Piombino Dese, a drab industrial town between Venice and Verona, has many small glass companies, including Vetrerie New Glass, founded by Franco Pellizzon in 1991 and one of several Glo-Ball suppliers. Pellizzon trained as a glassblower but saw no future for himself in the craft; he wanted to industrialize the process.
When the blob has reached a diameter of about six inches, it has already been handled by two or three blowers, who multitask like chefs.
Vetrerie New Glass can make 18 Glo-Balls per hour—Pellizzon keeps the operation tight in order to guarantee exceptional quality. The balls sit in a slow-cooling kiln for two hours; otherwise, they crack. With a fine abrasive cutting wheel, a young man slices off the parts that cling to the pole during the blowing process. A series of sanders and buffers make the aperture perfectly round and smooth: A flattener removes coarseness outside the cut, and a pointed sander that resembles a witch’s hat rubs out the circular opening.
West of Piombino Dese, in Bovezzo, the well-tended Glo-Balls meet the other parts of the lamp: laminated tubular steel stands, bases, and electronic components sourced in Milan.