This work is part of the Keep Off the Glass series.
Statement from a representative at Thomas Heatherwick Studios: "The studio was invited to work with the artisan glass blowers of Murano, near Venice in Italy, to make pieces for an exhibition in London. Over a number of visits, we worked with the craftsmen in their workshop to develop our ideas.
As glass blowing is almost always associated with making vases, we wanted to see if we could make something else. What was the largest possible scale of glass blowing? Could blown glass be strong enough to support, not just water and flowers, but the weight of a human being? We became interested in the idea of making a chair from bubbles of blown glass, using these to make the seat, back and base.
We found that the size of a piece of blown glass is limited by the weight of glass that a glass blower can lift and by the dimensions of the door to the furnace that keeps the glass hot as the craftsmen work on it. We worked with the glass blowers to make separate pieces which were then bonded together with ultraviolet adhesive to make chairs. As part of the project, we also made a free-standing table-piece, a multiple cluster of blown bubble objects bonded together, which you can put things in, and a design for a side table.
Having started the project determined not to make a vase, we found that because our chair was made out of open-ended bubbles, the back was a perfect vessel for flowers and water, and that unwittingly we had made a vase anyway."
Signed by engraving, 'Thomas Heatherwick Studio', 'Salviati', and numbered 1/12, dated 2004.