The design of this piece came to me while I was daydreaming. During my initial exploration of the site, I walked up the third and final flight of steps to the penthouse and rounded the corner. As I peered around the wall parallel to the stairs that guides you into the room, I envisioned a vibrant creek with big rocks, smoothed by years of water rippling over them, meandering across the wall.
As I envisioned the river rocks, I felt they should be made of clear glass, for physical and conceptual reasons. I anticipated that the bumps and wrinkles in the surface would create fabulous projections while referencing the rippling river water that inspired the piece. However, working with clear glass also meant revealing the mounting brackets and electrical components. Exposing, and integrating, these parts into the sculptural glass components quickly became the main design challenge of the piece.
A Collaborative Solution
Once the designing and blowing of the clear glass “Rocks” was complete, my role transitioned from maker to creative collaborator and project manager. I brought in master cold-worker, Andreas Lehmann and metalworker Hilary Engelmann to help complete the glass components and overall installation.
First, Andreas cut and polished the lip of each ‘rock’ so the entire form would be fully transparent. Through this process, his expert hands also ensured that each rock would sit perfectly flush on the wall while relating seamlessly to the metal bracket that would hold it.
Custom Metal Work
Hilary’s innovative engineering and skillful craftsmanship led to an elegant mounting solution. She proposed that the lip of the bracket be sculpted to match the contours of the organic glass form that would sit on it. This ambitious idea meant that each glass piece fit seamlessly onto it's holder. Her ideas and custom metal work were essential to the completion of the work.