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Many thanks to Frank from Flowermountain.be for the photos and the enthusiasm.
Toni Zuccheri Membrane Wall Lamps
Materials: Clear and opaque/white hand-blown crystal Murano glass. Made in the form of a globe with a white “membrane” inside. Chromed metal. Bakelite sockets.
Height: 38 cm / 14.96”
Width: 30 cm / 11.81”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulbs can be used. Not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1960s, 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Toni Zuccheri (1937-2008).
Manufacturer: Venini, 50, Fondamenta dei Vetrai, Murano, Italy.
Other versions: The glass globes were used for all types of lamps; chandeliers, a pendant lamp, table lamp, floor lamps and so on.
Toni Zuccheri was an architect, painter and designer. He was born in San Vito al Tagliamento, in the north of Italy in 1936. His father was the painter Luigi Zuccheri, a painter of animals. His mother Jolanda was the sister of the poet and philosopher Giacomo Noventa (1898-1960).
After World War II in 1945, the family moved to Venice, some 80 km/ 50 mi away from San Vito al Tagliamento. In Venice he studied at the Università Iuav di Venezia, the Faculty of Architecture in Venice and got to know important artists there such as Ignazio Gardella, Giorgio De Chirico, Carlo Scarpa, Ludovico Belgioioso, Vanni Scheiwiller, Giorgio Bassani, Bruno Zevi, Elio Zorzi, Mario Soldati, Franco Albini, Giuseppe Samonà, Carlo Della Corte and others.
He took an interest in glass, and since his early twenties in the 60’s he worked at Venini were he invented and reinvented working techniques, shapes and colours. His first glass works for the company are, due to the family tradition, animals made of polychrome glass. He personally produced prototypes, following the artisans in carrying out the work. The result was complex works, unique pieces characterized by a direct and evoked naturalness.
In 1965 he began to collaborate with Gio Ponti (1891-1979), and together they designed a new glass system, the Vetrate Grosse; thick windows. At the time created for the Church of San Carlo in Milan.
Toni Zuccheri also worked with Lucio Fontana and Gaetano Pesce among others. He participated in numerous exhibitions around the world and his creations are exhibited in museums such as MoMA, New York and the Guggenheim.
Toni Zuccheri designed several lamps where organic lines and the beauty of glass play an essential role. He designed lamps and items for Venini, VeArt, Barovier & Toso and Vetreria De Majo, among others.
He died in 2008 at the age of 71, leaving his wife and three children.
Today several birds designed by Toni Zuccheri in the 1970s are still in production by Venini.
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. Off course they have a distinguished shop on the San Marco Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice. A must see when you visit the town.