Sabino Marius-Ernest


Equal parts artist and industrialist, Marius-Ernest Sabino brought numerous developments to modern glassware, press-moulded glass in particular, during the interwar period. Born in 1878 in Sicily, he immigrated to France at the age of four. There he studied wood engraving, as his father had. Amazed by the advent of electricity, Sabino stopped producing chandeliers out of wood in favor of glass, which is a better vehicle for light diffusion. After the war, Sabino became acquainted with a glassmaker, and subsequently opened his own factory in Noisy-le-Sec, in the suburbs of Paris. At the same time, he opened a shop in Le Marais, Paris.

In line with his education in sculpture, reliefs were always featured on Sabino's glassware. These reliefs were congruent to the themes of the Art Deco movement, and he achieved great recognition at the Salon International des Arts Décoratifs de Paris in 1925. The success of his chandeliers placed him amongst the popular architectural lighting designers at the time and won him commissions to design the lighting for ships such as the Ile de France (1927) and the Normandie (1935). By 1936 he was designing lighting for the palace of the Shah of Iran.

Sabino also designed a mass of glass objects and vases with highly sculptural qualities. Driven by industrial practises, he created objects that stretched technical limits. Beginning in 1925, Sabino regularly used 'golden glass' (le cristal bleu irisé). For this technique, he input 6% arsenic into his glass, while the normal amount was 0.7% - an obvious danger to the manufacturer. Nevertheless, Sabino's daring techniques realized new colours and effects for opalescent glass with mauve, yellow, or smoked effects. The factory continued to produce until late in Sabino's life, when it came under financial strain. It continued until 1975, though Sabino died in 1962.


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