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The Art of Drinking

You've probably heard that the human body is made up of over 70 percent water, so it’s no surprise drinking is essential for life. But have you ever stopped to think about how we drink, or where from, and about how we feel while doing so?

As a company focused on providing the best drinking experience possible – studying features such as color, style, as well as the sensations connected to the tiniest detail in our glasses – we think about it a lot.

To invite our public to reconsider such an obvious and familiar – yet sometimes invisible – habit as a pleasant ritual, we co-created this video clip together with Italian filmmaker Carlotta Bianchi.

Drawing inspiration from The Clock by artist Christian Marclay — the world’s most popular video artwork, shown at the Venice Biennale in 2011 — the footage strings together around 40 short clips from various film and TV scenes, all showing iconic drinking moments stripped out of the context.

“The element of inclusivity was key to us, as we wanted to create a visual narrative that brings you to experience a vast range of emotions, moods, narratives, and settings within the space of two minutes. We undertook extensive research in the field of cinema from all corners of the world,” Carlotta says.

Gathering the most diverse scenes possible, the video reflects on a common human activity, showing glasses not just as drinking tools, but rather as vessels of conviviality, style and culture. (Research Assistant: Charlotte Lester)

Taking Over a Renowned Neighborhood Boutique

L’angolo del passato is a tiny glass boutique in the heart of the Dorsoduro district in Venice, within walking distance of our headquarters. Giordana Naccari, owner and curator, opened this gallery in 1989 specializing in antique and contemporary glassware. She is a well-respected figure in the glass world and a long-time supporter of our company. Driven by an appetite for local artists’ creations, Giordana – who was a dear friend of Marie’s – was the first one to put our founder’s early Goti on display. Her well-known corner shop has always been a landmark in the Venetian glass-scape and a wonderland for those looking for quality Murano pieces.

Next spring, L’angolo del Passato will turn into our first concept space and physical location accessible to the public. “I’m happy only because you’re taking it; I would have left it only to you.” Giordana said of us taking up her legacy. Before the renovation starts, we will set up a temporary pop-up store on Nov. 19 - 20 to host a final sale of our UAU pieces, which have been removed from our online shop.

L’angolo del passato was listed among Marie’s “favorite addresses” on our first website, created in 2001, which included our founder’s suggestions for anyone visiting Venice. Besides offering a sweet window into our company’s early days, most of Marie’s advice is still valid.

Taking over L’angolo del passato is a bit like going back in time, reconnecting with Marie’s legacy and our origins.

Art Photos Help Understand Our Products’ Proportions

All the pictures on our website are conceived as artworks. This month, we’re happy to announce Enrico Fiorese’s photography for a new feature we’ve introduced on our shop’s product pages. Enrico’s black-and-white shots will help our customers determine the proportions of our collections' pieces when buying online.

We chose the b/w to enhance the photos’ purpose: “The goal was to provide the customers with a tool to evaluate proportions. So, while maintaining the original relationship between the pieces, I pushed some technical aspects to the limit. I shot the products in extreme light conditions and through an unconventional angle, in order to make them as expressive as possible. The result – beyond the functionality aspect – is quite artistic,” Enrico says.

Enrico Fiorese is the author of all the product photography on our website: “Laguna~B products' pictures are made to be as essential as possible, and very true to color and proportion, while at the same time maintaining the glasses’ pop nature,” he says.

Explore our shop to see the photos.

The Book that Invented the Internet

Thirty-five years before Google, a publication promoting access to independent, free culture for all aimed to collect the knowledge of the “Whole Earth” in one paper volume. Working as an “evaluation and access device,” it paved the way for the internet revolution that followed.

In 1968, the Whole Earth Catalog was published by the Portola Institute, a commune-like educational nonprofit based in Menlo Park, California, the future site of Silicon Valley.

Produced in an outsized format, with basic, black-and-white graphic and no blank spaces, this supermanual was intended as a guide for the ‘60s “back-to-the-landers” who decided to move to the countryside in search of a simpler, more self-sufficient life. A New York Times’ article in 1971 described it as “a lexicon of arcane and practical wisdom” providing information about a variety of topics: where to get “The Cultivator's Handbook of Marijuana,” how to build a log cabin and play the autoharp, how to construct a working digital computer for less than $5, and bury the dead. For those who wanted to learn more, each section included a list of reference books — and instructions on where to find them — working as pre-Internet “hyperlinks.”

In the rear of the Portola warehouse was the office of Stewart Brand, a 32-year-old biologist at nearby Stanford University, who was also a photographer and counterculture influencer. Besides inventing the Catalog, had also “run across the Indian peyote cults” and set up the Grateful Dead’s first performance. In The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe writes that Brand came up with the “Whole Earth” concept while tripping with LSD “right after the Explorer Satellite went up to photograph the earth. He was struck with one of those questions that inflames men's brains: Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole earth yet?”

Believing that “We are as Gods”, Brand wanted to empower the individual to “conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment.”¹ The Catalog, which sold 3 million copies in just its first run, was accessible, relevant to independent education, easily available and useful.

If it sounds familiar, maybe that’s because those same principles spawned Wikipedia, the internet’s largest encyclopedia, which was conceived in the early 2000’s to condense the world's knowledge in one virtual place. Wikipedia was founded based on the assumption that “ordinary people could use their computers as tools for liberation, education and enlightenment,” a kind of faith in technology we seem to have lost today.

In 1985, the Catalog translated into The Well, or Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, the first long-standing Internet community — and the most influential one, according to Wired magazine. With message-board-style conferences, it inspired many of today’s chat-room websites. But unlike 4Chan or Reddit, anonymity is not permitted on The Well, where users must live by the motto, “You Own Your Own Words”.

The Whole Earth Catalog had ended a decade earlier, with the last number winning the 1972 National Book Award —the only catalog ever to do so. It culminated with the popular advice to, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish,” the same that in 2005 Steve Jobs addressed the Stanford graduates attending his last speech.

We’ve recently bought a copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog. We keep it in our office library and – although it might look outdated – we often consult it for inspiration. What if looking at the early stages of the internet could help us reshape it according to our needs? With algorithms influencing every field of human competence – including creativity – the need for a personal, independent web space is growing.

¹The use of masculine pronouns probably reflected an outdated, male-centered idea of progress.