Rolled, blown, moulded and expertly worked into beautiful objects, Murano glass is a living art form that has been thriving on this idyllic island just north of Venice for a millennium. We went to find out what ‘Made in Murano’ means today.
Simone Cenedese, a third-generation Murano glass master specialises in contemporary chandeliers and sculptures, which are handmade every day in the factory located just behind his boutique. Shoppers browsing in the boutiques are more than welcome to observe the production process, and can even have a bespoke item created for them in the showroom situated above the store.
Mr. Cenedese said that he and his colleagues are decidedly more open to changes and collaborations than the previous generation who jealously guarded the secrets of the trade. “Today, there aren’t many secrets any more. I feel that, by working and sharing my experience with fellow glass masters, our businesses grow and so does Murano which, in turn, will benefit us,” he observed.
Indeed, the market is a different game today and this is where the Consorzio Promovetro comes in. Working with over 60 producers on the island, President Luciano Gambaro said that traditional marketing strategies such as business events and trade fairs are no longer effective. Rather, exhibitions, special event sponsorships, national and international projects with important institutions, and above all, social media have proven to be fundamental. He emphasized, “In recent years, Promovetro is becoming a reference point for what concerns glass and its production.”
The fight against counterfeit Murano products began in 1994 when the Veneto region created the 'Vetro Artistico' Murano trademark and entrusted it to Promovetro. A sticker with the trademark affixed to genuine products guarantees their origin and production as exclusively Murano.
Besides assuring authenticity, producers are also innovating their collections to reach large markets such as China and Russia. Lighting, one of Simone Cenedese’s most
current focuses, is a great example of how Murano’s traditional techniques shine through with new designs. “While a certain product can be imitated, our customer service cannot. I divide my time between the factory and clients, travelling to new markets and investing in relationships with an association like the Consorzio.”
Despite difficulties, glass masters are optimistic about the future. “Getting my children involved in the business from a young age on a day-to-day basis, I hope they will like the world of glass-making and carry it on,” Mr. Cenedese said. Mr. Gambaro agreed: “Tradition, excellence and history – this is what Murano glass is about. It is different from anything else in the world.”