Fulvio Bianconi

Padova 1915 — Milan 1996

One of the best Italian graphic artists and designers of the post-war period, Fulvio Bianconi displayed an amazing talent for drawing that could not but influence his glasswork. The skilfulness of his colour contrasts, the transparencies between his opaque tesserae, and the use of chromatic effects give the impression that his vases were really evocative canvases of brushstroke.

He studied at the Carmini School of Art in Venice and worked at the side of Michele Pinto as an apprentice decorator. He began working in Northern Italy and in Istria, decorating churches and doing portraits. In 1933, he became a graphic designer at Mondadori and other publishers. He served in the Second World War, and was stationed France, Milan, and Rome.

In 1947, the perfume producer Gi.Vi.Emme asked Bianconi to design new bottles for its products. Thus began his love for glass, a discovery he made while working at the Venini furnace in Murano. Long collaboration with Paolo Venini resulted in the creation of the brand’s iconic pieces: the Fazzoletti (1948), the Figure della Commedia dell’Arte figurines (exhibited in 1948 at the Venice Biennale), the Tiepolo, Sirene, and Pezzati series of glass, the A macchie (large spots) series, and the Forati and Scozzesi series. A tireless experimenter with new and old glassworking techniques, he loved to work alongside the furnace masters. His fanciful production and vivid colours expressed all the 1950s’ joy of living and helped make Venetian glass successful also at international level.

After moving to Milan, he worked as graphic designer for companies like FIAT, Marzotto, Pirelli, RAI, HMV and Italy’s leading publishers. His career continued as the art director at Garzanti from 1950 al 1975. His relationship with Venini ended in 1957 in the wake of a dispute over the authorship of certain of his works, prompting him to personally attend to the creation and distribution of glassware for numerous other glassmakers in Murano.