The biggest Murano glass aquarium ever realised
Manuel Bortolotto - Marine Universe
This aquarium reflects the extent of Manuel Bortolotto’s creative flair: it’s artistic aim is to reproduce a marine microcosm. It is circular with a multicolour coral reef inside. Once again, the size of this work is remarkable: 2,15 metres high and weighing 350kg, the diameter of the aquarium is more than a metre and a half. The base is an unusual cone shape and adorned with multicoloured glass granules and glass spheres decorated with gold leaf. There are even crabs positioned in relief upon little semi-circular pedestals these too in granules of Murano glass, suggesting the ocean floor. The circular iron structure which gives the aquarium stability is perforated by numerous holes fixed with led lights creating a unique play of light, shadow and semi-shadow. At the two far ends of the internal-external borders there are two semi-circular wooden structures lined with mosaic tiles - 8,000 of them all cut by hand – finished in shiny steel. The inside hosts marine compositions in glass imitating familiar images of the ocean floor. As one would expect, the scene is animated by marine fish, sea anemones, and corals of many colours. The entire work is made from Murano glass and uses the true colours found in nature thanks to ideas from Cristina Sfriso (a teacher at the Expreimental Glass School – Abate Zanetti). Furthermore, it should be noted that all of the internal compositions are fixed to a base layer of Murano glass granules.
In order to make the representation really pulsate with marine life, inside the aquarium there is a stream of water which winds its way from the top towards the bottom, creating the effect of little bubbles of oxygen. The whole thing is enclosed within two circular crystal panes which have been expertly sealed, and in turn contained in their own steel frame. This also ensures the safety of the display. Therefore, like always, the overall impact of this original work illustrates the inventive genius of Manuel Bortoletto without question. His masterpieces are simply unique. It took him 8 months of work to finish the entire aquarium.