Emmanuel Babled, 2019
(…) From the surface of this fluid and transparent shapes,
emerge large stains of opaque matter.
They seem to draw the line between rocks and water
like continent and ocean.
They could be biosphere where space and opacity,
fluidity and mass, gravity and transparency
are tightened by the basalt, opaque and impenetrable.
The plasticity of the material
and the serendipity of the movement
create the phenomena.”
The very first Azoici vase, even before the project had a name, is dated the 23rd of May 2019.
As the hot process of glassmaking requires “real-time” production, every piece comes to life and is completed on the same day, and the date of production becomes intrinsic to the vase’s character. The base of each piece, is engraved by Emmanuel Babled with the date it was made and his signature, reinforcing and eternalising their identity.
Each Azoici vase is handblown by Primo Maestro Andrea Zilio and his team of glass masters in Vetreria Anfora, a unique furnace located on the island of Murano in Venice.
Emmanuel has been collaborating with Anfora since 1995, and this collaboration continues to flourish. It is essential that the master and the designer are able to communicate with one another - on almost a telepathic level - to ensure they are envisaging the same final piece, as everything happens very fast during the hot production process. Each piece requires rapid and precise gestures from the master, in perfect synchronization with their team and the designer.
This harmony is noticeably present between Maestro Andrea, his team and Emmanuel, thanks to the amount of time they have been working together.
The Azoici glass pieces represent the alchemy behind the glassmaking process in Murano. The glassmakers are at the root of everything that the process requires: from melting sand to producing glass colours, to the cold workshop process after the piece crystalizes.
Their tacit knowledge every detail of the production into action, as they take control of an alive and sensitive material, that can respond negatively to a miscalculated gesture. Glassmaking is a challenging profession, as it demands full mental concentration, while being exposed to very high temperatures and having to finish the pieces in one go.
Sometimes, you will arrive to the furnace on the day after a production, only to find that the vase you were the most eager about got broken during the night. But the passion towards the traditional craft overlaps the disappointments and the mistakes, giving way to an enormous desire to do better next time.
We recorded the first-person testimony of our Maestro, who openly spoke about the joys and the challenges of glassmaking, the role of the artisan nowadays and his hopes for the future of craftsmanship.
Each piece of the Azoici collection is one-of-a-kind and irreproducible, showing what it means to design fluid masses in motion. Their complementarity is reinforced by their diversity in a definitive balance, while they remain the cradle of a possible life.