Arturo Alvarez is an artist and designer based in Galicia, a remote region in the northwest corner of Spain. Although most lighting from Spain comes from the east coast of the country (Barcelona or Valencia), Galicia has a tradition and culture of fine artisan craftsmanship.
In 1995, Arturo became fascinated and inspired by genuine Louis Tiffany lamps. He loved the one-of-a-kind, handmade, and artistic characteristics of Tiffany lamps. Arturo’s innovation was to borrow these characteristics and apply them to contemporary forms, using stained glass imported from the USA.
Following the arrival of the glass panels, the painstaking process of glass selection begins. 60-70% of the imported glass is discarded just to get uniform levels of color tone and translucence in one diffuser.
Once the glass is selected, an artist individually cuts each small glass panel section.
With the cut panels, the artists make the diffusers using one of two different methods:
1. The Curvas Grande Pendant (CV04G) is the best example of a diffuser made by the traditional Tiffany technique of welding the glass panels together (using lead-free solder) one-by-one to form the complete shade. Due to the irregular cuts, if any small section is broken during production, the entire process must be started again from scratch.
2. The second diffuser production method is a more contemporary approach where the glass is cut into strips and then adhered to a transparent acrylic substructure. This method is utilized in the Vento (VN04) and Norman (NO04) pendants.
As his company has grown in size and stature, Arturo has started an elaborate apprenticeship program for aspiring craftsmen. Selected apprentices are subjected to an extensive training program before Arturo certifies them as proficient enough to assemble the diffusers that will eventually bear his name.
Each diffuser is a labor of love between the artist and the final product. Only one craftsman touches the glass from panel to final product.
At the end, Arturo himself inspects each diffuser and engraves both his signature and the series number onto the diffuser itself, much as Tiffany did with his famous LCT stamp. No two Arturo Alvarez diffusers are the same. Every piece is an individually signed and numbered work of art.
The black glass used in the Curvas and Norman items is completely opaque black glass. There are no tinges of purple or blue. This is extremely rare and a sign of very high-quality glass.
Of course, the most common glass color sold is white. While the white glass transmits the most lumens, there is nothing plain about white stained glass: it has a texture and a grain that will be appreciated every time it is illuminated.
Arturo Alvarez does not make lights, lamps, chandeliers, or products. Arturo Alvarez makes original handcrafted works of art, whose grace is best appreciated when illuminated.
This is the story to be told to express what the brand is all about, and why the pieces are so unique and exclusive.
The above information covers the vast majority of the items available in the 2007 master catalog with one notable exception: the Gilda series.
The Gilda series (GD01, GD04, GD06) is made with Bisazza-brand glass mosaic tile, from Italy, rather than stained glass. Bisazza is the world leader in glass mosaic tile.
All metal work (canopies, table lamp bases) is made of stainless steel and laser-etched with the Arturo Alvarez logo.
Almost all Arturo Alvarez items from the 2007 catalog can be assembled with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamping and the beauty of the stained glass is evident regardless of the light source.
The 2008 Arturo Alvarez Novelties catalogue supplement (available in August) introduces a unique diffusing material. Developed over a two-year period and represented in the new collections Nevo and Gea, the material is basically a stainless steel mesh that is sprayed with a pigmented silicone.
Practical and beautiful, the material is a drastic departure from working with glass, yet it adheres to the basic principles of his glass works. The silicone mesh is very heat-resistant, extremely durable, and easy to clean. The interaction between the light source and the silicone mesh creates dramatic shadows and contrasts. The material is produced by hand and each diffuser is made one-by-one. Again, no two pieces are the same and each is considered an original work of art.
All Gea and Nevo items are available in White, Black, Orange, and Blue.
The last collection in the 2008 Novelties catalogue is called V and it is from a sub-brand of Arturo Alvarez called Lab. Lab is an arena Arturo created for emerging designers who otherwise may not have the opportunity to bring their creativity to life.
The V was designed by Hector Serrano and features black injected polycarbonate straps that are snapped onto an upper and lower metallic ring with an opal glass diffuser in the center to conceal the light bulb.
The design creates an optical illusion, where an hourglass shape can be seen from viewing the diffuser at different perspectives and angles.