Richard Povall and Clive Adams were fortunate enough to attend the opening reception for this new installation be CCANW Associate Rebecca Ballestra and architects Lino and Ella Barone. If you are in Venice it is absolutely worth a visit.

VENINI presents Sowers, the large-scale work bearing the signatures of artist Maria Rebecca Ballestra and architects Lino and Elia Barone, realized by the historical glassworks’ master craftsmen. Mounted in the courtyard of Ca’ Foscari University , the installation bears witness to VENINI ‘s sensitivity to environmental issues.

Present at the inauguration ceremony: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and Youba Sokona, the Vice President of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Cross pollination between art, technology and nature is the subtitle of the large-scale architectural installation which will remain on display from December 2, 2018 to April 7, 2019. Made of some 800 glass tiles arranged in an extraordinary chromatic composition, this installation speaks of VENINI’s unique ability to offer such a vast range of colours: from green to taupe, passing through amber and straw-yellow; from red to sapphire rippling through rose, burgundy, and aquamarine shades. These elements are joined together thanks to a free-standing metal framework, made with the contribution of DITH (Duferco International Trading Holding) and the Jotun Group, as well as Carpenteria Sartori’s skilled craftsmen; the structure simulates a section of Dna and will entice visitors to experience it fully, exploring its kaleidoscopic corridors and winding paths.

The concept is by Maria Rebecca Ballestra, the artist who has always used multidisciplinary expression and the theme of the journey to study issues around environmental, political, and social sustainability. Her work Journey into Fragility was presented in a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale and many exhibitions in Europe and the United States. In the course of her career, Ballestra has received several international awards and has often been invited to hold lectures and participate in symposia at Boston University, the Maraya Art Center, the University of Hull, Xiamen University, and the Taipei Artist Village.

The structural organism, instead, is a project by father-and-son architects Lino and Elia Barone, who can boast a long experience in interpreting the theme of cultural contaminations. In fact, the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi and some of the King of Morocco Hassan II’s residences, the Eastern Orthodox cathedral of Nice, a series of towers in the Emirates, and many private homes in Europe, Asia, and North Africa all bear the Barone signature.

Conceptually, Sowers represents an ideal Silk Road that holds in its curving structure the seeds of forty different varieties of plants or flowers, selected by the Padua Botanical Gardens, and introduced in Europe thanks to the commercial activities of Middle Eastern countries and Asia, also mentioned by Marco Polo. The public can fully appreciate this installation by means of an enhanced reality device created by CardMap that makes it possible to visualize the plant that corresponds to each seed.

The theme of the journey that often stimulates the artist’s creative thinking resurfaces once again in this exciting cultural archive of biodiversity: it is a timelessly apt symbol of the meeting of East and West.

By making available to the artist Maria Rebecca Ballestra its technical know-how and the ability of its master glassblowers to transform the raw material into artistic masterpieces, VENINI continues to contribute to the Lagoon’s cultural renewal and economic sustainability, revealing to the entire world the precious heritage of this territory.

Indeed, already in the mid-Fifties, VENINI was engaged to carry out the sweeping lighting plan for the Ca’ Foscari University’s Aula Magna, part of architect Carlo Scarpa’s major renovation project.

Established in 1921, VENINI has always set the standard in the field of glass art:

Gio Ponti, Mimmo Rotella, Alessandro Mendini, Massimiliano Fuksas, Gae Aulenti, Peter Marino, Ettore Sottsass, Tadao Ando, Ron Arad, and Carlo Scarpa, along with other world-famous designers, all experimented with the centuries-old glassworking tradition, creating works that in some cases entered the collections of important museums or fetched record prices at international auctions.

Dates, hours, and location of the installation:

Ca’ Foscari University
Dorsoduro 3246
30123 Venice

From December 3, 2018 to April 7, 2019
Mon – Fri: 8.00 – 19.00
Sat: 9 am – 1 pm


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

Founded in 1921 by Paolo Venini, a Milanese lawyer, and Giacomo Cappellin, a Venetian antiques dealer, Venini SpA, then Cappellin, Venini & C., would become a model of excellence in the world of artistic glass, laying the foundations for a stylistic identity that still distinguishes it today.

Over time, Venini entered into important partnerships with artists such as Napoleone Martinuzzi, Carlo Scarpa, Vittorio Zecchin, and, in the post-war period, Gio Ponti and Mimmo Rotella; then came the contributions of designers and architects the likes of Peter Marino, Tadao Ando, Gae Aulenti, Massimiliano Fuksas, Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Gaetano Pesce, Emmanuel Babled, Francesco Lucchese, Monica Guggisberg, Philip Baldwin, and Ron Arad. The forms and style of the original artistic production are thus continuously refreshed. With its iconic projects and new creations, the glassworks presents its works in two collections: Art Glass brings together a series of extraordinary sculptural vases and objects for interior decoration; Art Light features chandeliers and important lighting installations for large public or private spaces.

Venini boasts an unmatched colour palette that, together with the glassworking techniques, is part of a cultural heritage handed down from generation to generation. The Venini furnace is, in fact, the only one capable of producing 125 colours of glass, the fruit of a long and passionate search for formulae yielding new combinations. Furthermore, the structure is organized to work with a palette of 12 colours, using 12 ovens simultaneously fired up.

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” of 1962, which fetched 737 thousand dollars. Creations bearing the Venini signature have become part of the permanent collections of museums of such calibre as the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA in New York, the Fondation Cartier in Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Venini’s own museum contains 45,000 drawings, 10,000 vintage photos and 4,000 works of art, making it the most valuable historical archive of modern and contemporary glass art.

Since 2016, the Damiani family (owners of the homonymous international luxury jewellery brand), have held the controlling interest in Venini S.p.A., and their aim is to promote one of Italy’s most authentically excellent brands.


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