The History of Fortuny’s Glass Lamps

House of rock Los Angeles Fortuny lamps

House of Rock, Los Angeles featuring Glass Scudo Saraceno with Metal Ring.

Mariano Fortuny regularly found inspiration in such a diverse array of cultures. He was fascinated by the styles and fashions that derived from the far-flung corners of a world that was becoming far more accessible in the early twentieth century. In the instance of his prestigious glass lamps, however, it was the very city that he had been living and working in for the entirety of his adult life that served as his greatest inspiration. It was the culture and deep-rooted history of Venice that seeped into his designs and materials. These ornate and beautifully crafted objects were formed using historic glass-making techniques. Also, Fortuny’s lamps incorporate Venetian glass, a type of glass formed on the island of Murano, Venice and widely recognised the world over for glorious colours and the elaborate skills required to construct such items.

Palazzo Stern, Venice” featuring Glass Cesendello Chandeliers.

Fortuny was a great admirer and avid collector of Venetian glass and he used it in several of his disciplines. For example, in dressmaking, he used Murano glass for ornament, as well as for weighing down silk dress hems, ensuring that his dresses did not ‘float’ but rather clung to the contours of the body. As discussed in previous posts, lighting was an important facet of Mariano Fortuny’s work. He found ways to alter the intensity and colour of light. In his time, this altered the way in which light could be used in theatre. This technology gave life to the dimmer switch many of us have in our homes today. Today these beautiful designs are kept alive in an extraordinary cultural project by the wonderful team of designers at the Venetia Studium fashion house. Our aim is to revive and preserve the elegance of 20thcentury Venetian tastes and fashion, and we are the exclusive producers of Fortuny lamps. In the glass range, Venetia Studium conserves the centuries-old practice of historic Venetian glass blowing, managing to recreate that masterful sense of elegance that brought them such fame at the time, as well as upholding the originality of the finely sculpted contours and oriental designs evident in the silk models. The ornamental gold of the finely etched decoration is only enhanced by the lamps’ shimmering transparency, before being gracefully finished with a burnished decorative metal ring. The lamps are constructed from a fine balance of glass, burnished brass and Murano glass beads. All the available models come with a choice of either a metal rim or a decorative metal ring – both bringing their own impactful finish to the piece. Our lamps come in a range of options and styles to suit a variety of different environments. One of our favourites is the Cesendello Chandelier, a sublime piece of design and lighting technology that is characterised by an elegant spiral shaped structure. The précis of the Cesendello recalls the twist of Muslim turbans, a nod to Fortuny’s infatuation with eastern cultures. The lamps are a mesmerising amalgamation of the Oriental-Renaissance themes apparent in much of Fortuny’s work.