Designer of the day: Dana Arbib – SURFACE

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Here we ask designers to take a selfie and give us a glimpse into their lives.

Occupation: Designer.

instagram: @dana.yolanda.arbib

Hometown: Too much to say.

Studio location: New York City.

Describe what you make: I design sculptural glass vessels that are produced in Murano, Venice. The shapes are inspired by ancient North African vessels, nodding to my Libyan heritage. The colors reflect the mystical Venetian lagoon, attributing to my Italian lineage.

I started creating these objects in 2020 in Venice. I spent months in Murano learning glassblowing from the maestros themselves. It was during Covid, and I was there when the town was completely barren and the lagoon was crystal clear. It was meaningful to work with artisans who had been hit so hard by the pandemic.

The most important thing you’ve designed so far: The first glass vase that I designed and made was called Mille Bolle. It is a beautiful shimmering aqua green color that shimmers like the Venetian lagoon. It captures the aura of an ancient ship but is updated as a modern design object.

Describe the problem your work solves: From a pragmatic point of view, I design useful containers that bring ancient craftsmanship into people’s homes. Emotionally, I connect different cultures that reflect my family’s personal stories. I want these pieces to be passed down from generation to generation, to be keepsakes, collectibles that feel relevant and personally meaningful. I want to create a work that paints the canvas of my personal heritage.

Describe the project you are currently working on: Tiwa Select invited me to create works that refer to my ancestry (and the pieces made historically in these places), as well as my time in Murano learning to work with glass. The show is called Vetro Alga, which literally means “glass of algae” – a collection of large-scale vessels inspired by the forms of flora found in the Venetian lagoon. We exhibit the pieces at the Michael Bargo Gallery; Michael has been a long time supporter of my work and it’s amazing how the pieces fit into the beautiful space he has created over the years. Overall, this show is a gathering of craftsmanship, heritage, color and fantasy.

A new or upcoming project we should know about: After this show… who knows! I am delighted to explore illuminated glass objects. I want to play with the materiality of blown glass, maybe add new craft mediums to the next project and see what happens! I love collaborating with artisans around the world to celebrate slow production. I thrive on studying and refining these skills and techniques, placing them in historical contexts, and using them to illustrate my language.

What you absolutely must have in your studio: A measuring tape.

What you do when you’re not working: Dream.

Sources of creative desire: Josef Hoffmann, Les Lalanne, Egidio Costantini.

The distraction you want to eliminate: My inner voice.

Concrete or marble? Marble toilets over concrete ones.

High-rise building or townhouse? A townhouse with 123 floors.

Remember or forget? Never forget.

Aliens or ghosts? OutKast on Kudi.

Dark or light? Gradients.

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