Glass Design

Advanced Study Programs - Venice

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Glass is a material with great expressive potential and many technical constraints. Its manufacturing and production are connected to an ancient art and to iconic places, as the Murano glass district shows.  

Building a bridge between the new generation of Designers and the traditional glass production is what is new in Glass Design Advanced course promoted by IED Venezia in collaboration with important institutions and companies operating in the sector. Its aim is to train professionals able to supports glass companies in rethinking their images and/or repositioning their brands. 

International lecturers, case studies, direct experience in the glass factories represent the asset of this course which classes are oriented to offer to students a multiple view and awareness of the glass world and its connections with design and craftsmanship. 

Career opportunities - Glass Designer, Creative Director, Glass Artist.

  • Start date
    April 2021
  • Duration
    3 Months
  • Attendance
  • Language

Target - Graduates and Designers in their early career interested in deepening the knowledge of glass material and of its use for designing new objects and product lines.

Methodology and structure - The programme provides a general overview of the multiplicity of techniques used in the creation of objects and glass products.  From the methodological point of view, the course refers to the principle of learning by doing composed by the three phases of observation, understanding and experience.
Divided into 4 modules, the first part of the course schedules visits to museums, furnaces and glass companies, so to introduce students to what is and what means working with glass.  In theoretical lessons in class, they study the history, evolution and production processes related to glass itself. In the last part, however, attention is focused on the practice and each student, helped by a mentor Designer with a longstanding experience in designing for glass production, will develop its personal design projects to realise in prototype in one of the partners’ glass factory.

  • Study Plan

    • Glass Studio and Museums Visits

      The first stage of the course is largely dedicated to visits at glass factories. The goal is to put the students in direct contact with techniques, people and production facilities. Entering the world of glass making from its most characteristic spaces, the furnaces, is essential to understand the spirit of this antique tradition. The visits at the museums is complement the factory visits, showing the best outcomes of the production processes through the history, and the way glass is perceived in the cultural system. 

    • History of Glass

      The course proposes a quick summary of the glass making from its ancient origins to our times. Special attention is given to the origin of Murano as the first industrial district in Europe, the technology and design innovations from the Renaissance to the 18th century, the golden age of design in the mid-20th century, the recent crisis of the industry in Murano and the latest trends. 

    • Science and Technology of Glass

      The course focuses on the technical aspects of glass as a material, starting from the different types of glass and their uses; raw materials; various methods to mix them, the molecular structure of glass, the additives (oxides etc). Particular attention is given to the behaviour of the different types of glass in the glassmaking processes, such as the coefficient of expansion, which also determines the compatibility among the different types, the temperature interval for the shaping and the cooling curve to prevent thermal stresses and breaking.

    • Design Applied to Glass

      Learning the potentiality and the constraints of the material is essential to shape the initial idea towards a feasible project, which can be innovative in terms of function, aesthetics and market. Students learn how to choose the production technique that best suits the project and how to properly take into consideration scale, structure, assembling of different elements, available colours and textures, finishing, mounting, handling and shipping of the glass product. 

    • Museography of Glass

      Glass is a very peculiar material that deserves attention not only in making, but also in displaying. Curators with international experience in exhibiting glass collections in museums will teach students how to display correctly a glass object, how to deal with the delicate issues of proper lighting, safe display modalities that take into account the fragility, conservation needs, handling, shooting of photographs for exhibition catalogues. 

    • Collecting and Market

      Glass artworks and design pieces share the wider market of art and design, but also have a niche market of glass lovers. Gallerists and Collectors will explain to the students the distinctive features of this market, its history, its current state. They will give advices about how to start a collaboration with a gallery that deals with glass and how to build the relationship with public and private collections. 

    • Art and Glass

      A short survey of glass seen as a means of expression for the artists, rather than a material with specific functional qualities. The focus is on how contemporary artists have used glass in their projects, building on its symbolic, metaphorical and material nature. The unconventional point of view adopted by the artists has disclosed new potentialities in the use of glass, especially through the deconstruction of the stereotype of glass as a decorative element. 

