Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, Glass and Memory
A true Venetian tells his story and explains why Murano glass is so different from all the other kinds.
by Giulia Zappa
He grew up in a beautiful palace overlooking the Grand Canal. He managed to turn his passion into a successful international business. Giberto Arrivabene’s creativity is highly influenced by his unconditional love for Venice - a treasure chest of stories, exceptional know-how and inspiration.
ARTEMEST: You were raised in a family of women and from early age you were exposed to paintings/frescos by the artist Giambattista Tiepolo. How did this particular upbringing affect you? What are your childhood memories from Palazzo Papadopoli?
A: Inspired by Venice, the literary Nobel prize winner Iosif Brodsky wrote that “the eye in this city acquires an autonomy similar to that of a tear”. Is this how yourcollection of the same name was created?
GA: The tear collection was created in a moment of great suffering. I was in a terrible mood because somebody treated me badly so I designed this glass adorned with a tear.
A: How can one maintain quality at any cost?
GA: Never compromise quality by cutting cost and producing where it’s more affordable. For example, I could make my glasses in India for five dollars each but I don’t want to do this. My glasses are expensive to make but I believe it is necessary as Murano glass is truly unique and different than all the cheaper ones. When you touch a Murano glass, you can immediately feel the difference.
A: In what kind of houses do you like to see your glasses placed?
GA: In the ones where people understand their true value. To appreciate these glasses you must know that you didn’t buy a glass but a work of art. They are designed by a person who loves these things and the story behind them, and they are made by a man from Murano who blows glass with a thousand-year old technique and engraves them like it used to be done five hundred years ago. When you put all these things together, you get a two hundred euro glass which you can observe, enjoy and drink from.
A: Why is Venice the most beautiful city in the world?
About the author Giulia Zappa is an Italian journalist, communication Professor and design strategist. Zappa is also editor in chief of the contemporary art magazine Artribune.