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Sleeping Glass Beauty: Sigrid de Montrond gives new life to antique Murano chandeliers

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.


Like a costume designer designing and fitting a ball gown, the artist plays with the proportions, shapes and colors of the future luminaire.


“With glass, there’s no room for error. A piece breaks quickly. My gestures have to be precise. I respect each piece in my hands. Each one has such majesty!”


The designer spends her day in a glass bubble of solitude… far from the hustle and bustle of Piazza San Marco. To her great delight!


Baroque lamps, candleholders and candlesticks



And the light was on! Imposing candleholders, both noble and delicate, on display at Atelier Visconti © Corine Moriou


Sigrid loves objets d’art that have a function and, at the same time, can decorate a piece of furniture. Her passion has given birth to lamps, candleholders and candlesticks that are at once delicate, noble and powerful. She also offers a few rare pieces of jewelry. But also curtain tiebacks in antique Murano glass. Never seen before!


It’s all the rage nowadays to recycle what’s already out there: clothes, cars, telephones, objects… This is why Sigrid de Montrond, who works with top-of-the-range salvaged materials, appears to be a “trendy” artist, in tune with the tastes of her time. This has not escaped the notice of her clientele.


In her own gallery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Atelier Visconti, named after the eponymous street, Sigrid will be exhibiting her baroque-accented works until the end of May 2024.


Already, lamps and candlesticks, some of them monumental, have been sent to the homes of prestigious collectors, classical music lovers and media stars… These objects seem happy to have regained their letters of nobility in new settings worthy of receiving them.


“I have been commissioned to furnish grand residences, châteaux, Parisian apartments, banks…” confides the artist-decorator.


Sigrid de Montrond wears one of her creations, a highly original Murano glass necklace. DR


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Hasn’t Sigrid created a bridge between Paris and Venice, her two beloved cities?


On the occasion of the 60th Venice Biennale, “forêt” by “French doctor” Vincent Lajarige, is exhibited at the Palazzo di Sigrid e Xavier de Montrond.


“I lead a double life between Paris and Venice. I like to encourage artistic exchanges. I have to bring this 500-square-meter palace to life by organizing exhibitions and events, particularly during the Venice Biennale and Mostra. I invite Venetian artists to exhibit in the Paris gallery, and I invite French artists to present their creations in the Palazzo Bragadin. Everyone’s delighted!


Vernissage on April 20 for the “happy few” in Venice.


Atelier Visconti

“Sigrid in Venice

Luce di Murano Collection

Until May 31, 2024

4, rue Visconti

75006 Paris

Tel: + 33 (0)6 11 16 98 89

Palazzo Bragadin

Forest” exhibition by Vincent Lajarige

April 16 to September 10, 2024

6480 Calle del Cafetier

Castello Venezia

Tel: + 33 (0)6 11 16 98 89


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