Double Signature. A dialogue between design and artisanal excellence

Serena Confalonieri
Francesca Merciari of Scuola del Vetro Abate Zanetti

Serena Confalonieri designed a lamp conceived to reflect iconic aspects of the city of Venice. The solid base is an ode to the dry ground; the curved metal stand echoes the sinuous routes of the canals; the hat-shaped lampshade is opaque like the Venetian palazzos on the outside and decorated with a geometric pattern made in glass on the inside, evoking inlaid marble pavements. “I was aiming for a play of light and reflections that would amplify the lamp’s luminosity,” says Confalonieri. “When you flip the switch, a surprise motif of coloured rays comes bouncing out.” To make the glass shade, Francesca Merciari experimented with several techniques to find the one most suited to the design. 

Glass rods are melted together in the furnace by placing them side by side on a flat surface and cutting them into a disk with a 60-centimetre diameter (30 cm for the table lamp). Then thermoforming takes place. A mould made of refractory ceramics shapes the disk three-dimensionally. “Although you might be familiar with the complexities of glass, every new project you make requires a process of trial and error. It’s like the first time all over again,” says Merciari. For the suspension lamp, shades of green mirror the lagoon. The floor lamp’s pink and terracotta palette is taken from the colours of Venetian plaster, as are the greys and pinks of the table lamp. Merciari and Confalonieri much enjoyed learning from each other, and are looking forward to continuing their collaboration in the future.

Serena Confalonieri
Born just north of Milan, Serena Confalonieri graduated in interior design at the Milan Polytechnic in 2006. After working in architecture and design firms in Barcelona and Berlin, she opened her own studio in Milan in 2011. With a special interest in bold, textured surfaces, she creates products, graphics, textiles and interiors. In 2016, thanks to a professional scholarship, she spent 6 months in New York working in a textile company, and taking hand-weaving and rug knotting classes. Her Masai collection of colourful ceramic vases with faux leather trim was presented at Fuorisalone in Brera district during the 2017 Milan Salone del Mobile, along with her lively facade-cover, made-in-aluminium chains for the Archiproducts shop on Via Tortona.
Francesca Merciari
Francesca Merciari graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Ravenna. She fell in love with the mystery of glassmaking in 2003, while undertaking a two-year specialisation course in Bolzano. In 2009 she moved to Venice, where she took a degree in visual and performing arts at the IUAV University. Thanks to her training at different glassworks in Murano, Merciari was able to integrate her historical and theoretical knowledge with practical and technical skills. Since 2017 she has been teaching glass fusion and art history to teenagers at the Abate Zanetti School of Glass, established in 1862 on the Venetian island of Murano. The institute was relaunched in 2016 as a trade-based high school.


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