Weaving together almost one hundred years of tradition and a unique sensitivity, the Gino Cenedese & Son glassworks is one of Murano’s finest and oldest glass companies. With a vocation for excellence and the love for traditional craftsmanship, the glass masters of this furnace have interpreted Venetian history through color and form, accomplishing global acclaim. The Cenedese Murano Glass is world-famous not only because of their indisputable quality and talent, but also because out of many Murano Glass companies, this is probably the one with the widest range of collections and variations.
The story of Cenedese fame begins in 1916 with a small 9-year-old boy, Gino Cenedese, who learned the most essential glassmaking techniques from different masters around Murano. By the end of the second World War in 1946, he founded the Gino Cenedese & C. glassworks, which immediately gained international recognition thanks to the high quality and refined style engraved in every piece. Although Cenedese opened this glass factory with important partners by his side (Angelo Tosi, Alfredo Barbini, Gino Fort and Pietro Scaramal), he was left as its sole owner by 1949, taking the factory through the twentieth century with vision and commitment.
Throughout the years, Gino Cenedese has had important collaborations with other Venetian masters and artists that have marked different periods in the company’s history. During the 1950’s, sculptor Napoleone Martinuzzi created a series of female figures in bas-relief glass panels that now embellish the company’s showrooms; while it was painter Luigi Scarpa Croce who helped develop their now famous Sommerso technique, where each colorful glass layer is submerged into another, creating beautiful effects. It was around this time that Cenedese also collaborated with another important designer, Fulvio Bianconi, who exposed the company’s artworks at the Venice Biennale in 1954. By the end of the 1960’s, artist Harold Stevenson took inspiration from the Venetian Lagoon and worked on several sculptures that reflected the beauty and diversity of the Venetian canals. Since the early 1970’s, the company held important collaborations with Venetian artist Antonio da Ross, expanding the possibilities of using glassware as valuable pieces of art, and focusing on submerged glass techniques such as the “Contrappunti”.
Gino Cenedese & Son glassworks has a wide range of collections, all of them examples of the house’s Murano Glass artistry, high-end craftsmanship, and penchant for innovation. One of the most famous collections is the Calici series, in which the most traditional shapes and traits of glass complement one another to form delicate chalices. On the other hand, the trademark Canne compilation is an explosion of color, adorning vases, lamps and figurines with long multicolored glass canes.
Africa shows up as an inspiration quite often in the Cenedese collections. The Masai selection displays an array of red and beige glass pieces framed with a thin glass thread that imitates the ropes and ornaments used in African decorations. The Savanna set however, focuses on a lighter and more delicate interpretation of African culture. Using the “canne” technique, each piece is blown and crafted by hand, producing transparent plates and vases for a more practical end.
The beauty and mystery of nature is another recurrent theme in the Cenedese series. The Galassia (or Galaxy) collection possesses some of the company’s most valuable pieces. The mastery with which the Canne and Sommerso techniques are used gives these impressive vases an invaluable artistic importance. A complete opposite to the vibrant Galassia vases, the Nettuno series mix different shades of blue in a “submerged” spiral inside each piece, transmitting all the calmness and tranquility of a gentle sea. Such is Cenedese’s interest in the sea, that he has many collections playing with sea-inspired themes. One of them, Anemoni collection, mimics the shapes and movements of the colorful sea-dwelling creatures called anemones, resulting in round vases that give the impression of depicting delicate tentacles in the inside. The Cappe series is another collection related to the sea: the long tall vases remind us of the shapes of seashells (called cappe in Venetian dialect).
The Vulcano collection offers some of the most energetic and colorful Cenedese pieces: merging every possible shade derived from incandescent volcanic lava, these massive pieces shine with small additions of gold and silver through lively colored canes. Modeling the shape and form of delicate flower buds, the Germoglio set is probably the most sophisticated series when it comes to creative use of glass-making techniques. In very different Scarabeo vases each piece has a sphere of “submerged” glass and is enriched with spirals of colored glass strands, shaping the vases into a round form. Ciprea – a small shellfish with stained shell – inspired the name of another Cenedese colection, displaying the same colors and motif over flat oval vases.
Other collections concentrate on shapes and forms, like the Spirali compilation, which flaunts gorgeous huge spirals “submerged” with Sommerso technique inside thick vases and decorative fish. Another example is the Abbraccio collection, which concentrates on the idea of an embrace, making the colors on the plates and vases seem like they are “hugging” each other on the edges.
The company’s most historic and important of collections is the Vetro Scavo series. In this series we can find plates, vases, centerpieces, lamps and animals inspired by excavations of anciient Roman glassware and pottery. These pieces flaunt ancient decadent style that is obtained through the salts and oxides used during the production. Once the glass reaches a certain temperature, the materials react to the heat creating rusted opaque look, as if the objects have just come out from an archaeological dig.
It is a difficult task to keep track of all the artistic and technological innovations that Gino Cenedese and his prominent glass company accomplished over time, but their talent and never-ending creativity is celebrated all around the world, with their artworks being showcased in places like the Manila Grand Hotel, the Sheraton Hotel in Qatar, or the Banca di Novara in Italy. Today as always, the Gino Cenedese & Son Murano glass company pays respect to Murano’s ancient glass making traditions by handcrafting every piece with skill and mastery, innovating every design with clever imagination. Today, the Cenedese house works under the guidance of another historical representative of Murano glass, the Seguso, now owners of Ars Cenedese Murano.