The history


”In the course of these one hundred years of history and passion, VENINI has preserved and interpreted a unique artistic heritage that has its origins in the 13th-century Venetian culture, creating distinctive works that combine the profound knowledge of tradition with the allure of contemporary tastes. 
This brand of excellence has recently become a part of the Gruppo DAMIANI, which through its creations promotes at an international level the core values of Italian craftsmanship, Beauty, and Know-How. I am pleased to celebrate this important anniversary together with VENINI: it is a milestone that opens the door to a new century of art and design, innovation, and the cutting edge of creativity”. 
Silvia Damiani 
President of VENINI and Vice President of Gruppo DAMIANI

1921 – 1930

October 2, 1921 

Together, Milanese lawyer Paolo Venini and Venetian antiquarian Giacomo Cappellin founded “Vetri Soffiati Cappellin Venini & C.”, an ambitious project which the Venetian artist Vittorio Zecchin immediately decided to join, in the role of Artistic Director. 
The combination of these three different personalities laid the foundations for the stylistic identity that still characterizes the company today: changing traditional schemes, embracing the avant-gardes, and mastering glassmaking techniques thanks to the contribution of the best master glassmakers on the island. 
That same year, Zecchin created the famous vase Veronese, which was to become the symbol of the company. 


The brand opened its stores in Venice, in Piazzetta Leoncini, and in Paris.The first series designed by Vittorio Zecchin was presented at the Salon d’Automne and at the XIII Biennale in Venice with a chandelier placed in the vestibule of the Central Pavilion. The collection was also exhibited at the Trade Fair in Milan. 



VENINI received the Grande Medaglia d’oro “L’Esposizione Internazionale delle Arti Decorative” in Monza, which was to become the Triennale of Milan. The shapes and colours of the glass pieces exhibited on this occasion marked a breaking point and a revolution for the world of glassmaking. The brand opened its store in via Montenapoleone in Milan. 



VENINI won the national contest launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the supply of “cristallerie” (glassware) destined to all the Italian embassies abroad. The pieces, called Ambasciata, are still produced today for the Italian offices abroad. 



At the Exposition internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, the entrance hall of the Italian Pavilion featured Alberelli (small glass trees) in glass with curls and fruits designed by Zecchin. The same year, the brand won the Grand Prix with a 30-light lampshade with curly decorations, which were the first lighting devices ever exhibited. 



At the XV Biennale d’Arte in Venice, VENINI presented a large glass fountain and chandelier designed by Napoleone Martinuzzi, of which Gabriele D’Annunzio would say: “be the design more splendid than the glass … the beauty of your vases so light that it truly seems to breathe in the soul”. 



The III Biennale delle Arti Decorative in Monza hosted the works of the Milanese group “Il Labirinto”, composed by Tommaso Buzzi, Pietro Chiesa, Emilio Lancia, Michele Marelli, Gio Ponti, Paolo Venini and Countess Carla Visconti di Mondrona. The intent was that of promoting the diffusion of modern decorative arts. In the same year, Paolo Venini introduced himself in a personal exhibition at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs in Geneva. 



Martinuzzi brought an extraordinary novelty to the world of the Fornace: the “pulegoso” glass, a type of glass that encloses thousands of air bubbles. 
This innovation was followed by a number of monumental works, which had never been created in glass, such as the large fountain for the Quadriennale in Rome and the famous statue of Josephine Baker for the Hotel Excelsior in the Lido di Venezia. 



The first humorous glass animals by Napoleone Martinuzzi made their appearance by winning the Grand Prix at the Esposicion Internacional de Arte Moderno in Barcelona. 
Accompanying them, in full resonance with Nature, were sophisticated glass pieces shaped like succulent plants and the works of art called Acquari di vetro. 


1931 – 1940


Exhibition of giant glass cactuses and fountains at the I Quadriennale in Rome. And VENINI’s glassworks reached the exhibition on Decorative Arts in Amsterdam. 
The Post Office building in Bergamo lit up with VENINI’s creations. In collaboration with architect Angiolo Mazzoni. In its footsteps followed the post offices of Teramo, Palermo, Pola, Forlì, Savona, Gorizia and Ferrara. Large installations can still be seen in the railway stations of Reggio Emilia, Ferrara, Siena, and Trento. 


