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Craft + Design Centre and acclaimed Italian design consulting studio Mr.Lawrence, together with 1+1 Design Gallery, Milan, will present the collective exhibition GLASS UTOPIA as part of the international Venice Glass Week from 3 until 26 September 2020.

A signature exhibition for DESIGN Canberra Festival 2019, the GLASS UTOPIA was curated by Mr.Lawrence co-founders Annalisa Rosso and Francesco Mainardi for Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre and presents a selection of 24 contemporary pieces by 12 leading Italian and Australian designers. As a realized utopia, GLASS UTOPIA tells of the new glass Renaissance that blossoms today both locally and internationally, demonstrating how the power of beauty is stronger than ever, and that creativity has no borders.

The exhibition features six Italian designers – in collaboration with many furnaces and companies from the heartland of glass Murano – and six Australian designers including: Elizabeth Kelly, Federico Peri, Gala Fernandez, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Liam Fleming, Matteo Zorzenoni, Mel Douglas, Peter Bowles, Stories of Italy, Tom Skeehan, Federica Biasi, Zanellato/Bortotto.

Craft ACT CEO and Artistic Director Rachael Coghlan said, “DESIGN Canberra’s first international tour, to Venice Glass Week and Milan Design Week no less, is a momentous opportunity to celebrate the global context for Australian contemporary craft and design, and through that, to promote creative industries generally.”

This project aims to explore blown glass tradition, examining its future and the new stimuli that surrounds this material across geographical borders.

In 1967 Italian architect Enrico Taglietti installed, in the Italian Ambassador’s residence in Australia, two magnificent glass chandeliers from Murano, which seem fresh and contemporary, even today. With their modern design and remarkable craftsmanship, the two pieces generated a bridge between the two countries, connecting these considerable glass traditions. And it is within these ambassadorial rooms that the idea of GLASS UTOPIA project was born. This project aims to explore blown glass tradition, examining its future and the new stimuli that surrounds this material across geographical borders.

Mr.Lawrence Co-founder, design strategist and creative director Francesco Mainardi said, “If it is true that in the last years a new generation of glassmakers and designers spontaneously revitalized the Murano glass blowing industry, it is equally important to highlight how a new sensibility – aesthetic, cultural, experimental – brought back in vogue an interest in glass making. This contemporary approach has captured the attention of a fascinated international market. In GLASS UTOPIA, visitors will see, almost instinctively, the common elements and the shared language among the blown glass from Murano and the pieces from Australia. A single DNA unites the works, forging a transversal community based on creativity and experimentation.

“This exhibition is the start of an open dialogue which refuses sharp contrasts, but questions notions of borders and distance. In this way, we can redefine the value of tradition and innovation, aiming to discover surprising connections among the two countries, especially in terms of inspiration, technique, aesthetic and research” added Mr.Lawrence Co-founder, design writer and curator Annalisa Rosso.

GLASS UTOPIA is a signature exhibition for the DESIGN Canberra Festival made possible with the generous support of Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, Au sglass, Design Tasmania, and the Embassy of Italy in Canberra. The exhibition’s international tour to Italy has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank and Consorzio di Tutela Prosecco DOC .

GLASS UTOPIA premiered at the DESIGN Canberra Festival 2019, then toured to Design Tasmania. After being featured in the Venice Glass Week 2020 official program the exhibition will travel to Milan Design Week 2021.

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