Restoration of Venini Chandeliers


During the autumn of 2008 we were kept busy with the restoration of some very special glass drops.   A suite of four chandeliers originally produced in 1962 by Venini on the Venetian island of Murano were commissioned for the Terminal One Departure Hall at Manchester Airport .  

 

The team at Manchester Airport explained the importance of the chandeliers to us and that they are a part of the airport’s heritage, therefore it was imperative that the restoration of a chandelier for The World of Glass was carried out with this understanding, using our knowledge and expertise.  

 

Having received eight tons of glass, we carefully unpacked 36 old wooden crates of unsorted glass which had been left in storage for many years, for which there was no packing list or diagram.  Much of the glass had been damaged due to poor storage, and it took several weeks cleaning away the dust of many years with great care and attention, to reveal the splendour of each hand-blown piece.  

The drops had to be left to dry and then polished.  Afterwards a steel cable was threaded through each one and attached with a ferrule.  Once this process was completed, our team of experts packed the drops to go on their northbound journey. 

 

The chandelier was made shorter than the original due to height restriction.  It has been estimated that today it would cost £250,000 to reproduce the chandelier.   

 

The framework had already been installed when we arrived in St Helen’s.  The day was spent hanging all the drops in the necessary order and, finally, we could see the result of our work: The magnificent chandelier with a cascade of hand-blown drops in clear and colours of smoke, purple and green, lovingly restored to its former glory and hanging in the new home of The World of Glass.

 

Here is a short article from the Manchester Evening News 

"A GRAND Venetian chandelier that once graced Manchester Airport has moved to a new home. 

It is one of four chandeliers that dazzled passengers for 40 years in the airport's terminals. 

It is now on display at the World of Glass museum in St Helens after being restored to its former glory. 

The chandeliers were removed in 2003 when the departure halls were modernised. The chandelier has 1,300 droplets of clear, smoked grey and amethyst lead glass individually blown by master craftsman Bruno Zanetti. 

It cost £3,000 to commission in the 1960s but would now cost more than £250,000. 

Jo Hayward, museum curator, said: "It looks fantastic." 

The World of Glass had to strengthen and modify its ceiling to support the two-tonne weight of the chandelier, which took two days to hang. 

It was donated by Manchester Airport to preserve the heritage of the region. 

Another is destined for the Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry. 

They were officially unveiled when the Prince Philip opened the terminal in 1962. Their design was altered in 1987 with the coloured glass drops taken out and they were moved from the centre of the departure hall to the side. 

Many people were dismayed when airport bosses decided to dismantle them because they would look out of place in the refurbished terminal."