Glass has always sparked fascination due to its complex nature. Made from sand – a natural material so basic and ubiquitous it almost seems hard to believe that the tiny, granular particles can be transformed into this transparent, crisp and fragile substance – glass enchants makers, users and beholders alike. Rarely has a material held so many intrinsic possibilities – for artistic as well as functional purposes.
The properties of glass
Glass has a rich materiality with states ranging from liquid to solid. It is malleable and pliable when hot but hard once it has been cast or blown. In its solid state, the material is unforgiving, as it can no longer be manipulated into new shapes. No other material contains a similar collection of opposite qualities and symbols. Glass can be matt or transparent, rough or smooth, sharp or soft, fragile or sturdy. Glass can reflect light or allow it to pass through. Glass can convey warmth, in friendly partnership with the sun, or appear cool when the light is gone. Glass can reflect light and symbolize magical worlds, as if it provided a direct link to a parallel world far from here.
Portugal’s historical glass tradition
At Form & Refine, we share this fascination with glass and have established a collaboration with Danish designer Linea Ek Blæhr. Her glass series is named Pinho (‘pine’ in Portuguese) and consists of a drinking glass and carafe developed in partnership with a small family-owned company in Martingança-Gare, where the small factory has maintained a production of glass for the past 33 years. Portugal has a strong tradition of glass production, which gained pace in particular during the mid-18th century in the area round Leiria, which is known for its rich mineral deposits, long, sandy beaches and large pine forests. This is where our manufacturer is located, and our glass series is named after the local pine forests.