Life From the Sea


Murano Venetian Glass "Anemone" Bowl with Gold Leaf Flecking (LEO Design)


Everything in Venice is influenced by the sea.  Venice's very existence—erected on precarious real estate, seemingly "floating" in the ocean—is dependent upon the ocean, her wonders and her whims.  The architecture of Venice, its transport, its light, its food are all determined by the water which surrounds the city.  Sometimes the water delights; sometimes the water threatens.  Wherever one travels in Venice, one is never far from (or safe from) the sea.

Sea life, it stands to reason, plays an important part in the Venetian culture as well.  Fresh and local seafood, naturally, is a big part of Venetian cuisine.  But sea creatures also play a role in the Venetian decorative arts.  An example shown above: a Murano glass bowl, inspired by the undulate form of a sea anemone.  The lips and body of the bowl are shot-through with air bubbles, which gives the piece a silvery, underwater sensibility.  Flecks of gold leaf—blown and stretched and bent along with the molten bowl—provides an amber warmth to the creature.  The piece—which is modestly functional as a candy or caviar bowl—can be appreciated as sculpture, a treasure from the mysterious lagoon which surrounds La Serenissima.

Murano is a series of islands—linked by bridges—which lies off Venice proper.  It has long been a center of Italian glass production.  In 1291, Venetian glassmakers were ordered to relocate to Murano—the city's inhabitants fearful that fire from the glass factories might burn-down their mostly-wooden homes.  At the time, Murano was considered a distinct and separate comune, however, today it is a part of Greater Venice.

Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome bowl.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248