Waves of Innovation: supporting the next chapter of this Ancient Craft

For centuries, Murano glass has captured the world’s imagination with its beauty, elegance and versatility. Rooted in tradition, this ancient craft has stood the test of time, preserving its artistry and heritage. At Wave Murano Glass, we honour this rich tradition while also pushing the boundaries of innovation. In this blog post, we will explore how Wave Murano Glass is supporting the next chapter of the ancient craft, infusing it with contemporary techniques, modern design, and a commitment to sustainability.

What is Murano Glass?

In the 13th century, the island of Murano emerged as a haven for glassblowing innovation.

Fearing the risk of fires caused by glass furnaces, Venetian authorities relocated the glassmakers to Murano, paving the way for the island to become the epicenter of glass artistry. This marked the beginning of a rich and enduring tradition of Murano glass.

Prior to the 1600’s, Murano glass techniques were quite secretive while handed down through generations. It is even claimed in some literature that glass artists were not allowed to leave Murano so as to retain the knowledge of the craft within Venice. In a paper by Filippaz, A (2021), the concepts of co-location of similar industries are explored through the lense of Murano explaining that “skills and knowledge “become no mystery; but are as if it were in the air” (Marshall, 1890), they are transmitted from one generation to the next, and children learn them unconsciously and with ease.” Co-location made it possible for glassmakers to benefit from all the advantages of clusters, namely knowledge-sharing, capabilities complementation (enhancing efficiency) and protection of trade secrets.

In recent decades, mass production has led to a flood of imitations in the market. To ensure buyer confidence, Regione del Veneto has entrusted the Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark, the sole legally recognised assurance of an authentic Murano Glass art piece. You can read about our certification here: https://wavemuranoglass.com/chi-siamo/

Preserving Artistry, Embracing Innovation

At Wave Murano Glass, we deeply respect the centuries-old techniques that have been passed down through generations of Murano glass artisans. The hands of our team, many of whom have long family histories with the islands of Murano, form the foundation of our craftsmanship. It is from being rooted in and respectful of tradition that we push to move our Murano factory into the modern world. 

With the shift to many mass-produced glass items in other parts of the world, the thriving glass world of Murano began to decline. Through our business principles, we hope to maintain the quality and craftsmanship of handmade pieces while increasing production capabilities to meet the needs of our clients and the wider market. 

Technological Advancements

At the forefront of our efforts to innovate our factory is our focus to harness technological advancements to enhance our glassmaking process. 

We leverage cutting-edge tools and equipment to refine our techniques, improve efficiency, and ensure the highest level of precision. By integrating technology into our craft, we elevate the quality and consistency of our pieces while honouring the essence of Murano glass.

Most recently we have worked with engineering students to analyse and in turn improve the efficiency of our furnace. In addition to reviewing our current furnaces, we have invested in updating to new furnaces which utilise a fraction of the gas compared to the traditional, multiple crucible furnaces we had been using. We will be publishing work on this in the coming weeks which will dive more deeply into these projects. Be sure to subscribe!

Modern Design

We understand that design trends and preferences evolve over time. That’s why we continually explore new artistic expressions and collaborate with talented designers. We work with individuals and brands to create bespoke products as well as releasing our own catalogues. Through embracing modern design sensibilities, we bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary, creating pieces that resonate with today’s discerning collectors and design enthusiasts. A key example of this is through our traditional and modern chandeliers which you can explore in our recent blog post here: https://wavemuranoglass.com/can-we-still-embrace-traditional-lighting-in-2023/

Sustainability at the Core

Wave Murano Glass is committed to sustainable practices, recognising the importance of preserving our environment for future generations. We actively seek eco-friendly alternatives, such as utilising recycled glass and implementing energy-efficient processes. Our dedication to sustainability not only minimises our ecological footprint but also contributes to the long-term viability of the Murano glass industry.

Collaboration and Education

Innovation thrives in a collaborative environment. At Wave Murano Glass, we foster partnerships with artists, designers, and institutions to exchange ideas and explore new possibilities. Most importantly, we approach collaboration with true transparency in mind. Leaning into a rich history of knowledge-sharing within Murano, we hope to reinvigorate collaboration with our peers. It is this commitment that also sees us engaging with interns and students locally and internationally.

We actively participate in educational initiatives to share our knowledge and expertise with the next generation of glass artists. We so so through hosting interns from around the world, presenting at national and international events and much more. By nurturing collaboration and education, we contribute to both the future of  the Murano glass tradition and an ongoing evolution.

Finally we also educate the public through our glass experiences and ‘open door’ to our studio, where they can witness glassblowing up-close 6 out of 7 days per week. 

We are focused on securing the future of Murano glass through honouring its roots while embracing innovation. Fusing traditional techniques, modern design, technological advancements, and sustainable practices, we breathe new life into Murano glass. Our commitment to pushing boundaries, fostering collaboration, and sharing knowledge ensures that this extraordinary craft continues to inspire and captivate for generations to come. Join us on this journey of revolutionising tradition, where the ancient art of Murano glass evolves and thrives in the contemporary world.