Suzanne Lovell Inc

Design

The father and son team of Ghiro

January 25, 2019

Domenico Ghiro at the studio.

Image courtesy of: Pintaram

When father and son team Michele and Domenico Ghiro set out to design contemporary glass together, the result was spectacular. The pair, interestingly enough, is quite different from one another. Michele is outgoing while his son, Domenico, is soft-spoken and reserved.  As dark complexed and shy Domenico is, his father, Michele, is short and bright-eyed.

Michele is that talker of the duo while Domenico has naturally turned into the company’s imaginative creator. The 27 year-old young artist is a man completely immersed in his craft and it’s clear that he enjoys every minute at the studio.

Round Wall Mirror, Italy. Circa 2015, Michele Ghiro.

Image courtesy of: Maison Gerard

Michele Ghiro has lived in fashionable city of Milan his entire lift. Working hands-on with glass since he was a young man, he has had plenty of time to develop his abilities while simultaneously exploring glass’ properties. In 1996, Michele started to work for Giorgio Berlini, eventually taking over the important company once Berlini retired. Ghiro was intent on preserving the company’s long traditions while looking for innovative changes. In such, eight years later Michele founded “Glass Academy” with the mission of maintaining the ancient traditions of glass-making while working with other artisans to evolve the craft to another level.

Alongside the other glassblowers, including his son, Domenico, Michele produced a number of masterpieces and completed many international commissions… in such he established an impressive reputation both for himself and for the studio.

This “Studio Mirror” in blue is hand-made in Milan. Each mirror from the collection is customized and to order available in different sizes and glass colors. The brass frame has the artist’s signature.

Dimensions: 42″. Lead time is roughly 10 weeks.

Image courtesy of: Dering Hall

As you can imagine, Domenico’s childhood was spent in an extremely creative and innovate environment; it was in high school that he first attended his father’s workshop. There, he had the amazing opportunity of drawing upon four decades of artistic glasswork production. Following, Domenico attended art school and became proficient in computer graphics and design. Nevertheless, Domenico continued to beinspired by da Vinci and Michelangelo. As a result of these influences, his early experiments with glass were quite classical- reworking his own fashion while staying true to the integrity of that time period.

The first of Domenico’s project which acclaim was a collaboration with his father where they designed and produced wonderful wall mirrors. These mirrors won the duo international recognition, and Domenico won the Award of Arts and Culture XXVI  in 2014 for best new artist.

“Brutalist Mirror”, hand-made from glass and brass. Dimensions: 37″ x 24″, diameter: 24″. Circa 2013.

Image courtesy of: 1st Dibs

Both father and son are always looking for new forms and materials from which to produce their stunning hand-made pieces. Thicker elements that have intense colors (mainly blues) are especially fascinating to Domenico. For him, each project begins with studying the shape and scale of the material and nothing is left to chance.

Domenico says, “Our projects do not just happen, but are the result of continuous research into the works of the past as documented in magazines and books of the time. The rest comes from over 30 years of working experience.”

This “Artide” low table is made from hand-carved glass panels set into brass framing and colored with a unique iridescent treatment. The table’s brass legs are irregular and protrude through the top in order to create abstract triangular surface details. The table comes from a limited edition of 12, with an additional 2 artist proofs.

Dimensions: 17″ (h) x 51 1/2″ (w) x 32″ (d)

Image courtesy of: 1st Dibs

What’s special about Ghiro is that they don’t use casting (which is what facilitates free-form creations). Uniquely theirs is a row of machines from the 1940’s which grind and polish glass to different degrees of coarseness and smoothness.

The team works with two types of glass: blocks and slabs. Blocks, which are also called rocks, are cooled molten glass that’s  found on the bottom of factory kilns. The raw material may be garbage for some, but to the Ghiro’s… it’s a treasure which they purchase as raw material. As the glass is laid down in layers, it takes many hours… even days… of chiseling before a crack forms. Immediately after the faults form, the piece must get “re-configured” so that it won’t break.

The slabs are selected by desired thickness and colors. Sometimes, the pieces are slumped in an oven in order to achieve a curved profile before it’s repeatedly ground and polished.

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