The Venice Glass Week 2023 – Vasum, Vasi


9-17 september, 10 – 19

Angolo Fiorito, Campo San Vidal, Venezia

For the seventh edition of The Venice Glass Week, designer Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga presents a new project that will showcase and celebrate the essential function of the glass vase: a practical vessel used for the display of cut flowers.

Over the last six editions of the international glass festival, Giberto has presented a series of exhibitions which have been intimately connected with, and directly inspired by, the context and collections of Venice’s museums. The works in these shows resulted from the artist’s ongoing and evolving research into new forms and techniques in glassmaking. This September, however, Giberto will present an entirely new collection which has been designed with the everyday function of the vase in mind.

As such, unlike previous exhibitions, the vases in this collection will not be displayed in a museum context, in dialogue with other artworks on view. They will instead be exhibited at Angolo Fiorito, a picturesque florist’s boutique in the heart of Venice which was once the greenhouse of Palazzo Franchetti, a masterpiece of Venetian neo-Gothic architecture. Situated next to the church of San Vidal at the foot of the Accademia bridge, Angolo Fiorito will use the vases to display their flowers for the duration of the festival, from 9th – 17th September.

The project, which is curated by Cristina Beltrami, is intended as a return to the essence of the vase as a functional object. The relevant entry in the Cambridge Dictionary provides the following description:

vase (noun): 1. a container used for holding cut flowers or for decoration.

In line with this concept of the vase as a practical container, Giberto has reworked some of the most classic drinking glasses in his collection, and realised them in larger dimensions with forms that are

suitable both for displaying large floral compositions as well as practical daily use in the florist’s busy boutique.

Their shapes are extremely canonical, and their colours reflect those of his Murano drinking glasses, known in Venetian dialect as goti. The jewel-like hues of the vases range from the liquid gold of Amber to the brilliant emerald green of Mint, to the iridescence of Alexandrite and the vibrant softness of Rose, which is achieved thanks to the use of ruby powder. The spectrum of colours also includes Amethyst, which is lightened by the use of crystal, and the light green “riga menà”, achieved via a special process that creates subtle striations, as seen in the effervescent Fizzy vases.

As Giberto states: “Sometimes, things which seem apparently simple are in fact the most complex to create. In a constantly evolving world, I was fascinated by the idea of working this time by subtraction, rather than by juxtaposition, to bring an everyday object right back to its roots. Fill a vase with water, open a bouquet, select the flowers, cut the stems, and observe how the object changes entirely, depending on the flowers that are placed inside it: as we do this, a vase becomes a dynamic presence, a living actor, if you will, in our homes.”

There is also a particular poignancy and symbolism to the collaboration between Giberto and Angolo Fiorito. In a city that is facing an ever-decreasing number of residents and a fast-rising number of tourist-oriented outlets, the project represents the resilience and fortitude of Venice’s artisans, artists, shopkeepers and residents who are united in their determination to resist and remain. Situated on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, the exhibition of Giberto’s shimmering glass creations, together with Angolo Fiorito’s elegant floral displays, will also represent a heartfelt tribute to the fragile, timeless beauty of Venice itself.

Cristina Beltrami says: “I particularly love the way that this project – which has been conceived together with Giberto and his fantastic team – touches and enters our daily lives. It reminds us how an everyday object, which has been created thanks to the age-old skills of Murano’s glass masters, can bring a flash of true beauty, of pure pleasure, into our own everyday lives… just as flowers do”.