[Luxus Magazine] Sleeping Glass Beauty: Sigrid de Montrond gives new life to antique Murano chandeliers

From Paris to Venice, the designer gives a new lease of life to lighting fixtures abandoned by glassmakers. An intimate encounter in her gallery, L’Atelier Visconti, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.


And the light was on! How blind did you have to be to leave some of Murano’s antique pieces to rot? In most cases, these are superb chandeliers, broken or dismantled, that have been stored in glassmakers’ warehouses on the famous island near Venice.


“The dust bears witness to the fact that they have been resting for over thirty years. I wanted to recover these sleeping pieces and give them a new life”, explains designer Sigrid de Montrond… who, like in a fairy tale, transforms herself into Sleeping Glass Beauty.


But why did this Parisian, who first worked as a costume designer, then as a decorator, “fall in love” with these antiques that no one else was interested in?


It’s a long story… Sigrid de Montrond discovered the city of the Doges in 1988, during the Venice Carnival, when she was designing costumes and evening wear. It was love at first sight!


So much so, in fact, that Venice became her second home, alongside Paris. In 2003, the decorator acquired the Palazzo Bragadin with her architect husband, Xavier de Montrond. They have joined forces to restore and magnify this 15th-century palace, close to the Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo.


“A Venetian by adoption, I couldn’t miss Murano, the island of wonders that is part of the art of Venetian glass. Through the Italian artist Maria Grazia Rosin, whom I admire for her work with glass, I was introduced to a glassmaker who let me dive into his stock of splendid antique pieces two years ago.”


After a life of splendor in the Palaces of Venice, sumptuous chandeliers were forgotten, downgraded and relegated to the island of Murano. It took Sigrid’s inventiveness, audacity and good networks to unearth and select these antique pieces. These were taken from lighting fixtures, the most antique of which date back to the 18th century.


With glass, there’s no room for error

“I discovered color pigments that no longer exist today, because the master glassmakers who created them have passed away. The subtlety of the shapes, the skill and the Fontainebleau sand used at the time make these pieces exceptional,” notes the artist with a touch of nostalgia.


Sad times. Many stores selling Murano glass have been invaded by fakes from China and Eastern Europe! You have to have a good eye (and ask questions about the origin, the artist, his signature…) to buy Murano that has been genuinely worked by today’s Italian glassmakers.


Sigrid, on the other hand, lives in the world of yesteryear. She has access to the workshops of master glassmakers on the island of Murano, whose names she will not reveal. An artist’s secret. Untiringly, early in the morning until late at night, she reassembles singular pieces to create objects of curiosity.


Click here to read the entire article on Luxus Magazine


Featured Photo: Sigrid de Montrond with her Murano glass lamps in her gallery, L’Atelier Visconti, Paris 6ème © Corine Moriou

Picture of Corine Moriou
Corine Moriou
Corine Moriou was a senior reporter for the L'Express group for 15 years. Today, she works as a freelance journalist. Her favorite subjects are society, culture, travel and well-being. Never blasé, always ready!

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