The timeless beauty of Murano glass comes through in the distinctive Murano countertop washbasin collection from BAGNODESIGN. Handmade in Italy by master craftsmen, every single Murano basin is a testament to the exceptional skills of the glassmakers of the historic city of Murano in Italy, renowned for over 700 years as a centre of expertise for the production of handblown artisanal glass objects of exceptional beauty.

With three styles to choose from – the Murano Shell Countertop Wash Basin, the Murano Round Countertop Wash Basin, and the Murano Round Shallow Countertop Wash Basin – all available in a selection of standout finishes, the collection introduces an element of tactile luxury that serves to elevate a wide range of design aesthetics. Being handcrafted by artisans, no single piece is the same. Each basin features an intriguing variance in pattern, form, and texture to bring an elevated artistic element to the bathroom or washroom.

The History of Murano Glass

Venetian glassmaking dates back around 1,500 years to the Roman Empire when Byzantine and Oriental traders passed on their skills to the city’s inhabitants as they made their way along the famed Silk Road, with some remaining in the locale to work and create.

Over the ensuing decades, Venice’s location at the crossroads of trade between East and West meant that the city was ideally positioned to dominate the European glass trade. While Venetian glass was widely exported, the products were the domain of the very wealthy, viewed as valuable art commodities and indicative of the owners’ high status.

By the eighth century, Venice was a leading location for glass manufacturing, and by the end of the 13th century, the city’s primary industry was glassmaking, governed by the Glassmakers Guild. To protect local trade, the Glassmakers Guild banned imported glass, and only local glassworkers could be legally employed. In 1291, glass manufacturing was relocated to the nearby city of Murano to reduce the risk of fire in overpopulated Venice which, at the time, mainly consisted of wooden buildings, posing a significant fire risk as the number of glassmaking furnaces in the city increased. The Murano glassmakers were prohibited from leaving their cluster of tiny islands, ensuring that the techniques handed down through generations remained a closely guarded secret. By the 15th century, innovation had burgeoned, leading to the emergence of various glassmaking techniques such as the transparent ‘cristallo’ and ‘lattimo’, a milky glass resembling porcelain. Murano also became renowned as Europe’s leading centre for clear glass, mirrors, ornate chandeliers, beads, and gemstones.

Napoleon’s conquest of Venice in 1797 led to the abolishment of all of Venice’s guilds, including the Glassmakers. Murano’s dominance ended in 1814 when Venice became part of the Habsburg Empire. The Habsburg rulers moved to protect the Bohemian glass trade by implementing laws that made importing raw materials to Murano and exports of finished products prohibitively expensive. By 1820, only five of the 24 furnaces in Murano remained.

Over the following century, the industry slowly started to recover as Murano’s glass artisans began to restore old Venetian mosaics, including those at the famed St. Mark’s Basilica. By the start of the 19th century, Murano rose to prominence once more, with its glassmakers once again highly revered and the quality of Murano glass recognised once more.

In 1994, Murano glass introduced certification to preserve the integrity of the product, honour the traditional techniques of master glassmakers, and assure buyers of the authenticity of each product. Today, Murano glass remains the benchmark for glassmaking expertise, innovation, and outstanding beauty.