Paola Petrobelli, 24.2.2. Table Lamp, 2013. Moulded glass, powder coated metal, electrical wiring, braided flex. H 27 1/2, W 17 3/5 in. Edition of 24 plus 2 artist’s proofs. photo: Paola Petrobelli courtesy: Gallery Libby Sellers
Paola Petrobelli, a glass designer who frequently collaborates with glassmakers in Murano, was inspired by toy building blocks for her new series of retro, stackable glass lighting. Now on view through June 13th at Gallery Libby Sellers in London, “24 by Paola Petrobelli” features vibrant, playful works made in Petrobelli’s native Italy; the components of each piece can be rearranged to form 24 different combinations.“Just like the [toy] Meccano bricks, each glass layer of the lamp—be it a floor-based or ceiling pendant lamp—can be reordered and swapped,” explains Petrobelli on her website.
Paola Petrobelli, 24.2.1. Table Lamp, 2013. Molded glass, powder coated metal, electrical wiring, braided flex. H 27 1/2, W 17 3/5 in. Edition of 24 plus 2 artist’s proofs. photo: Paola Petrobelli courtesy: Gallery Libby Sellers
Commissioned by Gallery Libby Sellers, the pieces evoke the basic shape of lanterns while their bright hues connote a retro, 1960s feel similar to plastics like Bakelite. An even stronger connection can be drawn to the simplicity and functionality so characteristic of modern and contemporary Scandinavian design. Her work shares a kinship with that of designers like Kaj Franck, who espoused clean, simple design “so obvious you won’t even notice [it],” or companies like Holmegaard, makers of bold, brightly colored glassware in the 1960s now popular with collectors.
Petrobelli, who began working with glass in 1999, has an usual background for a glass designer. Born in Padua, she studied molecular biology, conducted medical research, and competed as a successful motor racer before turning to glass. Her work has been shown at various art fairs and galleries like Design Miami/Basel, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, and Perimeter Art & Design.
IF YOU GO:
“24 by Paola Petrobelli”
through June 14, 2013
Gallery Libby Sellers
41-42 Berners Street
London WlT 3NB
Tel: +44 (0)20 3384 8785