Friday, July 31, 2009

Mona Morales-Schildt and the Ventana Glass Range

Mona Morales-Schildt was initially trained at the Stockholm College of Art, Craft and Design. In 1935 she joined the Gustavsberg company as an assistant to the designer Wilhelm Kage. In 1938 she moved to the Finnish ceramics company Arabia, where she stayed until the start of the Second World War.

In 1958 she joined the Kosta company where her most popular work was produced. When she joined the company she was one of only two female designers, the other being Tyra Lundgren.

Her work for Kosta proved very successful and she produced a number of different styles and ranges during her stay with the company which ended in 1971 when she left. However, it was with her Ventana range of glassware, two examples of which are shown here, that was to give her a lasting legacy as one of the major Swedish, and therefore Scandinavian, glass designers of the second half of the twentieth century.

Ventana, which translates as window in Italian was a system of enclosing colour within heavy set glass. It was said to be inspired by the glass artist Paolo Venini when Morales-Schildt worked at the Venini company before she started at Kosta. The Ventana range was first produced in 1959 and was popular throughout the 1960s in a number of different guises.

The pieces are elegant and sophisticated, but altogether restrained and self-contained, very much in the tradition of twentieth century Scandinavian glass design. The effect that Morales-Schildt affected with her Ventana range, is something that was to become widely copied and imitated throughout the 1970s and 1980s. That Morales-Schildt was able to preempt the interest in sophisticated and restrained glass design work, which often bordered on glass sculpture rather than functional glass work, shows us that she was indeed as sophisticated and elegant as her widely praised design work.

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