Orfeo Quagliata is an industrial designer who has more than two decades of experience with glass, blending design with an artisan’s dedication to craftsmanship.
Born in San Francisco in 1972, Orfeo Quagliata is the son of acclaimed glass artist Narcissus Quagliata, a leading figure in the 1960s American Studio Glass Movement. Quagliata was attracted to glass from an early age and began working as his father’s apprentice at 12. The two continued to work together on various projects over the years including the design and fabrication of a crystal apex dome for the last architectural work of Michelangelo—the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome.
Prior to college, Quagliata apprenticed in Spain under Catalonian glass artist José Fernandez Castrillo, where he learned cold-working techniques that have become a cornerstone in his work today. He later returned to San Francisco to study industrial and furniture design at California College of the Arts (CCA), earning a BFA with high distinction in 1999.
At CCA, Quagliata departed from glass to explore other materials and studied under prominent furniture designer and architect, Chris Deam. He served as Deam’s design assistant for three years, which included work on projects for Airstream and Herman-Miller.
Industrial design renewed Quagliata’s bias for glass along with a desire to apply his training in both disciplines to push its boundaries. With this vision, he created a product line for Nouvel Studio that was so well received that the two decided to partner together as Phuze.
Quagliata’s eclectic design approach points to early influences drawn from his father’s work and also his grandmother, Herta Jalkotzy, an award-winning jewelry designer in the Wiener Werkstätte collective, founded by Gustav Klimt. His work follows an inherited tradition in glass and jewelry, while articulating a bold, maverick style uniquely his own. Orfeo Quagliata currently lives and works in Mexico City, his home since 2000.