Clever, quirky and beautifully crafted glassware from Portugal

The Glass Cares exhibition takes place at the London Design Fair on September 23-24

The work of 10 Portuguese creatives taught traditional glassblowing techniques on show at the London Design Fair
The work of 10 Portuguese creatives taught traditional glassblowing techniques on show at the London Design Fair

Ten of Portugal’s most exciting young designers will come together for a special glassware show at this year’s London Design Fair that will combine the country’s heritage craftsmanship with unbridled experimentation.  

Poliedro #56, €175, by Vitor Agostinho, is an off-centre and multifaceted vessel
Poliedro #56, €175, by Vitor Agostinho, is an off-centre and multifaceted vessel

The Glass Cares exhibition has its roots in a two-day workshop residency in Marinha Grande (a Portuguese region renowned for its glassmaking tradition), where Off Portugal pushed the 10 creatives outside their usual mediums by teaching them traditional glassblowing techniques, then encouraged them to let their imaginations run wild.

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The result is a collection of clever, quirky and beautifully crafted objects, some of which are more avant-garde glass sculpture than functional product. Cor (€275) by Joana Silva, for example, is a biomorphic blue and green object that explores the techniques of overlay glassblowing, while product designer Jorge Carreira’s soap bubble in a frame (Prisão, €325) demonstrates what happens when the natural glass expansion process is limited, in this case by a steel frame.

CMYK, €115, by O João e a Maria, is a carafe-and-glass set that plays with colour
CMYK, €115, by O João e a Maria, is a carafe-and-glass set that plays with colour

Others are more familiar-looking vessels that wear their experimentation lightly. Poliedro #56 (€175) is a vase, albeit an intriguingly off-centre and multifaceted one, resulting from Vitor Agostinho’s new approach to mould making, while O João e a Maria’s CMYK (€115) is a rather striking carafe-and-glass set that plays with colour (the shade of the bottle and glass change as they are separated).

Prisão, €325, by Jorge Carreira, features a soap bubble in a frame
Prisão, €325, by Jorge Carreira, features a soap bubble in a frame

Glass Cares can be seen as part of the Inspiring Portugal Showcase at the London Design Fair (September 21-24), but anyone unable to make it to Brick Lane can buy and commission the works at the Off Portugal website.

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