The collaboration with Martinuzzi came to an end and the partnership with Tommaso Buzzi and Carlo Scarpa began. 
VENINI’s lighting departments started to grow with the project for Palazzo della Borsa in Milan (the city’s stock market building), the Torre della Rivoluzione tower in Brescia with architect Marcello Piacentini, the Banca Popolare di Milano, the building of the Corporation Ministry, and the motorship Conte di Savoia in Genoa with architect Pulitzer. 



VENINI welcomed Carlo Scarpa, who created the first Sommersi vases. 
Diamante by Paolo Venini and the glassworks by Carlo Scarpa were presented at the XIX Biennale d’Arte in Venice. Soon, they were also exhibited in the Mostra della Nuova Torino, the Garden Exhibition in Florence, and the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. VENINI’s art also put its signature on the Croff store in Milan, the American Bar in Venice, and the Palazzo Reale in Bolzano. 



The fountain designed by architects Montuori and Aschieri became the star piece of the Quadriennale in Rome and was awarded the Grand Prix at the Exposition Internationale Artisanne in Brussels. 



VENINI arrived at the XX Biennale D’Arte in Venice and at the VI Triennale in Milan, where it obtained the Gran Premio with its new glassworks: Diamante. On this occasion, Paolo Venini met the ceramist Tyra Lundgren, whom he invited to Murano. In collaboration with architect Pulitzer, the brand prepared a project for Palazzo del Conte di Savoia. 



VENINI obtained the honorary diploma at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Venini’s glassworks were exhibited in Berlin at the International Exhibition on 19th century and Contemporary art.



VENINI’s first exhibition in Scandinavia, at the Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm. 
Paolo Venini exhibited Scarpa’s new glassworks, which are heavy, worked with the grinding wheel, and decorated with figurative and abstract etchings. The engraver is master Piano. Paolo Venini participated in the first Artek exhibition in Helsinki, curated by Alvar Aalto’s first wife, Aino. 



There was a great change in the production: Carlo Scarpa and Paolo Venini presented the new techniques of beaten, woven, granular and new murrine glass at the Biennale in Venice and at the Triennale in Milan. Carlo Scarpa and Tyra Lundgren’s collections were exhibited at the VII Triennale in Milan, where they obtained the Gran Premio, and at the Grassi Museum in Leipzig. 


1941 – 1950


The war reduced operations at the Fornace, but never extinguished them. Exhibitions continued, as did the creations of lighting projects like the one of the Hotel Excelsior and the Bank of Italy building in Rome. 


During the war, Paolo Venini combined his artistic production with the series production of lamps and bottles. The company VENINI won the contest launched among glass factories in Murano to create a Centrotavola (Centerpiece) for the University of Padua. The different faculties were represented by glass animals designed by Carlo Scarpa. 



The collaboration with Gio Ponti started. Between ’46 and ’50, Ponti also designed the bottles Crinoline and Morandiane. 
In Milan, the brand signed a project for the Grand Hotel de Milan



Fulvio Bianconi and Paolo Venini designed groups of vases in Zanfirico. 
The famous Fazzoletto was born, an image in glass of a skirt moving in the wind. The design is by artist Fulvio Bianconi. 


1951 – 1960


VENINI’s fame continued to grow, so much so that more and more avant-garde designers and architects joined the brand for new collaborations: Eugene Barman, Ken Scott, Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressuti, Licata, Fornasetti, Tissot and Rogers. At the same time, the production of large-scale lighting installations in many cities in Italy and abroad continued. 


Historical exhibition at the XXVI Biennale in Venice: 
VENINI presented a review of its recent production and its new triple zanfirici. 
The brand’s presence escalated: in Munich at the Neue Sammlung Museum; in New York at Georg Jensen together with Orrefors; in Stockholm at the Nordiska Kompaniet; and in Toronto with a personal exhibition at Eeton. Personal exhibition at the Museé des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. 



Painter Riccardo Licata joined the Fornace and designed new murrina canes to be applied to vases, cups, and dishes. 
VENINI presented itself in various personal exhibitions in London at Liberty’s, at Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen, at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, and at Artek in Helsinki. 



