“This air-purifying candle holder was one of my first projects, dedicated to my beloved nanny Clemi. It’s a large Murano glass cylinder, deliberately oversized so that there was room to engrave my family’s coat-of-arms.”
The candle holder starts life as a clean-lined object in crystal glass, on which you can have engraved whatever is closest to your heart: an emblem, a monogram. a logo, a landscape, a poem – or a symbolic scene like the magnificent Saint George Slaying the Dragon created for the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice. Just about the most ambitious and recherché piece Giberto has made was for a present on the occasion of the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix: a line of racing cars speeding past buildings and palm-trees and waving banners engraved on the glass.
The life of Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga is viscerally linked to Venice. His childhood memories, the most beautiful, are those that have taken place in the rooms of Palazzo Papadopoli, between frescoes of Tiepolo and family affection. “In my earliest memories Venice had other colours. It was more obscure, dramatic, decayed and deeply romantic – simply beautiful. There wasn’t the same light like there is today – more dazzling perhaps, but less poetic.”
Each piece derives from a watercolour sketch made by Giberto on tracing paper: “When I see something that inspires me, or an object that I like, I sketch and rework it – then move on to the realization of it.”
The glass, the main material in the collections, is worked exclusively in Murano. Each glass, each specific object, is blown by master glassmakers in the Venetian furnaces.
Giberto takes his watercolours to discuss with them and refine the project, check its feasibility, and to make eventual changes.