Bohemian glass manufacturer Verreum, located north of Prague, delivers glassware all over the world and is seeing renewed demand thanks to its ability to marry traditional craftsmanship with 21st century design and marketing.
With a focus on high-end design and creative production methods, Verreum is helping to revitalise Bohemian glass industry.
Specialising in silvered glass – handblown glassware coated with a thin film of metal – Verreum reinvigorated this technique, which was developed in the 1800s for products such as candlesticks and vases, but had almost disappeared.
“Creating a glass piece is always a great experience. After the process of glass blowing, it’s all a matter of time, patience, energy and motivation,” says the company.
In order to stay relevant yet still tap into tradition, Verreum is today using international artists to help design limited-edition pieces. From international renowned industrial designer, Karim Rashid, to Venetian designer Luca Nichetto, who has done two collections for Verreum, high-end designs are exhibited at trade shows around the world, from Milan to Paris, and pieces are being sold in boutiques and museums stores in Paris, London and New York.
Though it is the Middle East market, where there is a tradition of giving fine glassware as gifts, where business is proving most lucrative, Verreum owner Pavel Weiser told Bloomberg Businessweek.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Czech glass industry currently reports USD 230 million in annual sales, but has contracted by about 25% since the mid-1990s, with the number of workers falling by more than two-thirds.
By working with international designers and breathing new design into old traditions, owner Pavel hopes to give new life to Bohemian glass, employing graduates of a local school that trains glassblowers.
“We are breathing new life into the Czech glass industry,” says Pavel.
With plans to open its own factory next year, Pavel says he expects sales to grow about 30% this year from EUR 1 million in 2016.