05 / 19

Blowing at MIT, where science and art collide

Lino blowing in the Glass Lab of MIT - Photo credit: Lino Tagliapietra Inc

“The glass lab is small, tucked into a small room in the basement of MIT campus. Fortunately, Lino finds this quaintness charming, (“like the old way”). While the tools in the Glass Lab are all traditional, the surrounding science and technology of MIT has started to creep into its influences.”[1]


A beautiful city, Boston, is the scenario that Lino is exploring these days: Newbury Street, downtown, where the exhibition “A Golden Age of Glass” is on view through May 22nd, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, where Lino is blowing in the Glass Lab on the campus until May 20th.

MIT, with its focus on educating students in science, technology, and engineering and its focus on laboratory instruction, is the perfect setting to explore new frontiers and open new doors into the potentials of glass art. Here the Maestro and his team along with engineers and scientists can share their knowledge and backgrounds in order to combine computational and geometric techniques with the alchemy of the melting glass.

This is not the first time Tagliapietra visited the university: Lino’s first time at MIT was in October 2009 when he gave a public lecture about his work and career; then in 2010, he spent a week blowing in the laboratory of the university. Since then the Maestro has had the opportunity to blow at least 4 more times: the goals of Lino’s residencies have always been the quest for new solutions for the glass art and a mutual learning from the artist and the MIT team. During Lino’s second visit, he was asked if it would have been possible to design new canes; the positive and optimistic answer of the Maestro encouraged the MIT team to create new shapes. Both the scientists and glassblowers immediately worked on the project in order to discover and create new versions of canes and they came up with about 24 creations to show the Maestro who chose those designs he wanted to make. The result was incredible and gave Lino the chance to create something different and engaging in a beautiful environment.


Photo credit: Lino Tagliapietra Inc

Every visit of the Maestro has been an opportunity to broaden the progress of the glass world and convert virtual design into reality. In this small but cutting-edge laboratory, Lino has always shared his love and mastery for the glass art and demonstrated the beauty behind it. Everyone was delighted by his ability and knowledge, by the way he pulled the canes, chose the murrini, and transformed the blown glass into sublime works; at the same time, Lino was amazed by the freedom and lack of constraints that surrounded the American context and by the effort involved to create and elaborate new solutions for the material. This mutual collaboration has always been a great success, an occasion to integrate glassblowing with science, and push it towards new limits.

Lino is back in Cambridge this week to blow glass in the laboratory of the famous institution. His residency is once again another chance to come up with avant-garde and extraordinary solutions and to combine traditional with modern techniques, science with art. Lino will be blowing May 16-20 and it is possible to watch him live from the MIT website.


If you want to learn more about Lino’s lecture at MIT in 2009, we invite you to check these two videos presented by Schantz Galleries. 




[1] “Lino Tagliapietra. Dalle mani del Maestro”, Schantz Galleries publication, 2011, p.14