In the frame

In the frame

Jean Claude Novaro

Glass blower Jean Claude Novaro on his works of art and opening a factory in Ras Al Khaimah

I have been working in the glass blowing industry for the past 53 years. Even after such a long time, I still feel the same pleasure and excitement I felt when I started working on my first project. Glass is my life and not a day goes by when I do not thank God for the talent he has given me.

My lifelong passion for glass began in 1957 when I apprenticed at a glassworks in France aged 14. My love of the craft, combined with hard work, perseverance and talent, allowed me to become a master glassmaker aged 20. I spent the next 10 years at the glass factory, in charge of production, ambience, and the apprenticeship programme.

I was extremely emotional when I set a Guinness World Record for the largest hand blown coupe ever made. I never thought my name would be included in such a prestigious list of achievers. It made me believe that if we work hard with utmost sincerity, making the best use of our talent and potential, then nothing is impossible. By constantly striving to stretch the boundaries of our imagination and creativity, we can achieve unprecedented results.

My manager, Amedee Santalo, and I made the decision to settle in RAK when we met His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

We are currently developing a range of tiles for RAK Ceramics called Novaro. These are photoluminescent tiles with special designs for interior as well as security purposes.

We are also planning to build the biggest art glass sculpture in the world, a beautiful ‘ancient tower’ which is the logo of the Emirate. The tower, which will be displayed in a prominent roundabout in Ras Al Khaimah, will be built in Novaro luminescent glass that glows in the dark. It is a unique piece of artwork. We always try to add value to the places that welcome us. Art is a part of people’s life nowadays and we believe Ras Al Khaimah can become the heart of art and culture in the Middle East.

We visited the UAE seven years ago and I was very impressed with the country. I fell in love with the place and the people here are very warm and welcoming. The rules and regulations in the UAE allow artists to pursue their craft and dreams. I used to work in Europe and the US and now I want a new challenge. The Middle East inspires me greatly, which is why Santalo and I chose to open the Novaro International glass factory in the Rakia Freezone, Ras Al Khaimah.

We felt that this Emirate state was a good location because we get large orders from the UAE and greater GCC area. There is a big market for art here and we want to develop it more and felt the best way to do it is by setting up a factory here. Customers in this region are discerning and have an eye for quality and beauty and we strive to meet their needs.

The region has a pleasant and quiet environment and a relaxed lifestyle and this influenced our decision. Another factor is the region is a free-zone and therefore exempt from taxes. It offers a low cost of setting up combined with low operational costs and strong governmental support.

Jean Claude Novaro owns Novaro International in Ras Al Khaimah. Visit

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