Breaking the Mould: glass exploration at the Aram Gallery

Seven Italian designers and a material scientist got together to explore the traditional techniques of glassblowing in Murano, Venice.

It took three steep climbs of stairs, across the beautiful Aram space, to reach the actual Gallery where the exhibition was held: a white, wide space where the shapes and colors of glass play with light and reflections.

Called Breaking the Mould, the project experiments with the traditional techniques of glassblowing and the possibilities of further innovation by combining glass with other materials and intervening at the mold stage.

The exhibition begins with a few pieces by Salviati, a historic Murano-based glass manufacturer that partnered with the designers to develop their prototypes. A video projection follows, to underline that it was essential for the BTM team to learn the basics and understand the process of glassblowing before attempting to innovate.

The prototypes shown exemplify the various experiments the designers undertook and the reasons for the results.  The most interesting part was the material choices they incorporated into the glass making: ceramic, in the form of ribbon, wool or tissue, was used as it’s the only material capable of resisting the incredibly high temperatures glass is blown at, and carbon fiber was used to shape the paste when still malleable. Experiments also took place with the mold; it was contaminated with materials to influence the end texture, and the designers even succeeded in including a secret polymer in the glass.

This selection of 14 pieces, both in colored and neutral glass, has arrived in London having toured Venice and Berlin, and wraps up the first phase of the project. The statement suggests that it is time to return to designing: “each project will begin from the results and the outcomes of the previous one, as a consistent continuation of a process in progress.” Gemma Riberti

All images courtesy of Aram Gallery

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