This special interview features Marco de Rivera DA Mode. A Haute Couture & art lover and a protean who is a Venetian at heart. His passion shares a long term familiarity with the lagoon, where he often finds himself in his ‘Dorsoduro‘ district of Venice. De Rivera made trips to the city of water to discover artists, the Venice Biennale – ‘Dazzling Venice’ and to lift the veil on the mysteries of the City of Dodge. Here, he sits down with accomplished Murano Glass designer, Silvia Finiels, for an interview that’s transparent, in so many ways.
What are the steps to recognise Murano glass?
There is a texture and transparency which is not uniform and the price can also be revealing! Murano, above all, is a sensory experience which is impossible to explain – you have to live it.
The French are in love with Italy and Venice, in particular. Did the discovery of Murano trigger your choice of territory for your creations?
No, I love beauty and I work it where it is. As soon as I arrived in Venice, I was lucky enough to be able to make necklaces from old Murano beads I sourced. They came in all shapes, colours, eras and genres. This was my first ‘apprenticeship’ in Venetian glass and it is a feeling that has never left me.
Is your workshop in Murano & how essential is this to your creation?
I cannot deal with this material without working in direct contact with the glassmakers and craftsmen of Murano. It is impossible to do this properly from a distance, hence my workshop. This is a real secret garden where my glasses are stored and where I build their parts.
What is the difference between Murano Glass and Crystal?
There is no Crystal in Murano, the glass is based on soda and potash. This is a material which is easier to work with than Boeme Crystal, which is made from lead. During the centuries, glass was sought after for its transparency, which made it a must have luxurious material. Today, because of industrial glass, it’s not like that anymore. In Murano, master glassmakers use the word Crystal to refer to transparent glass. For example they say “Cristal e oro.”
‘Finiels’ sculpture-lamps give life back to glass by great masters that would otherwise be forgotten’ – Jean Blanchaert
Murano is divided today between tourist objects and more creations. How do you resist Chinese commercialism?
I think talking about China in Murano is no longer relevant. There was this drift for about twenty years, unfortunately. But today, and thanks to the rediscovery of creativity – the arrival of great international artists is common. This is also thanks also to the magnificent exhibitions held at “Alle Stanze del Vetro” in San Giorgio – on Venini and glass designers in general. Indeed in Murano, the glassworks have reconnected with their history and are rediscovering the ability to produce beauty.
The 59th Venice Art Biennale chose three themes which are:
The representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, the relationship between individuals and technologies and the link between the body and the earth. Glass is at the crossroads of civilisations: among the Romans, it was the sign of great refinement within a society that was about to collapse. Today, glass has to deal with the use of non-renewable energy such as gas. This is the sign of the end of an era and a change in civilisation.
Do you currently have any new projects?
Yes, I work on the “Transiberienne” collection which is made from a white glass called Lattimo. This is a glass made with arsenic, and employs a technique that no longer exists. This collection will be exhibited at the next Glass Week in Venice, in September.
And finally, Paris – Venice are still your two loves?
My sense of aesthetics has remained French, but it is the Italian spirit that guides me!
For more information on Silvia Finiels and Murano glass, please visit her official Aventurina Design website, here.
Interview: Marco de Rivera / Silvia Finiels
Photography: Marco de Rivera / Silvia Finiels