Massimo Vignelli Venini Pendant Lamps
Materials: Hand blown elongated crystal Murano glass. Clear blue, clear green green and off-white on the outside, white on the inside (incamiciato). Some brass parts. Bakelite E27 socket.
Cord Length: 60 cm / 23.62’’
Height: 32 cm / 12.59”
Width: ∅ 17 cm / 6.69”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used. But preferably a white/opaque light bulb. It gives the best result with this type of lamps.
Period: 1950s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Massimo Vignelli (1931-2014).
Manufacturer: Venini, Murano, Italy.
Other versions: These Massimo Vignelli Venini pendant lamps exists in several sizes and colours. An orange/yellow slightly bigger version can be found here on Vintageinfo.
This spectacular hand blown pendant lamps were designed in 1955, early in Massimo Vignelli’s career, when he lived in Venice. Venini is one of the most outstanding art glass companies on the Venetian island of Murano. None of these lamps are identical and are all handmade/blown.
Born in Milan, Italy, Massimo Vignelli was one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century. His most famous and controversial design was his 1972 subway map of New York which replaced geographical accuracy with geometric clarity.
Massimo Vignelli: “If you can design one thing, you can design everything”.
Paolo Venini (1895-1959), a Milanese lawyer, and Giacomo Cappellin (1887-1968), a Venetian antique dealer, founded Cappellin Venini & Co in 1921. Painter Vittorio Zecchin (1887-1948) became the artistic director. After a few years the company was split in two and the company Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Venini & Co was founded. Napoleone Martinuzzi became the new artistic director. Martinuzzi brought innovation with the “pulegoso” glass. It is characterized by thousands of air bubbles. Carlo Scarpa and Paolo Venini presented some other new techniques, such as Battuti (Battuto), Granulari, Murrine and Tessuti.
Designers that worked for Venini are: Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Eugene Barman, Ken Scott, Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressuti and Rogers, Fulvio Bianconi, Tobia Scarpa (son of Carlo. Toni Zuccheri, Tapio Wirkkala, Owe Thorssen, Brigitta Karlsson, Tina Aufiero, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottssass. Mario Bellini, Timo Sarpaneva, Fulvio Bianconi, Elena Cutolo, Giorgio Vigna. Emmanuel Babled, Rodolfo Dordoni, Monica Guggisberg, Alessandro Mendini, Philip Baldwin and many others.
The company still exists and they make the most beautiful glass art. Of course they have a distinguished shop on the San Marco Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice.
Incamiciato: overlay lattimo glass (= milky looking glass) with a layer of transparent coloured glass.
Battuti: a hammered silver effect (honeycomb – battuto finish)
Granulari: ground glass effect.
Murrine: colored patterns or images made in a glass cane that are revealed when the cane is cut into thin cross-sections.
Tessuti: Fabric effect like drapery, often striped.
Links (external links open in a new window)
The Subway and the City: Massimo Vignelli, article on the MoMa website
Massimo Vignelli at the MoMa museum in New York
Glass blowing on Murano – Wikipedia
Glass Museum on the Murano Island
Vittorio Zecchin – Wikipedia (Italian)
Many thanks to Frank from Flowermountain.be for the photos and the enthusiasm.