Orfeo is an industrial designer having two decades of experience with glass and blending design with an artisan’s dedication to craftsmanship. The lack of innovation in prevailing glass processes compelled Orfeo to breathe new life into the glass world by introducing several groundbreaking techniques now showcased throughout his breadth of work.
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. Orfeo 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, Orfeo 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.
Orfeo’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.