Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy Explores the Powers of Matter + Shape

09.27.21 | By
Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy Explores the Powers of Matter + Shape

Luca Nichetto, curator of the fourth exhibition at InGalleria, the Art Gallery of Punta Conterie a Murano in Venice, chose an adjective as part of the name for the show. Empathic. The ability to share a feeling with others, in this case through the powers of matter and shape. Through April 10, 2022, installations and limited edition pieces by Ini Archibong, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, GamFratesi, Benjamin Hubert, Richard Hutten, Luca Nichetto, Elena Salmistraro and Marc Thorpe will be on display for Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy.

grey coffee table and grey side table on white background

Madonna Del Monte by Noe Duchaufour Lawrence

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance found inspiration in shades used in the photographic series “Down by the water” by photographer Lucie Jean that’s focused on a small island in the Venice Lagoon called Madonna del Monte. The result is a series of small sized furnishings and sculptures of the same name.

color sketch of glass table design

Madonna Del Monte by Noe Duchaufour Lawrence

Nichetto, who also has an installation on display, invited the individuals to freely incorporate Murano glass into their works. No brief or constraints, only freedom to design and experiment with blown glass, glass rods and cast glass. Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy combines the craftsmanship of talented Murano glassworkers, each specializing in a specific glass working technique, with the pure creativity of the designers involved. The resulting installations and editions showcase the magic that can occur when master and designer work together to convey emotion, perception and more.

tower-like sculpture with striated banks of color

Layered by Richard Hutten

Richard Hutten experimented with color overlays and verticality in his Layered totem that’s stratified, varied and intense.

sketch of a tower-like sculpture with striated banks of color

Layered by Richard Hutten

I hope that all the energy dedicated to Empathic will bring a positive message of growth and broadening of horizons; I hope that this exhibition is able to involve and entice young designers to work and draw inspiration from the great little reality of Murano.

– Luca Nichetto

five striped murano glass vessels on a white background

La Famiglia by Marc Thorpe

Marc Thorpe looked to the Venetian lagoon to create a collection of blown glass objects of various vertically striped shapes named The Family.

blue and grey sketch of three tall vessels

La Famiglia by Marc Thorpe

The exhibition, produced by InGalleria Art Gallery under the direction of Alessandro Vecchiato, investigates and crosses boundaries through the give and take of the glass. “Asking Luca Nichetto to conceive and curate this exhibition, I wanted to see what would happen if we all got involved by experimenting, disrupting the grammar of the forms, techniques and ingenuity of each to reach unprecedented results.”

three multicolored glass bowls/vessels on white background

Granule by Benjamin Hubert

Benjamin Hubert observed the skills of Murano glass masters to design Granule, a series of objects in which chromatic gradients mark the different shapes and textures of glass: smooth, satin, melted, in granules.

colored sketch of three bowls/vessels

Granule by Benjamin Hubert

Nichetto summarized, “I believe that the beauty of Empathic cannot be expressed by a single piece, but by the fact that the creation process had the sole intention of supporting Murano glass. And I like to think that we too are part of the rich tradition of designers who have worked with Murano glass over the years.”

sculpture with dark base and colorful upper half

Africa by Ini Archibong

Ini Archibong, an American designer of Nigerian origins, transferred his fascination of traditional African wooden masks into glass,

black and white sketch of patterns to be placed on a sculpture

Africa by Ini Archibong

three colorful murano glass sculptures on white background

Mech by Luca Nichetto

Luca Nichetto, no stranger to Murano glass, used childhood tales, such as Goldrake, to bring Mecha to life. Three small colorful glass robots evoke icons in rustproof and glittering armor.

color sketch of glass sculpture

Mech by Luca Nichetto

multicolored wall mirror with intricate frame design

Medusa by Elena Salmistraro

Elena Salmistraro’s colorful mirror is inspired by the movement of the Gorgons’ serpents. Large, strong and imposing, Medusa uses the techniques and processes of Murano mirror making in a fresh contemporary way.

sketch of multicolored wall mirror with intricate frame design

Medusa by Elena Salmistraro

three bowls/vessels in muted hues on white background

Palafit by GamFratesi

GamFratesi looked to the lagoon of Venice – the foundation of the city – for Palafit. Wooden sections obtained from “bricole”, the poles that mark the waterways, hold forms of large blown glass.

sketch of three colored bowls/vessels

Palafit by Gam Fratesi

overhead photo of an art exhibit with pedestals

Photo: Roberta Orio

To learn more about Empathic. Discovering a Glass Legacy, visit

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.