Franco Albini designed a series of lamps with linear shapes and opalino glass. 
The collaboration with Massimo Vignelli began with the series of lamps 4000, which was awarded the Compasso d’oro at the Triennale di Milano. Piero Fornasetti and his creativity arrived in Venini. 
New great lighting projects for the Hotel Continental in Rome; the Olivetti Corporation of America on a design by the firm B.B.P.R., the Fulda theatre in Germany on a design by Ludovico Diaz de Santillana, and the roofing above the courtyard at Palazzo Grassi in Venice with ballotton spheres, called Velario. 



Massimo Vignelli was awarded the Compasso d’Oro at the XXVIII Biennale d’Arte in Venice for his Funghi, lamps in bands of tessuto (woven) glass. The same location exhibited Paolo Venini’s Incisi and Gio Ponti’s Morandiane bottles in two-coloured canes. 



VENINI produced the large multi-coloured glass windows for Architect Oscar Stonorov to complete the offices of UAW – United Automobile Workers – Building in Detroit. 
The XI Triennale in Milan brought a new Medaglia d’oro with the travelling exhibition organized by Jensen in Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center, at the Columbia Museum of Art, and in Long Beach at the Municipal Art Centre. 
New important lighting solutions for the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, for Palazzo Cartiere Burgo in Turin, and for the Casino at Lido di Venezia. 



The collaboration with Tobia Scarpa began. 
Paolo Venini and Ignazio Gardella invented the polyhedrons. These glassworks were presented as a large lighting installation with modular polyhedrons shaped like a cascade for the Turin EXPO in 1961. 1959 
Paolo Venini left the world of glass and our world. Ludovico Diaz de Santillana became responsible for the future manufacturing choices of the company as well as for the most important architecture lighting projects, holding the position until 1985. 



Paolo Venini left the world of glass and our world. Ludovico Diaz de Santillana became responsible for the future manufacturing choices of the company as well as for the most important architecture lighting projects, holding the position until 1985. 



During the XXX Biennale in Venice, VENINI presented the series Battuti by Tobia Scarpa and two glass windows in coloured strips of murrine glass. 
The modular drop-shaped glassworks were used for the first time in a lighting project according to a design by Vico Magistretti and Marco Zanuso for the Hotel Excelsior in Lido di Venezia. 
Thomas Stearns, a weaver from Philadelphia, arrived at the Fornace. The first of a long line of American collaborations. 


1961 – 1970


At the Turin Expo Italia ‘61, Carlo Scarpa created a large-scale lighting installation with modular polyhedrons in a free-fall composition, which became the symbol of Italian glassmaking art. 


The series Christofle by Massimo Vignelli was born. Glassworks etched by Venini and Christofle silver. VENINI created the lighting project for the Intercontinental Hotel in Frankfurt. 



The production of Toni Zuccheri’s Bestiario was launched, together with the glassworks Stracciati, Scolpiti, Crepuscoli, Giade and Grovigli, with the assistance of Master glassmaker Mario “Grasso”. 
The XXXII Biennale d’Arte in Venice hosted, among other objects, the first Bestiario, Toni Zuccheri’s Crepuscoli, and a glass window by Gio Ponti. Ponti and Toni Zuccheri designed the Vetrate Grosse, large blocks of coloured glass windows fixed inside iron frames, for churches and buildings. 
Tapio Wirkkala launched his collaboration with VENINI. 



Tronchi, Ninfee, Scolpiti, Bastoniby Toni Zuccheri and Tapio Wirkkala’s Gondolieri Coreani, Lapponi, Pianissimo, Bolle, Calici, Colletti became the stars of the XXXIII Biennale d’Arte in Venice and the XIV Triennale delle Arti Decorative in Milan. 
The Excelsior project in Lido di Venezia was created in collaboration with Lucio Fontana and Ignazio Gardella. 



VENINI designed the ceiling lighting project for the Terme Excelsior in Montecatini with multi-coloured glass cubes and also designed the lighting for the New Orleans Hospitality Room in New York. 



Richard Marquis came to VENINI to study glass: he would become one of the main exponents of the murrine glassmaking technique. 


1971 – 1980


Even now if you look at the ceiling in the hall of the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore, you can admire the extraordinary chandelier weighing 25 tons with transparent glass blocks assembled on a steel structure and transfixed by light and water. The project was designed by Don Ashton. 
VENINI created the lighting for the Swiss Credit Bank and the Wall Street Branch in New York. 


A terrible fire destroyed the VENINI offices in the month of October. Almost all samples and prototypes ended up in ashes. 
That same year, a new collaboration with two Swedish artists, Ove Thorssèn and Birgitta Karlsson, began. 



