The story of Unity is a story of the unification of cultures and craft. Thorpe has dedicated his life to use design as a means of communication, describing his ethos as relational design. The story of Unity for Venini is the story of Thorpe’s travels around the world, particularly Dakar, Senegal and Murano, Italy. Thorpe has worked in Italy for the past 20 years, collaborating with his friends and partners and through his collaboration and passion for design in Italy, it would lead him to explore the African continent. It was in West African country of Senegal that Thorpe discovered the beauty of African culture and craftsmanship. The concept to combine the time honored glass craft of Venini with the unique techniques and artisanal approach of weaving in Senegal would be symbolic of our shared humanity and pay tribute to the artisans and their respected countries. The Unity collection for Venini is a celebration of our shared humanity.

VENINI’s story is a journey of art, design and passion for glass creations. Research, experimentation and artisan wisdom translate into evading the traditional rules, opening up to the artistic avant-garde, mastering decorative techniques, thanks to the contribution of the island’s finest glass masters. Back in 1921, VENINI & C. built the foundations of the stylistic identity which still distinguishes it today. Great forerunner of contemporaneity, even in the early years of its innovation, the brand worked with artists, architects and designers from all over the world. Alongside original artistic production, new product categories emerge, such as the famous chandeliers, often destined for large public and private works.

VENINI arrived in the 21st century with a wealth of creative and production experience, making it the “go-to” brand for the most extraordinary handmade blown glass designs. Each creation has a story which makes it completely unique and “memorable”, this is the beauty of working with great interpreters of design. Artistic collaborations with a series of major names have played and will continue to play their part in refreshing and extending the existing range. Venini has worked with Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Massimo Vignelli, Gaetano Pesce, Toni Zuccheri, Tapio Wirkkala, Tobia Scarpa, Ettore Sottsass, Gae Aulenti, Alessandro Mendini, Timo Sarpaneva, Claudio Silvestrin, Mario Bellini, Emmanuel Babled, Giorgio Vigna, Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu, Rodolfo Dordoni, Mimmo Rotella, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Barber & Osgerby, Fabio Novembre, Tadao Ando, Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin, Atelier Oï, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Aldo Cibic and Luca Nichetto to name just a few.

Marc Thorpe

Marc Thorpe earned a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design from the University of Maryland, followed in 2004 by a Masters Degree in Architecture, with Honors, from Parsons School of Design in New York. Thorpe was awarded the 2003 Scholastic Award for Scholarly Pursuit by the American Institute of Architects and the American Architectural Foundation and received the Alpha Rho Chi medal for architectural leadership and professional excellence in 2004. In 2014, he was awarded the Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts.

In 2010, Thorpe established New York-based Marc Thorpe Design, as an architectural and design studio. He has worked extensively in Europe, Asia and the US as an architect and designer, and continues to collaborate on projects with a wide range of partners. He has taught in the Architecture Department at Parsons School of Design and the Industrial Design Department of Pratt Institute in New York City.

Thorpe has been published internationally in design journals and texts including Wallpaper*, International Design (ID), Viewpoint, Mix, Surface, Interni, Frame, Absolute Architecture and Interior Design Magazine. Thorpe was selected for inclusion in the text Ultimate New York Design, highlighting 50 of New York City’s top design talents and is one of the youngest signature designers for Italian design house Moroso. In 2016, he was selected as the feature cover story for international design magazine Intramuros. His firm, Marc Thorpe Design (MTD) has worked with leading international brands including LVMH, Mercedes Benz, Under Armour, Stella Artois, IBM, Saatchi & Saatchi, Hearst, Cappellini, Tod’s, Acura, David Yurman, L’Oreal, Esquire, Moroso, Yahoo, Casamania, Davidoff and Infiniti to name a few.

Thorpe is known internationally for his innovative and dynamic work, taking a rigorous approach to the integration of architecture, design and technology. The studio conceptualizes design while embracing process and has the resources to produce consistent communication platforms. These include architecture, interior design, graphic design, furniture design, product design, retail and exhibit design.

The studio designs relationships. The focus of Marc Thorpe Design is in the systemic intersections a project presents. In order to discover a project’s potential, the studio works closely with clients and collaborators to foster new ideas, establish common vision and innovative strategies of approach to nurture the design process. The results are design solutions with the highest degree of precision, quality and character.

The studio offers itself as an open system of exchange. Thorpe has dedicated the studio to the research, professional practice and education of systems thinking through the discipline of architecture and design. Thorpe states, “We believe in a holistic design approach, which engages the social components of space and form.” Collaborations with digital artists, interactive designers, new media designers, sound and lighting engineers and social media experts have advanced the practice’s diversity and knowledge.