Double Signature. A dialogue between design and artisanal excellence

Emmanuel Babled
Simone Crestani

Emmanuel Babled has worked with glass for 25 years, designing collections for Baccarat and Venini, whose Murano glassblowing furnaces he knows well. On a visit to Simone Crestani’s workshop, however, Babled is keen to learn about a glassmaking technique that is wholly new to him. Crestani begins all projects with a slim cylinder of borosilicate, a glass commonly used for beakers and kitchenware. But it’s not just the kind of glass that distinguishes his work, it’s that he’s developed a sculptural way of working it, pulling it into delicate bonsai branches, the tentacles of an octopus or dozens of sea anemones strung into an elegant chandelier.

As Babled dons a pair of protective sunglasses, Crestani fires up the blowtorch to demonstrate his technique: blowing gently through a rubber tube to expand the heated glass, shaping it with tongs, fusing it to another piece. Babled seems to know exactly where to stand and just when to move out of the way as Crestani whisks a hot tube from a revolving machine to shape it at an adjacent workspace. By now it is late afternoon, and as they sip water from a set of glasses made by Crestani, they realize that they don’t have the time they need to define and refine a product. Instead they will work on a sculpture shape. 

 “Being here I see it should be something more sensible and also more emotional,” says Babled. Crestani is glad for the chance to explore new ideas. “Even if I’m pushing limits as a craftsman, it’s valuable to take a step back and see the material with another eye.”

Emmanuel Babled
has designed unique pieces and limited editions for manufacturers such as Baccarat, Covo, Rosenthal and Venini. Based in Lisbon, he also designs and produces iconic furniture, lighting and industrial products for clients such as Bulgari, Ittala, Waterford Crystal and Viceversa. His approach is to be in direct contact with artisans, observing materials and techniques in their authentic surroundings, often challenging the traditional boundaries of craft with original composition and the use of technology. He has long collaborated with Murano glassmakers. Babled’s work is held in public and private collections around the world and is available through galleries in Paris, Rotterdam, Milan and New York.
Simone Crestani
is a master glassmaker based near Vicenza, Italy, an hour west of Venice. His work is often inspired by the natural world, such as lighting fixtures and chandeliers made from glass shaped into shells or sea creatures or small trees. Crestani is known for a technique he developed of working with a flame on borosilicate glass, which he calls hollow sculpture. It allows him to create large-scale objects with delicate details. The strength of the glass means that he can create pieces like his “Bubble Console” where wood rests on spheres that look like chains of soap bubbles. His pieces have been showcased in some of the world’s most prestigious glass exhibitions and are sold through the Bernd Goeckler gallery in New York City.


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