Dan Dailey joined the company to practice the art of glassmaking. The new lighting of The World Trade Center in NYC was created by VENINI, according to the design of architect Yamasaki. The lighting in the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh is just as magnificent. . 



New lights for the Schloss Theater in Fulda, Germany, with architect Weber, as well as for the foyer of the Moulin Rouge in Paris and the Al Hada Sheraton Hotel in Taif. 



VENINI created the lighting for the Royal Diwan in Taif and the Royal Palace in Damman, Saudi Arabia. 


1981 – 1990


TThe traveling exhibitions organized by the Smithsonian Institutions (SITES) began: the first opened in September at the Renwichk Gallery in Washington. 
In those same days, VENINI participated in the large exhibition on glass in Palazzo Grassi in Venice, “Murano Vetri Oggi”. 


Massimo Vignelli designed VENINI’s new graphic image. The exhibition “Smithsonian” opened at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Montreal. Laura de Santillana designed the vase Biro. VENINI created the lighting for the new TV headquarters in Riyadh and for the Hotel Pavillon in Miami. Halogen lamps were presented at Euroluce. 



The Casino de la Vallée a Saint Vincent, the Gulf International Bank (Bahrein) and the Al-Jhsaa Hotel (Hofuf Sj) lighted up with VENINI. 



Large lighting design project for the Royal Palace in Algar. Presentation of “Cielo” (Sky): Magistretti, Deganello, de Martini, within the framework of the research carried out with Francesco Binfarè. New lamps by Cini Boeri. 



VENINI was acquired by the families Gardini and Ferruzzi. In those years, the creation of new works went hand in hand with re-editions of iconic pieces that had reaped enormous success, also in numbered editions. Moreover, VENINI’s talent was solicited to light up prestigious buildings and locations worldwide. 



The beginning of projects with international artists and designers, including: Alessandro Mendini with Acco, Simira, Dor, Arado, Berito. With important refurbishing operations at the company headquarters in Murano. New lamps by Maria Cristina Cini Boeri, Bruno Gecchelin, Christian Spaltestein. 



The decade opened with the entry of new artists, architects and designers. 
Among these, the most unforgettable are Ettore Sottsass, Emanuel Babled, Gae Aulenti, Paolo Deganello, Vico Magistretti, Alessandro Mendini, Mario Bellini, Paolo Portoghesi, Cini Boeri, Bruno Gecchellin, Giorgio Vigna and Marco Zanini. Each of them left a mark in this company. 


1991 – 2000


VENINI lighted up the offices of the Bank of Italy in Rome, Milan, and Naples. The collection Galassia by Alessandro Mendini was presented at Euroluce together with the collection I sogni Infranti by Mario Bellini. 


After years of absence, VENINI came back to the Biennale in Venice with an important sculpture in glass and metal made by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu: Il Cavallo di Leonardo. As if to toast for the event, Alessandro Mendini’s glasswork Bicchieri (Glasses) was presented. 



The collaboration with Gae Aulenti began with the design of Torto e Ritorto and Geacolor. Rodolfo Dordoni created the vases Magi. 



To celebrate the 75th anniversary of VENINI’s activity, the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice hosted an exhibition that outlined the entire history of the company. 



Even fashion reached the halls of the Fornace: fashion designer Gianni Versace personally designed a collection for Venini, V.V.V. (Vetri Versace Venini). 



In January, the company Società Venini S.p.A. was acquired by the Royal Scandinavia group, which also owned other prestigious brands, such as:  Royal Copenhagen, Georg Jensen Orrefors – Kosta Boda, Boda Nova. 


2001 – 2010


The company was purchased by Italian Luxury Industries, the Italian group owned by entrepreneurs Giancarlo and Gabriella Chimento and Giuliano and Guglielmo Tabacchi. 
The new ownership embraced the ideal that has always fed the corporate identity: design skill, innovation, experimentation and research. 


The “Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain” presented the exhibition “Fragilisme di Alessandro Mendini”. The work chosen as the symbol of the event was the sculpture Guerrier de Verre, designed by Alessandro Mendini for VENINI and produced in a limited edition of 36 pieces. A work that was also produced in a version with gold and diamonds. 



