Here at Kinetrika we take a lot of pride in the time and effort we put into crafting works of art for you to enjoy and cherish. On the other hand, there are so many makers and journeymen here in Italy who are experts in their craft. We want to begin a tradition of occasionally discussing the stories and inspiring origins of these artisans in our blog. This week we have a profoundly interesting topic which brings us to the small, fog-brushed town of Murano on the outskirts of ancient Venice. Nestled in a corner of this mercantile town famous for its glassworks is the workshop of Barovier & Toso, one of the oldest glass and chandelier makers in the world; we will delve into their masterful history as well as their mysterious and well-regarded hometown.
Barovier & Toso is one of the oldest family businesses in the world and that is not the result of luck; they are still considered to be some of the world’s foremost experts in glassmaking and chandelier craftsmanship. Each of B & T’s designs is unique and carefully put together with an obsessive degree of attention to detail, making each chandelier a translucent masterpiece. Despite their centuries of experience, the firm is known for its ability to innovate, having won a series of groundbreaking prizes in the ’40s and ’50s for improvements they made in the millennia-old “murine” technique of glass blowing.
“The Murine technique begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, heated to 1500-1700F or above, which is then stretched into long rods called canes”, this layering leads to rich, vibrant colors that filter light creating rich and beautiful hues. The color of the glass used and the method of layering changes the mood and atmosphere of a room into pure magic. In a way, each B & T craftsman is an illusionist and sorcerer of light.
Murano: A Land of Glass and Dreams
There is something alluring about Murano that simply beckons you to discover its ancient canals and pastel colored palazzi. Maybe its the fact that every brick was built and kept by some of the greatest merchants in history, or even the food which is renowned for being more than excellent but above all it really comes down to the resident artisans. Murano is a land dotted with dreams of an ancient past where craftsmen’s hammers clanged in the street and the smell of smelted iron and glass wafted in the salty Venetian breeze. A place where ship crews and emperors alike sourced everything from tableware to the finest chandeliers in Europe. This is anything but a dream though, Murano is still very much a hub of production and it’s expert citizens work tirelessly to produce invaluable works of art… to them there is simply no other way of life besides pure passion, they live and breath the stuff of dreams.
As you fan through pages and pages of the world’s history books, Barovier & Toso (in one form or another) has had a chance to touch each and every single fold. B & T’s masterworks of glass and light have adorned some of the greatest castles, palaces, and villas in Europe and you can find their secret footprint across the ages. Since they were founded in 1295 they have been purveyors of glassware to the finest families and houses in the world, in that time they have collected a bouquet of experience that truly makes them the very best at what they do. A Barovier masterpiece is unmistakable, everything including its refined detailing that ranges from butterflies to intricate floral patterns indicates its place of origin. They have managed to turn something as humble as sand into pure magic for 726 years without fail.
Fibonacci in a Chandelier
Barovier & Toso know the value of proportionality and mathematical perfection. Their chandeliers are often recognizable for their beautiful curvature, these swirls and curls follow the golden ratio – the mathematical formula that can be found in the very fabric of the natural world. Everything from the symmetry of our faces to the spirals in our galaxies is dictated by this golden sequence, the same is true for certain B & T masterpieces. Mathematicians experimented with these ratios and numbers only to discover these patterns were interlinked with everything around us. Sacred Geometry is a hidden structure placed inside our world, a code written into the universe. The same is true for Square Wave, every sculpture is designed based on this ratio adding a touch of magic to each Square Wave… or chandelier!