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The Artisan

Casarialto: Tales of Glass

Catherine Urban is the designer and creative force behind Casarialto, a Venice based brand of glass artworks and exquisite tabletop pieces. Her stunning creations, crafted by the most skilled artisans, are distinguished by a colorful and playful style.

The feeling that motivated Catherine Urban to kick off the Casarialto project was to encourage and collaborate with artisans and artists to create something completely new and unique, glass pieces they have never made before.

Born and raised in France, Catherine Urban has been studying, discovering, and meeting masters of Italian craftsmanship for over twenty years now. Moved by the desire to help artisans enhance their visibility, she launched Casarialto, a project of co-creations that combines creativity and savoir faire in a series of exclusive pieces.

Casarialto design was born in 2008, the result of your passion for glass working and your unique aesthetics. Tell us how this idea was born.

Arriving in Italy for love, after a long work experience in luxury companies Chanel and Louis Vuitton, it immediately seemed clear to me how much craftsmanship was breathed everywhere. Italy bases its roots on history, culture and its know-how. Arrived in Venice, I fell in love with glass. I bought iconic pieces, which I then combined in an unusual way on my table. The desire to create something of my own was great and it only took one step to put it into practice.

Even today the creation process is the most fascinating and delicate one. I have collected an infinite number of sketch books, where pencil in hand, I put my ideas and my sketches on paper. Some have come to light, some not yet. With these drawings I go to the craftsman and follow and guide him step by step in the creation of a first sample, which is often not as I had thought, but which never falls short of my expectations. Excellence is my watchword, which I never forget and which I perpetuate right from the search for the craftsmen I work with, the choice of material, the workmanship.

Glass is a versatile material with a delicate working process and the pieces you have designed are the result of a taste that is inspired by quality and tradition. What is the characteristic of this material that fascinates you the most?

Definitely its versatility, its transparency and shine. It is a malleable material, which is particularly suitable for many processes and leaves room for creativity. Borosilicate heats up easily and cools down just as easily. For this reason, the artisan's skill must be particularly marked, because the time he has to work on his piece is very short.

Being a light material, it is particularly appreciated and used to create both purely decorative objects and tableware. Glasses, carafes, napkin rings, making the table of every home unique and unconventional.

Your blown glass is entirely made by hand. Tell us about the main production stages of this fascinating process.

Depending on the type of product we intend to create, we draw from the experiences of one or more workshops. Indeed, our designs are often born from the creative collaboration of several master glassmakers. For example, designs such as our Fenicottero Set and Cactus Set are realized in two separate stages: first, we develop the structure and the parts separately, after which we assemble them. We work with borosilicate glass, the crafting process starting by choosing the tubes, whose thickness depends on the object we want to create. From there, the tubes go through many transformations: they are first heated at a temperature surpassing 3000°, which allows the glass to be melted and molded into the desired shape. After heating, the piece is ready for the final step: modeling by the master glassmaker’s hands for customization with sandblasting, etching, painting, metal finishing and so on.

​How would you describe Casarialto's aesthetic and what makes your pieces special and unique?

Our aesthetic is a modern reinterpretation of a classic Venetian style and is the result of a special synergy between the minds and hands of diverse artists. Our designs are colorful and playful yet defined by elegant and sober lines. Our products are of the highest quality and represent a mix between design and tradition, a meeting of the new and old.

Your working background in Paris and collaborations with major fashion brands have shaped your unique aesthetic personality. How do your past experiences influence your work today?

In the continuous search for quality and excellence. To the high standards I strive for. For my mindset that allows me to think big. For the idea that nothing is impossible and that everything is feasible and must be done in the best possible way.

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