Who does Dezeen magazine's most popular designer of 2016, Nendo's Oki Sato, call when he has an idea for creating texture and pattern using shadow and glass? Lorenzo Arosio at Glas Italia.
The Italian company founded by Lorenzo Arosio's family in 1970 has established itself as the 'it' design group for creative experimentation producing some of the most sought after designs by a long list of the design world's favourites. Its focus on mixing centuries-old tradition with the latest techniques for developing, among other things, extraordinary details and eye-popping colour in glass has caused quite a stir amongst designers all eager to work with the group.
Based in the furniture region of Lombardia, an area rich in the industrial culture and history of Italy, the group's philosophy for investigation has established a platform ripe for designers interested in pushing glass to the limits. It is a history that has seen close collaborations with the legendary Ettore Sottsass, more recently designers including Patricia Urquiola, Naoto Fukasawa, Piero Lissoni and Tokujin Yoshioka, and, most recently, Oki Sato of Nendo who forged his relationship with the group in 2013.
It was Glas Italia's collaboration with Ettore Sottsas which first opened the door to colour and a whole new direction. Working with Sottsass in the early 2000s, together they developed a new technology for producing coloured mirror plates, the first of its kind in the world. Out of this new innovation came the important Gli Specchi di Dioniso mirror series released in 2007, a catalyst for some of the group's most dynamic pieces to date including the 2015 release of Layers by Nendo.
Earlier this year, Nendo held their first ever large-scale retrospective exhibition titled 'The Space in Between' at the Design Museum Holon in Tel Aviv. The show featured nearly 50 designs from a career spanning almost 15 years, and included seminal pieces from the Glas Italia collection – Deep Sea and Soft.
Like the Layers credenza, both pieces employ technical manipulation to emphasise both the spectrum and depth of colour.
Oki Sato's collaboration with Glas Italia has produced collections that are experimental in nature and inspired by everyday things. Colour and texture are key, with glass playing an important role for a designer whose interest in the spaces in-between objects, materials and textures can be fully explored through the beguiling properties of glass. The results are poetic, extraordinary and beautiful.
Discover more from Glas Italia at Space Furniture: Space Australia – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.