American Design Hot List 2016
Bianco Light & Space
Millerton, New York, biancolightspace.com
Anthony Bianco’s glass work — which encompasses sculpture, lighting, and functional art — takes shape under the influence of a range of sources, from Italian Futurism to the beauty of the Berkshires.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
I think American design has yet to be clearly and fully defined. So many of my contemporaries have taken the role of either being the designer/maker/artist or as the designer of mass-produced goods. The historical separation that has existed between mass production versus studio practice seems to be evolving into a more ethical and moral approach to theory practice and production.
Maybe one not-so-different precedent is the makers from the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 1900s, where the value in craftsmanship, the handmade, and the beauty of natural materials were paramount. These makers rejected the forms of mechanization that diminished the quality of their livelihoods and trade. During the Studio Glass movement in the early 1960s — with the advent of the small-scale glass blowing furnace in 1962 — glass which had only been previously accessible through European factory settings now became available. For the first time ever the artist/designer could also be the maker of glass without the factory as an institution.
American design today represents a shift from the industrialized form of making a product in a large scale to sourcing and producing work locally and in small quantities. To me the value of supporting the local economy is essential in addition to keeping handmade traditions alive while working in a studio setting.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
Producing large-scale glass sculptures in addition to introducing handmade furniture to my product line.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
I am inspired by having my own studio, having the ability to work with unique chemistries for glass making, the mold-making process, the endless possibilities of working with shapes and forms, manipulating light through the medium of glass, and most importantly to hone my skills as a glass maker on a daily basis.