Yoichi Ohira (1946-2022): Masterpieces in Glass

Hailing from Japan, Yoichi Ohira left an indelible mark on 20th-century glass design, seamlessly fusing his distinct style with the innate splendor of Japanese aesthetics and the traditional craftsmanship of Italian glassmaking. His artistic endeavors have significantly enhanced the tapestry of glass design.

“I lived in Venice for almost 38 years. Venice is a city built with bricks (opacity) in a watery environment (transparency). The aesthetic sensibility I cultivated in Japan and the one I acquired in Venice blended together to become the language of expression for my creations in glass.”

Yoichi Ohira

Ohira emergence onto the global stage was marked by two immensely successful gallery exhibitions, solidifying his status as one of the foremost glass artists.

potrait of Yoichi Ohira

Ohira’s Life and Artistic Development

After completing his education at the Kuwasawa Design School in Tokyo in 1969, Ohira embarked on a journey in glassblowing as an apprentice at the Kagami Crystal Company, Ltd. His exposure to the fashion realm during this period left an enduring imprint on his creative process, manifesting in the harmonious equilibrium, refined contours, and lively kaleidoscopic motifs evident in his creations.

Driven by the quest for artistic evolution, Ohira pursued academic pursuits at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts from 1973 to 1978, immersing himself in the captivating realm of Murano glass. His enthusiasm and innate talent flourished, garnering prestigious accolades for his dissertation "The Aesthetics of Glass".

In the late 1980s, Ohira collaborated with esteemed glass artisans in Murano, further honing his artistic dexterity. His remarkable achievements culminated in the receipt of the esteemed Premio Selezione of the Premio Murano in 1987.

Presently, Ohira's masterpieces grace the esteemed collections of premier institutions worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

His global renown has led to exhibitions at illustrious venues such as the Correr Museum in Venice and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Residing and creating in Tokyo, Japan, Ohira continues to infuse his oeuvre with a rich tapestry of cultural influences.

Five glass objects

Murano Glass from “Anfora”

The work of Yoichi Ohira is deeply linked to the art of glassmaking and to the Island of Murano, where he created artworks in collaboration with the glassworks Anfora.

Since the 1970s, the Ferro family's furnace has been dedicated to the craft of glassmaking. Renowned for producing high-quality artistic glass in classic styles, the furnace quickly gained recognition both nationally and internationally. Leveraging its profound expertise in traditional techniques, the furnace later specialized in crafting exceptional replicas.

During the 1980s, the company commenced collaborations with numerous artists and designers, many of whom still frequent the furnace. The company adepts in intricate glassmaking techniques such as reticello, incalmo, zanfirico, and sommerso, which is skillfully executes. Particularly, they revel in shaping glass by hand to unveil hidden forms, establishing an intimate connection with this remarkable yet resilient material.

Nature as a Motif and Inspiration

Throughout his lifetime, Yoichi Ohira drew significant inspiration from careful observations of nature, a fundamental wellspring of creativity for him. This keen observation served as a cornerstone of his artistic language. His remarkable talent lies in his ability to encapsulate the essence of classical elements and the surrounding environment onto the surface of glass vessels and vases, a skill that distinguishes his work.

The surface of his works transcends into a canvas for Ohira, allowing him to depict an abstract landscape using mosaic glass and powders. He often brilliantly intertwines his innovative aesthetic vision with his extensive proficiency in a myriad of intricate glass-making techniques and elements.
Each material chosen for the creations is akin to carefully selected words in a poem. His meticulous attention to detail and deep artistic sensitivity characterize the Yoichi Ohira glass objects.

Find a Vibrant, Colorful Vase of Yoichi Ohira for Your Collection

We are delighted to share the news of acquiring nineteen exceptional pieces from 1000 Objects. These remarkable treasures showcase some of the most exquisite glass craftsmanship, with the artist's creations prominently showcased in various museums. If you happen to be in Zurich, we extend a warm invitation to arrange a visit and admire these magnificent works of art. Pick your favorite piece of Yoichi Ohira glass here »To explore more facets of glass artistry, visit our Online Shop for Glass Art & Glass Objects!

Making of

Thanks to Barry Freidman New
York for the support. Courtesy of Michele Alassio for the Video.