the story within

ilio is the Troyan sun god Helios, the sparkle of the Mediterranean’s crystal waters. And much like the sun’s life-giving power that inspired the name, ilio is inspired by the creative fire that breathes life into sand and ash and stone. Experienced hands, working fast and with great precision, turn a liquid, fiery mass into cool, translucent glass. Glass, that is immaculate and, like the gods, immune to the passage of time.

ilio is created by a small team of designers from Istanbul, combining cutting-edge contemporary design with the ancient traditions of hand-worked glass to create objects of timeless beauty that lend stylish elegance and sensuous luxury to tables both east and west. And within each piece lies a unique story, waiting to be told and retold.

a unique heritage

Glass was first crafted about 5000 years ago somewhere in the Near East. Likely, it was the ancient rivers of antiquity, the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Nile, that first supplied the main ‘magic’ ingredient to glassmaking – sand. Combining high-purity sand with some lime, soda ash and sometimes a little natural dye for colouring, craftsmen of the region discovered that this mixture would melt under high heat to form a fluid mass that could be manipulated to form beads and hollow vessels that were not only extremely beautiful but also highly durable when handled with care.

In later centuries, Roman glassmakers learned how to blow glass and make glass moulds - precious knowledge that continued to serve the glass-makers of Eastern Rome and Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, for over a thousand years. In the 19th century, Mehmet Dede, a dervish of the Mevlevi Order, was sent by the Ottoman Sultan Selim III to Venice in order to learn the art of the Murano masters. This fusion of eastern and western glass making tradition and craft still continues to this day in the glass factories of Beykoz Glass, the manufacturers of all ilio crystal and glassware.

handcrafted pure crystal

ilio crystal glassware is hand-blown, hand-cut and hand-polished by master craftsmen in the centuries-old tradition of Istanbul's finest glass makers, small differences between pieces serving as reminders of the human hand that fashioned it. This insistence on handcrafting makes each individual ilio crystal preciously and incomparably unique. All ilio stemware is fashioned from pure crystal giving them that wonderfully delicate, characteristic translucency. At the same time, ilio only uses lead-free crystal which is environmentally-friendly, and safer to use in glasses and decanters, than traditional lead crystal.

designing for the senses

Each line of ilio glassware takes its cue from nature – water, light, tree and blossom, earth and air. As such, ilio’s internationally celebrated design team also draws on the artistic heritage of Istanbul, where poets, musicians and artists sought and found a million ways to capture the city’s undying beauty, sensuous and forever surprising. This is why each item in the ilio collection is dedicated to purpose and joy in equal measure, making the moment truly worth savouring.

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