Home: Glass Act

  • Jackie Caradonio

Last April, italian glassmaker Seguso welcomed top interior designers from around the world to its factory on the Venetian island of Murano. The visitors toured the facility, marveling at the furnaces and at the ornate chandeliers, vases, and objets d’art these ovens help to produce. But it was the unveiling of Seguso Interiors—the company’s furniture collection incorporating exquisitely rendered glass elements—that drew the most attention. "It was funny," creative director Pierpaolo Seguso says of the event, "because at the end of the day, we heard the same question over and over again: ‘Where have you been all of this time?’ "

Seguso has been around for more than six centuries, in fact, but the seasoned company, whose works appear in museums worldwide, is new to furniture making—and the first Murano glasshouse to take up the activity. Recent collaborations with Dior and Fendi, among other high-profile clients, prompted the company—founded by the Seguso clan in 1397—to expand its offerings beyond light fixtures and decorative accessories. "We began searching for innovative ways to introduce our glasswork into home design," says Pierpaolo, "and making glass part of the furniture itself was the best way to do that."

The new furniture line (priced from $8,500 to about $30,000 and available to the trade only) comprises coffee tables, side tables, dining tables, benches, consoles, and ottomans, all of which feature elegant handblown glass legs. Pierpaolo modeled the legs after traditional Venetian architecture: Some of the supports consist of stacked globes resembling early Italian domes, while others recall the swirling columns of Venice’s famed palazzi. Tabletops and bases in wood, glass, or colored lacquer lend the furnishings a contemporary edge.

Each piece of furniture, like all of the company’s glasswork, is made custom according to the client’s specifications. Pieces can be based on the designs that Seguso debuted in Murano last spring, or they can be created from scratch to fulfill a client’s vision. Pierpaolo and his team will work with a client’s interior designer to customize every aspect of a table, bench, or footstool—from the shape, size, and color of its glass legs to the material and dimensions of its top or seat.

But while the client drives the design, Pierpaolo says the glass itself often has the final word. "Glass is an incredible material, and there is a lot it can do, but it can’t do everything, so we spend a lot of time experimenting," he explains. "We often have designers come to us with an amazing idea, and by working with the glass, the piece can completely change into something even more spectacular than we ever could have imagined."

Seguso, 212.696.1133, www.segusointeriors.com

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