A Match Made in Murano — Mattia Bonetti Fuses with Famed Glassmakers for His Latest Collection

As often as Swiss-born, Paris-based Mattia Bonetti’s singular, one-of-a-kind furniture and design pieces are described as whimsical, it would make sense that they are created, well, on a whim. The designer — whose often complicated, behemoth works are collected or commissioned by high-end, blue-chip art collectors — doesn’t release work in cohesive collections, preferring to design fantastical one-off pieces whenever inspiration strikes. That’s what makes his latest body of work stand out against an already striking oeuvre. Bonetti’s newest pieces, handmade in collaboration with the famed glass artisans of Murano, Italy and presented by London gallery David Gill in an online exhibition, is surprisingly subdued but no less virtuosic.

Bonetti took up an exhaustive level of research on Murano and its history, beginning with the settlement of the Romans in the 6th century. A suite of curvaceous vases borrow their shape from ancient Roman amphoras. Bonetti’s loosely sketched leaves and waves, translated in hand-blown glass, decorate the swelling bellies of the lamp bases. A curvy full-length mirror with a sinuous gilded brass outline employs a historical Venetian leaf motif, though in typical Bonetti style, the natural shape has been enlarged to an uncanny, playful size. Single leaves, applied to lighting sconces, stand sentry on either side of the massive mirror. As a foil to the terrestrial nature of these works, Bonetti’s “Dominos” mirrors are distinctly heavenly with their effervescent shapes and cloudlike borders.

An important aspect to Bonetti’s design work has always been to bring the outside in, and this principal isn’t limited only to natural elements. A capsule of works within the exhibition, titled “Grate,” uses Murano’s signature colored glass rods to create a bias cross-cross pattern that imitates a grating fence. The fresh key-lime color and geometric pattern adds a distinctly contemporary character—not to mention a bit of whimsy—to this historically-based collection.

1. MB Table Lamp 'Greek' 1. MB Table Lamp 'Column' 1. MB Table Lamp 'Grate' MB_Mirror 'Flying Leaves' Mattia Bonetti, Mirror 'Dominos' 1. MB Table Lamp 'Murano II' 1. MB Side Table 'Murano' 1. Mattia Bonetti, Mirror 'Grate' 4. MB Mirror 'Grate' Detail 1. MB Table Lamp 'Murano' 3. MB Console 'Grate' & Mirror 'Grate' (Green) 2. MB Table Lamp 'Greek' Murano 2020 1