    • Case Studies

      Some eminent Designers and Artists, who have an extensive knowledge of glass for having used it in many of their creations, will talk to the students about their experiences. They will present specific successfully cases of projects and, on the contrary, projects that had to be adjusted in the making due to technical or commercial reasons. They will provide the students with first-hand account of how to manage a glass design project through all its steps. 

    • Development of Design Concepts and Projects

      Each student will start to develop his/her own glass project, taking into consideration all the skills and knowledge achieved during the first parts of the course. Supported by professional teachers, they will be guided step-by-step in the development of the initial concept until the final executive design that will be submitted to the glass factories partners for its implementation.

    • Practice/Direct Experience

      The final stage of the course is dedicated to the concreate realisation and production of the designed prototype. After discussing the details with the mentor Designers and the glass factory’s Managers, they will supervise the production carried out by the glassmakers in the furnace. All the students will follow the production of each piece, in order to acquire a better understanding of all the techniques.

Remarkable is that teacher who accomplishes himself what he teaches to others.
(Italian proverb)

IED faculty are professionals that daily face the market. Here you can read their bios.

Luca Berta – Course Coordinator

Luca Berta – Course Coordinator
PhD, is the Author of scientific papers on international journals and several books about art, aesthetics and philosophy of mind. He has taught Phenomenology of Contemporary Art at the IUSVE University in Venice and in 2013 he has been assistant curator of Glasstress. White Light/White Heat, a Collateral Event of the 55th Biennale di Venezia, dedicated to contemporary art in glass.

Francesca Giubilei – Course Coordinator

Francesca Giubilei – Course Coordinator
Independent Curator and conceiver of cultural initiatives. From 2008 to 2013 she was responsible for the development and the organisation of cultural projects and exhibitions related to the promotion of contemporary art in glass. She currently directs Veniceinabottle, a project dedicated to experimentation and hybridization of the arts in Venice. In 2015 she curated the exhibition Within Light / Inside Glass. An intersection between art and science presented at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, lettere ed Arti and to the Fundação Millennium in Lisbon.   

Antonio Pires De Matos

Antonio Pires De Matos
After his Degree in Chemical Engineering and PhD in Chemistry, in 1995 he started his path on art and science of glass subjects co-founding the Portuguese Glass Association and in 2002 the research unit VICARTE, Vidro e Cerâmica para as Artes, a partnership between the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon and the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon. He is a fellow the Society of Glass Technology (U.K.) and currently he is following special research activities and projects at VICARTE.

Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk

Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk
Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk is Head of the Glasmuseum Hentrich, Museum Kunstpalast, in Dusseldorf, Germany. After receiving his doctorate from Humboldt University, Berlin, he worked at the Bröhan-Museum in Berlin. From 2004 until 2008, he was Curator of European glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. He curated the shows “Glass of the Alchemists” in Corning and “Art and Alchemy – the Mystery of Transformation” in Dusseldorf.

KANZ architetti

KANZ architetti
Kanz is a design studio based in Venice, founded by architect duo Mauro Cazzaro and Antonella Maione and based on the idea that the natural relation between architecture, interior and product is the starting point for the creation of artifice inherent in the project. Convinced that the activity of the Designer is the basis for the construction of any complex object, be it a building or a product, whether material or conceptual only, they deal with issues in very different scale with the same experimental approach and with the same attention to detail and potential of techniques and materials.

Maria Grazia Rosin

Maria Grazia Rosin
After having compleated her studies under the guidance of Emilio Vedova at the Academy of Fine arts in Venice, she starts collaborating with eminent master glass blowers. Thanks to this collaborations, she learns to combine visionary bi-dimensional concepts she explored in her large scale paintings and the three-dimensional potential offered by glass, that becomes for her the main field of experimentation, building a privileged relationship with furnaces and the worldfamous Murano masters.

Breaking the Mould

Breaking the Mould
Breaking the mould (BTM) is an open platform for material exploration with a focus on glass founded by AUT (Riccardo Berrone, Luca Coppola) and Chiara Onida. BTM invited designers, makers, material scientists and video artists to participate in challenging the traditional world of glass craftsmanship of Murano glass, in association with the Salviati brand who join the project and open their furnace and production in support. BTM exhibit its works internationally, with solo exhibitions and group shows all around the world.