For more than 80 years, the firm combines art and glass. We discuss this with Daniele Ballanti, owner of the Roman company.
by Fabrizio Aimar
“The company exists since 1934 and is a family-run business. My maternal grandfather died when I was only five. My father did his best to keep alive the activity as long as I decided to devote myself completely, since I was 20 years old. Firstly, I carried on my education in the arts at the S. Giacomo Ornamental Arts School, and then, at the Quasar Institute in Rome. At the same time, I have learned the job from one of my father’s employee.
The greatest innovation I made concerns the computer-aided design, drafting sketches in order to obtain faster and faithful glazed output. Coupled with digital tools, I can also create photomontages that suggest to the customer a precise idea of the result. Devices such as plotter greatly facilitates running off full-scale drawings, ideal in the construction of stained glass windows.
The relationship with this work starts since childhood, when I went to visit my grandfather, and then my father, in our family workshop. A passion that was born coupled with the drawing one. I was lucky to live surrounded by Liberty glazing produced by the best decorators of those years. The concept, the design process, the materials and the tools: all of them has always fascinated me. Not by chance, when I was young I was attracted to two types of stores: Fine Arts and hardware ones! Then, the key-material: the glass. The colored glass paste has very intense colors that change according to the light that passes through it. The art of painting on glass requires a lot of precision, but ensure great satisfaction moments.
I want to keep doing what I have always done, with the seriousness and passion that every day I devote to my work. The excellence is due to both the quality of the product and the accuracy connected to the design, the proposition, the manufacturing and the delivering on scheduled date. I am trying to update the design of stained glass, adjusting its decorative styles to the contemporary settings, but retaining the same technique of old.
Abroad, especially in northern Europe, the glazing has had widespread diffusion, and you could admire fine ancient works owing to artistic and technical skills. Its restoration is an interesting field but too little attention is paid here, in Italy. Nonetheless, I perform very important works in ecclesiastical matters, always widely appreciated by customers. Both in northern Europe and in the US, apart from several excellences, now it seems that the glass is used as a very simple decoration, made from elementary patterns.
Now, I am taking care of the design of a 100×300 cm stained glass window which can be positioned without masonry works, with a pressure mechanism between the floor and the ceiling.”