Carlo Scarpa’s vases: shape and music

Carlo Scarpa’s glass vases substantiate French painter Georges Braque’s idea that “the vase gives its shape to emptiness, and music to silence”.

The Venetian architect and designer (1906-1978) was fascinated by glassmaking since his youth, and learned the craft’s techniques and secrets by working with Murano’s masters since the late 1920s. One of the best and strongest influences on him was Giacomo Cappellin, owner of Maestri Vetrai Muranesi Cappellin & C.

Scarpa experimented and expressed his creativity through fragile, refined glass, reaching his best in the 1940s. Indeed, the 1940 Venice Biennale dedicated a whole hall to his glasswork, and until 1947 he was artistic director of Venice-based Venini – where, to quote Braque, he created shape and music for well over a decade.

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