In this process, they have developed these two models with a lively, evocative but forcefully contemporary design. These models are shared by the two collections, marked by a symmetrical overlay of swelling, vaporous volumes, and harmonious, elegant proportions. Individually, each of these suspension lamps has a uniquely expressive and luminous force, which ensures an exceptional theatrical impact whenever these lamps are assembled in rows or clusters.

The Vallonné lamps are shielded within a transparent crystal, which contains a tapered core of glass meant to conceal the light source. The Vallonné Opale lamps, on the other hand, are made with the jacketing technique, with an opaline, milky external surface that spreads light around it gently.

The metallic appendages of these luminaires are available in two colours: black chrome and honey bronze and the glass surfaces of Vallonné come in four colours: Indigo, Crystal, Periwinkle and Sand, with an additional side, jacketed white available for Vallonné Opale. These hued palettes were developed by Nichetto to give the collections multiple personalities: classic, discreet, eccentric, or pop. Another characteristic shared by the two collections is a shaded effect, which is a result of the production process common across the two lamps.

The contrast between the embosses and imprints that dot the lamps adds a decorative feature to the design and accentuates their three-dimensional nature. This also happens because the colouring of the glass is less intense in the zones of stronger blowing, and more saturated where the thickness is greater.

Flair and innovation remain the strong points of Barovier&Toso, always striving to catch the interest and curiosity of a demanding international audience for its creations – an audience that knows how to recognize the value of truly precious things.

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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