In the next years, creations multiplied and involved new designers like the brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, who designed a large installation of glass bells exhibited at the Moss Gallery in New York. 



VENINI’s 85th anniversary coincided with Carlo Scarpa’s birth centenary. To celebrate, some past editions were relaunched in limited editions. On this occasion, Alessandro Mendini wrote a reflection on the value and meaning of VENINI in the world of art: this would then become the Manifesto of the company. 



The Museo Bagatti Valsecchi hosted the Rivivo fountain and floor lamps Fragments designed by the Campana brothers. VENINI participated in the 53rd International Art Exhibition, the Biennale di Venezia entitled “Fare Mondi” (Making Worlds), in the Venice Pavilion. Following the event, the company organized an important auction with Phillips de Pury. 



The company’s innovations were pushed to new limits in collaboration with some of the most important names in international design, such as Fabio Novembre, Luca Nichetto, Gaetano Pesce, Matteo Thun, Atelier Oï, Studio Job, Emmanuel Babled, Harri Koskinen, Diego Chilò, Ronan and Erwan Bourroulec, and Leonardo Ranucci. 
Among them, Tadao Ando stands out with the famous collection Ando. 


2011 – 2020


Venini celebrated its 90th anniversary with a traveling exhibition project that stopped in several cities around the world: Venice, Milan, Shanghai and New York. In the meantime, the Glass Museum organized an exhibition dedicated to the event. 
The company made its Historical Archive available for a project of annual exhibitions organized by the Giorgio Cini Foundation and by the Pentagram Foundation, at Le stanze del Vetro. In September, the first exhibition was inaugurated. It was entitled  “Carlo Scarpa. Venini 1932-1947”. 


Christie’s sold Carlo Scarpa’s black and red vase Laccati from 1940 at auction for €241,000. 
Launch of the ten-year long project of VENINI exhibitions at Le Stanze Del Vetro in Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. 



The Metropolitan Museum in New York exhibited “Carlo Scarpa. Venini 1932-1947”. Emanuel Babled presented his collection Osmosi at Palazzo Franchetti in Venice 



Bulgari presented “Opera Unica” in Abu Dhabi: the bottle was created by the master glassmakers in VENINI’s furnace. 



VENINI contributed to the realization of the Ravenna Festival. On the occasion of the last concert directed by Riccardo Muti, the work designed by Alessandro Mendini, Falstaff, was created and given to the Maestro. 
The new hotel La Gare in Milan lit up with new lights. 
In the same year, VENINI created a large installation with polyhedrons for a private villa in Poland. 



The Damiani family announced the acquisition of the majority of shares in VENINI S.p.A. 
The new lighting of the famous Adlon Kepinski Hotel in Berlin was signed by VENINI. 



Peter Marino, a rebel designer of international fame, visited VENINI and autographed one of his pieces in the new collection Black Belt. 



On May 23rd, in Chicago, the auction house Wright Auction broke the auction record in Murano glassmaking art with La sentinella di Venezia by Thomas Stearns from 1962, sold at $737,000. 



A heartfelt goodbye to Alessandro Mendini, soul of VENINI since 1988. 
To mark the moment, Milan asked for permission to use Angelo Guerriero‘s image for that year’s poster of the Salone del Mobile. During the fair, VENINI presented the new collection of table lamps designed by Hani Rashid and Emmanuel Babled’s Paladini. 
Carlo Cracco chose VENINI for his new bistrot in Milan. In addition, VENINI delivered several other important custom-made projects. 


2021 – OGGI


In 2021, Venini celebrated its centenary by launching a limited edition of one of its most iconic works, the Veronese vase, and presenting three new colors that were added to Venini's rich color palette: Powder Pink, Rio Green, and Ox Blood Red paired with gold leaf. 


The brand opened its stores in Venice, in Piazzetta Leoncini, and in Paris.The first series designed by Vittorio Zecchin was presented at the Salon d’Automne and at the XIII Biennale in Venice with a chandelier placed in the vestibule of the Central Pavilion. The collection was also exhibited at the Trade Fair in Milan. 



VENINI received the Grande Medaglia d’oro “L’Esposizione Internazionale delle Arti Decorative” in Monza, which was to become the Triennale of Milan. The shapes and colours of the glass pieces exhibited on this occasion marked a breaking point and a revolution for the world of glassmaking. The brand opened its store in via Montenapoleone in Milan. 


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