It's always worth looking up when you walk into one of our Houses; chances are you'll see a glittering chandelier, or several of them stretching away, illuminating the space with a little old Hollywood lustre. Some are vintage finds - Art Deco or Mid Century treasures unearthed by our design team and given a new lease of life - but many are new, handcrafted by skilled glassmakers from Murano glass in a Venetian furnace.

Favoured by popes, rock stars and royalty, Murano glass is widely regarded as the finest in the world because of its ability to take on infinite shapes and colours without losing its shine or fineness. Nothing much has changed in the 1500 years since the industry was first developed on Venice’s islands. Master glassmakers still use the same, centuries-old glass-making techniques, tools and raw materials to create this uniquely beautiful, handcrafted product.

Whether its setting is a converted warehouse like DUMBO House or the 1920s grandeur of Soho House Berlin, there’s something about the quality of the light, softly refracted through hand-blown and shaped sections of glass, that brings more than just illumination to a room. A chandelier adds character and warmth and is a thing of beauty, whether it’s lit or not. Here's how ours are made.

Preparation

The artisans in the glass furnace work according to their position in the heirarchy. 'Serventi' and 'Serventini' prepare the materials, sand and dust, and the oven. They start by preparing the molten glass paste at a temperature of 1500° C and select the colouring powders. This is a key moment where nothing can be left to chance. The master directs the work and perform the most difficult tasks as well as approving the finished product.

Blowing

The required amount of glowing glass paste (called ‘bolo’, i.e. glob) is picked from the glass pot using a special tool called a blowpipe or canna da soffio. This tool and the others used in the process have changed very little over the centuries. The craftsman starts shaping the glass paste with rapid movements of the hands while blowing into the blowpipe, creating voluminous surfaces.

Moulding

It's time to mould. An assistant passes pliers and scissors to the glass master. Finishing touches are added by hand, alternating with cuts and adjustments, modelling the glowing mass into the desired shapes. During this process, the glass paste gradually cools and solidifies, so to be able to continue modelling it, it needs to be heated in the furnace every now and then. The still warm chandelier is left to rest in the ‘tempera’ (quenching oven), until its temperature has fallen, which can take from three hours to an entire day. Then it is ready for grinding. In this last step, the craftsmen polish and finish the surfaces.

Future Classics

Featuring an Art Deco style inspired by Murano shapes of the 1930s and 1940s, our Lena and Juliana chandeliers hang in the restaurant and club spaces at DUMBO House. Meanwhile, on the eighth floor at Soho House Berlin, the Belforter is inspired by the famous collection of chandeliers that was created for the 1942 World’s Fair in Rome but never realised due to WWII. Their designs play on the repetition of sparkling glass elements to create distinctive lighting effects.

DUMBO House

Look out for our Murano glass chandeliers throughout the club spaces and restaurant at DUMBO House in Brooklyn.