VENINI: a story, an artistic excellence, a typically Italian passion

Founded in Murano in 1921 by Paolo Venini, a Milanese lawyer, and Giacomo Cappellin, a Venetian antiques dealer, VENINI is known the world over for the artistic and cultural excellence of its creations. Since the company’s foundation, the master glassmakers have always been the heart and soul of the glassworks, the guardians of its memory, its core strength: there are no schools in the world of glassmaking, only knowledge handed down by word of mouth, gestures, and movements. These noble craftsmen dedicate much of their lives to the glass art, perfecting their skills and know-how: the techniques they use express the rational backbone of their work, the set of rules that make it possible to transform an idea or a drawing into reality. One of VENINI’s distinctive features is its prestigious colour palette composed of 125 fascinating and elegant shades that are the fruit of studies and thought, experiments and research aimed at bringing new formulae to light.

In the course of these hundred years of history, VENINI has been able to set this millenary heritage in dialogue with the creative genius of artists and designers such as Vittorio Zecchin, Napoleone Martinuzzi, Tomaso Buzzi, Tyra Lundgreen, Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Paolo Venini, Fulvio Bianconi, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Thomas Stearns, Ludovico and Alessandro Diaz De Santillana, Laura de Santillana, Tobia Scarpa, Benjamin Moore, Dan Dailey, Toots Zinsky, Toni Zuccheri, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass, Mimmo Rotella, Alessandro Mendini, Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin, Emmanuel Babled, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Cini Boeri, Rodolfo Dordoni, Giorgio Vigna, Tadao Ando, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Flo Perkins, Fabio Novembre, Michela Cattai, Mario Bellini, Studio Job, Barber & Osgerby, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, Ron Arad and Peter Marino to name just a few. It is easy to see how the allure of the glassworks has always attracted creative and talented artists from the world over, infusing them with the desire and freedom to express themselves: this meeting of excellences has yielded an artistic production particularly rich in style, forms, and expressive languages.

The need to pay tribute to the skill and the artistic evolution of the company, as well as to the remarkable historical archive, gave rise in 2008 to the idea of the VENINI museum Located in Murano, in the company’s historic home, the space goes beyond a simple chronological display, and accompanies the visitor along a path free of a temporal and spatial framework, to dive into, reflect upon, and delight in. The historical archive is made up of more than 45,000 original drawings, 10,000 vintage photos featuring architectural installations and past exhibitions, as well as events and personalities who collaborated with the company, and over 5,000 works, including some very rare artists’ proofs, often loaned along with the drawings to major international museums for shows dedicated to the company’s history and Murano glass.

Thanks to this inestimable historical value, the creations bearing the Venini signature have entered the collections of prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan and MOMA in New York, the Fondation Cartier and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the l’Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna, the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montréal, the Eretz Museum in Tel  Aviv, the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Shanghai Museum of Glass, as well as the Milan Triennale and the Murano Glass Museum.

VENINI has always created objects with a timeless design that are destined to appreciate in value. Thanks to the excellence of quality, the high artistic content, and the manufacturing value intrinsic to each piece, the hammer prices of VENINI glassware reach record figures at major auctions; in fact, the highest price ever paid for a Murano art object was for a VENINI piece, “La Sentinella di Venezia” signed by Thomas Stearns in 1962, which fetched 737 thousand dollars.

The historic company was acquired in 2016 by the Gruppo Damiani, a leading international luxury jewellery brand, which has drawn up an international strategy for developing and promoting the excellence of Italian craftsmanship that VENINI represents.