new york-based architect and industrial designer marc thorpe has created â€˜unityâ€™, a collection of vessels for renowned murano glass manufacturers venini. the series sees the designer introduce venini to his weaver artisan collaborators in dakar, senegal. the resulting pieces are made from two parts, two materials, and two time-honored techniques that come together in a fluid and continuous way. the unity between the two nesting elements is both allegoric and material as the designer prolongs the woven baseâ€™s texture and color with a faceted glass top using the painstaking battuto cutting technique.
the series of ten unique edition vessels, unveiled at les ateliers courbetâ€™s new york gallery on march 7, 2019, marks veniniâ€™s first collaboration with other artisans from africa. marc thorpe explores the aesthetic relations between the two materials â€” glass and textile â€” as well as the two design legacies of senegal and italy. inspired by the cultural confluence, the vesselsâ€™ silhouettes could equally evoke a traditional african headrest artifact or the playfulness of italyâ€™s memphis movement.
the upper portion is blown by veniniâ€™s master glassmakers and hand-cut using the cold glass cutting technique, battuto; a surface finishing technique that imitates the â€˜distressedâ€™ effect of hammered metal. in glasswork, the process consists of surface facets made by precise movements over a metal wheel. the resulting texture highlights the depth of color in the glass. the word, which comes from the italian verb â€˜battereâ€™, may refer to surface decoration, a technique for working metal, as well as a marker of rhythm, an indicator of life through the pulse and heartbeatâ€™s rate, or a gauge of approval in applause.
senegal possesses a rich weaving tradition that goes back centuries, producing textiles known for their colorful, graphic quality. the base of the vessel is crafted using a metal frame to provide a supporting structure for the threads to be woven across. this frame is wrapped with colored nylon threads, traditionally used for fishing nets, then woven across vertically and horizontally to create the textile form. in combining the work of two cultures, thorpe has placed murano glassmaking in direct conversation with senegalâ€™s weaving tradition â€” symbolizing a sense of shared humanity, while paying homage to the two countriesâ€™ impressive craftsmanship.
nina azzarello I designboom
feb 24, 2019