Casarialto, excellence “made in Italy”
Art / Precision
Founded by Catherine Urban, Casarialto works with top Italian artisans, including the famous Murano master glassmakers. This precious savoir-faire is highlighted in the House’s Steam Dream collection of travel items created with Orient Express.
A trip to Venice
It was an affair of the heart that convinced Catherine Urban to leave Paris and explore Italy. After working for a long time with the luxury houses Chanel and Louis Vuitton, she took her passion for glassware and the creation of objects of art first to Milan before moving to Treviso, on the shores of the Adriatic, 18 kilometers from Venice. It was there that she launched Casarialto. The House is a dedication to all things made by hand and in Italy. It is a tribute to glassworks from Venice, the city she loved, to the San Polo district with its market and the famous Rialto bridge, and to the magical craftsmanship of the Murano master glassmakers.
“When I arrived in the Venice region, I immediately began looking for workshops to start producing glass,” the founder of Casarialto explains, adding: “I met these unique artisans, who have a savoir-faire that goes back more than a hundred years and whose talents have been passed on from father to son across the generations.” The company’s existence can be traced back to the time of the Phoenicians, the first people to master the glasswork technique that became a source of pride for Venice during the 13th century. Originally settled on the island of Murano (to avoid the risk of Venice burning down in case of a foundry fire), the craftsmen, who became very influential in the Venetian Republic, enjoyed resounding success throughout the Italian Renaissance. Using their techniques including crystals, enamel, gold ornaments and ‘retortoli’ style glass filigree in addition to their mastery of colors, the great glass families created splendid multicolored glass works of art that were exported throughout the world. It was an art that, in the middle of the 20th century, finally extended to the talents of the great designers and contemporary artists, whose spirit and modernity helped renew the genre. “It is a relationship that has been built over the long term that allows us to imagine high quality tableware with a unique and innovative style today,” Catherine Urban explains.
To truly understand the excellence of the Murano master glassmakers’ skills, one must travel to the Veneto district of Venice where the glass workshops are concentrated today, “a location that is more convenient to access than the shores of the island of Murano, where the master glassmakers have been practicing for 30 or 40 years.” Giovanni’s workshops produce Casarialto glass and lamp collections that are, according to Catherine Urban, “pieces that are particularly unique with slight
imperfections that reflect the craftsmanship and quality of workmanship, which we offer as part of our collections and exclusive collaborations with various decorating houses around the world, and great gourmet restaurants such as Lapérouse, Maison Russe and the restaurant La Case at the Cheval Blanc Saint Barth.” The latest collaboration is a collection of travel objects called Steam Dream alongside Orient Express, “a brand that perfectly aligns with my roots and my experience in the world of luxury,” explains the founder of Casarialto, adding that it is “A natural association and a real consecration for a young company like ours.”
Reminiscent of the ambiance of its restaurant and bar cars, Orient Express and Casarialto’s unique glassware celebrates elegant taste and the French art of living. According to Catherine Urban, “It was a real challenge and a mission we wanted to make a reality, namely to make Art Deco speak for itself, an art movement so present in the world of Orient Express. We worked on new glass shapes, with hand-painted decoration, glass by glass. It took no less than 20 prototypes to arrive at the perfect graphic form for the designs and to find the right color. Once the glass was made by our master glassmakers – a borosilicate with superior glass quality, thicker and able to withstand high temperatures – each piece was then sent to a decorative painter in Venice, also located in the master glassmakers’ district.” It was a work only a goldsmith could do, carried out with a brush and non-toxic cold paint by the faithful Diego. First, the fine gold then the amber and midnight blue paint. And ending with the final touch: the Casarialto and Orient Express house signature made with an engraving tool on each glass.