20th Century Design

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s Lyrical Landscape in Glass

By Ahnna Lee
DETAIL OF ALCOVA COLLECTION BY THE BOUROULLEC BROTHERS. PHOTO BY STUDIO BOUROULLEC, COURTESY OF WONDERGLASS.

At this year's Salone del Mobile in Milan, acclaimed French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec exhibited their exquisite colored glass collection at the elegant Instituto dei Ciechi. In collaboration with WonderGlass, a leading producer for artisanal lighting and glass in Italy, the designers meticulously shaped molten cast glass alcoves, backs and vases, evoking the compositions of Giorgio Morandi's still-life paintings while creating radiant halo backdrops when paired together. This body of work is aptly named Alcova, translating to "a place where lovers meet" in Italian, and was displayed as part of WonderGlass's Kosmos exhibition at the fair.

RONAN BOUROULLEC INSTALLING ALCOVA FOR WONDERGLASS FOR SALONE DEL MOBILE. PHOTO BY STUDIO BOUROULLEC, COURTESY OF WONDERGLASS.

Primitive in its shapes and surfaces, the glass's alluring grooves and inconsistencies give a sense that the pieces are gently streaming like water. Ronan Bouroullec explains, "This is research about vibration. I’m very interested in this question of vibrations and imperfections of objects. And here you can feel it’s full of imperfections. It seems to be still in movement."

ABOVE AND LEAD IMAGE: ALCOVA, A CAST GLASS COLLECTION BY RONAN AND ERWAN BOUROULLEC FOR WONDERGLASS AT SALONE DEL MOBILE. PHOTO BY STUDIO BOUROULLEC, COURTESY OF WONDERGLASS.

To accomplish this imperfect nature is quite an arduous undertaking. Crafted in Venice with highly-skilled glass artisans, the molten cast process requires brisk decisions and careful finesse like sketching in glass. For the Bouroullecs, this challenge is what motivated them to work with this technique and to develop something new in this medium. Composing a painterly glass landscape, the brothers celebrate of the imperfect beauty of nature.

 

Ahnna Lee is a New York-based editor and writer.

 

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