The Mezzaluna decanter, designed by Leonardo Rossano and Debora Mansur in 2012, is made of hand-blown and hand-worked glass: was that of handmade glass an instinctive choice or dictated by the function of the object?
For Mezzaluna, our research has been based, at the same time, on the study of the ways of use and the specific needs of the sector. We have discovered that during the mixing the decanter is held from the base, avoiding to grasp it from the neck, to limit the impact of the hand on the temperature of the wine. In the tasting of important wines, in fact, the variation of a few tenths of a degree can make the difference. The first objective of the project was, therefore, to facilitate the grip of the decanter, for example resting on the table, allowing a single hand to slide under the base. From the first sketches immediately emerged an ellipsoidal shape interrupted by the hollow where to insert the hand and the neck, which is asymmetric with respect to the center. The asymmetry of the neck helps the mixing of the last glasses of wine and, we realized, gives the decanter a vague aspect of an aquatic bird. Playing with the shapes of the grip, then, in the base we inserted a ‘hillock’, designed so that the fingers could be at ease during the grip.
Blown glass, handmade by expert artists – explains arch. Rossano – from the beginning it was the privileged material for our ideas, which in this way could be realized by a single operator in a relatively short time. Glass is linked by a long tradition to the fascinating and mysterious universe that revolves around wine. An ever expanding sector, strongly rooted in our culture. Hence the idea of dealing with the design of glass utensils for tasting.
Once passed to the renderings – explains Rossano – from the displays made with different amounts of liquid, we noticed that, as soon as the wine is poured, the glass hill of the base emerges and, when it is about to finish, the wine takes the shape of a crescent , naturally red … from that image the choice of the name was immediate!
The realization of the decanter, in fact, is based exclusively on the mastery of the artisan who does not use molds or industrial equipment. Manual processing and blowing, starting from glass tubes of different diameters, are almost the only tools provided. It was thanks to the first comparisons with the craftsman who created the prototypes, for example, that we optimized the comfort of the handle, the dimensions and other details. We also realized that the shape of the base, born from ergonomic needs, had the ability to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the wine that, together with glass, became the protagonist of the design of this object.
If, for example, the base is too small, the wine fills it too much, reducing the surface of contact with the air: that is less the primary function of the decanter which is precisely that favor the oxygenation of the wine after the long stay in bottle.
The characteristic of craftsmanship, which produces artifacts different from the other, even if highly appreciated, may conflict with the quality standards required for a particular product such as the decanter. There are many design constraints to be respected, simultaneously, for the realization of a single piece, which requires 45 to 60 minutes of processing at high temperatures. From the space for passing the hand, to the roundness of the handle, up to the length or position of the neck.
The development of the production – the architect continues – required investments and an intense turnover among the artisans involved, even if very good, which lasted a long time before reaching the current result, for us the optimal one.
Reached the desired level, Mezzaluna has been exposed, together with other products, to several Fuorisalone events in which Code participated during the Milan design week.