The Color Library at the Orsoni Glassworks
Orsoni is a dive into color, in a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of hues ready to spark a twinkle in your eye. This historical Venice glassworks has contributed to the city’s reputation for excellent craftsmanship for 130 years, making Venetian enamels and mosaic tiles, in a range of 3,500 colors and 24-karat gold leaf. It is a place suspended in time, whose ancient origins began when artisan-artist Giandomenico Facchina – preparing to move to France – decided to leave his workshop to his apprentice Angelo Orsoni. Little did he know that Orsoni would completely change the course of his small business.
Orsoni visited Paris for the World Expo and brought with him a panel with 3,000 colored mosaic tiles, to showcase his work. Salvador Dalì was so impressed with the quality and artistic value his products that he began purchasing materials for the Sagrada Familia exclusively from him.
Soon, Orsoni started supplying the most outstanding masterpieces of international art and architecture: London’s Saint Paul Cathedral, the Sacré-Coeur in Paris, the Saint Mark Basilica in Venice, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and even some majestic mosaics destined to private residences in Saudi Arabia and the Far East.
At the glassworks, you’ll now find the Biblioteca del Colore (Color Library) – as painter Virgilio Guidi, who often came here with Carlo Scarpa, named it: an amazing archive of 3,500 hues of glass, catalogued with great care and precision. The collection includes thirty-two variations of the precious “mosaic gold” that Orsoni is known for around the world, and impressive palettes such as the one entirely dedicated to human skin, with over one hundred hues obtained by mixing glass and liquid gold. Their extraordinary luminosity and splendor have made Orsoni’s reputation for excellence, especially for mosaic portraits. The glassworks now manufactures 10-12,000 square meters of golden tiles and Venetian enamels every year.