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Carlo Scarpa

Italian, 1906-1978

Carlo Scarpa was born in Venice in 1906 and became one of the leading figures of architecture and international design during the 20th century. At merely 21 years old — and still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts — Scarpa began working as a designer for master Murano glassmaker M.V.M. Cappellin. Within a few years, he completely revolutionized the approach to art glass. 

In a short time, under the guidance of Scarpa, the Capellin furnace not only established itself as the top glass company, but above all it introduced modernity and international fame to Murano glassmaking. Scarpa created a personal style of glassmaking, a new vision that irreversibly changed glass production. 

The young Scarpa experimented with new models and colors: his chromatic combinations, impeccable execution and geometric shapes became his modus operandi. Thanks to Scarpa’s continuous research on vitreous matter, Cappellin produced a series of high-quality glass objects, that saw the company revisiting ancient processing techniques such as the watermark and Phoenician decoration. 

When he encountered the challenge of opaque glass, Scarpa proposed introducing textures of considerable chromatic impact, such as glass pastes and glazed glass with bright colors. Scarpa also collaborated in the renovation of Palazzo da Mula in Murano, the home of Cappellin. At the academy, he obtained the diploma of professor of architectural design and obtained an honorary degree from the Venice University Institute of Architecture of which he was director. 

In 1931, Scarpa's collaboration with Cappellin ended, following the bankruptcy of the company because it was not able to withstand the economic crisis linked to the Great Depression. But Scarpa did not go unnoticed by Paolo Venini — in 1933, the young designer became the new artistic director of the biggest glass company in Murano. 

Master glassmakers thought Scarpa's projects and sketches were impossible, but the passionate and curious designer always managed to get exactly what he wanted. Until 1947 he remained at the helm of Venini & Co., where he created some of the best known masterpieces of modern glassmaking. Scarpa’s work with Venini was characterized by the continuous research on the subject, the use of color and techniques that he revisited in a very personal way, and the development of new ways of working with master glassmakers. 

At the beginning of the 1930s, "bubble", "half filigree" and "submerged" glass appeared for the first time on the occasion of the Venice Biennale of 1934. A few years later, at the Biennale and the VI Triennale of Milan, Venini exhibited its lattimi and murrine romane pieces, which were born from a joint idea between Scarpa and Paolo Venini. 

In 1938 Scarpa increased production, diversifying the vases from "objects of use" to sculptural works of art. In the same year he laid the foundation for the famous "woven" glass collection, exhibited the following year. In the subsequent years, Scarpa–Venini continued to exhibit at the Biennale and in various other shows their the "black and red lacquers," the granulari and the incisi, produced in limited series, and the "Chinese," which was inspired by Asian porcelain

Scarpa's creations for Venini garnered an international response and were a great success, leaving forever an indelible mark on the history of glassmaking. The last Biennale in which Carlo Scarpa participated as artistic director of Venini was in 1942. He left the company five years later. 

The time that Scarpa spent in the most important glass factory in Murano would attach a great artistic legacy to the company. His techniques and styles were resumed in the postwar period under the guidance of Tobia Venini, Paolo's son. In the 1950s, after the departure of Scarpa, Fulvio Bianconi was the new visionary at the Biennials with Venini.

On 1stDibs, vintage Carlo Scarpa glass and lighting are for sale, including decorative objects, tables, chandeliers and more.

(Biography provided by Ophir Gallery Inc.)

Average Sold Price
$6,268
Styles
Materials
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Carlo Scarpa & Hiroyuki Toyoda Table with René Herbst Sandows Dining Chairs
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More Carlo Scarpa Designs
Carlo Scarpa Poliedri Lights
Carlo Scarpa Poliedri Lights
Average Price
$14,831
Number Available
35
Carlo Scarpa Poliedri Lights
By Carlo Scarpa
Materials
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Styles
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Carlo Scarpa furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Carlo Scarpa furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of glass and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Carlo Scarpa furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 192 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 45 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Carlo Scarpa were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Paolo Venini, Flavio Poli, and Alfredo Barbini. Prices for Carlo Scarpa furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $333 and can go as high as $63,453, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $8,791.
Questions About Carlo Scarpa
  • 1stDibs ExpertJune 6, 2024
    Yes, Tobia Scarpa is related to Carlo Scarpa. A well-known architect and designer in his own right, Tobia is the son of the legendary architect Carlo Scarpa. Tobia studied architecture at the Università Iuav di Venezia in Venice, where he met designer Afra Bianchin, who would become his wife and long-time collaborator. On 1stDibs, shop a collection of Tobia Scarpa furniture.

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