The Process: WGS Creates Public Art For West Palm Beach Intl Airport

2 Agencies + 2 Unique Identities = 1 Integrated Artwork Solution

Detail from public art sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Details from sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Palm Beach County‘s Art in Public Places awarded Washington Glass Studio (WGS) the commission to design and fabricate integrated public art sculptures as part of the renovation of an existing facility for the new headquarters for Palm Beach County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) after a Call for Artists held in 2014. The building – a five story 61,000 square foot facility is located at one the most visible intersections in Palm Beach County, adjacent to the Palm Beach International Airport and can be seen from departing and arriving flights. 

Site for public art at West Palm Beach Airport

Sites for public art sculptures outlined in Call for Artists @ Florida’s West Palm Beach Airport

Agency 1 – Tourist Development Council (TDC)

The Tourist Development Council asked that their site-specific sculpture reinforce their brand and help show that Palm Beach is a prime tourism destination in one of the top tourism states in the country. The TDC includes Discover Palm Beach County, the Film and Television Commission and the Sports Commission. The TDC also provides oversight to the Palm Beach County Convention Center and the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department and their Beach Re-nourishment Program.

Agency 2 – Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has approximately 4,000 dedicated and professional staff that are committed to protecting the public, and enhancing the quality of life in the community while administering agency operations. The project site will house PBSO Admin services include Central Records, Human Resources, Labor Relations, Risk Management and Graphics.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

After consulting with the different agencies, WGS began schematic design of the sculpture works and the integration of the work with the architecture of the building. WGS sought to utilize color as a strong identification element that would help define the building’s new entry sequences.

Design concepts for the site are presented and reviewed with the end users.

Preliminary design concepts for the site were reviewed with the end users.

The artwork was reviewed and modified as the project team were consulted and fabrication details were outlined. Structural details of the aluminum framework were integrated into the design. Florida has very high wind design loads that had an impact on the artwork design and working again with structural engineer Holbert Apple Associates ensured that the hurricane loads would pose no problem for the artworks. Additionally, the designs would have to allow for shipping from the Washington, DC area glass studio down to sunny Palm Beach Florida and thus the design incorporated modular aspects to allow for fabrication and shipping.

structural analysis of art

Design of the artwork included detailed structural engineering analysis.

An additional aspect for the project design was the inclusion and integration of artwork and the building’s architectural re-design. Building signage, lighting, paving, and landscaping aspects were to be part of the artist’s proposal. The original building dates from the 1980′s and offered the ideal blank slate background, and allowed for some experimentation with blocks of color that would tie the art with the architecture.

Palm Beach building façade color test study.

West Palm Beach building façade color test study.

The building artwork design contract included elements of landscape design, and WGS artists liked creating new places to have glass incorporated. Color-coordinated glass “pebbles” (surface-seeded aggregate) were mixed into the concrete paving surrounding the artwork at the base of each. With great power comes with great responsibility.

Concrete paving sample

Tourism Office concrete paving sample. The glass chips were color coordinated to the artwork.

Paving slip resistance, hurricane wind loads on glass and steel, in-ground lighting values – all were part of the artist’s control and the studio was challenged to grow and develop our knowledge base. 

Design: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The design of the PBSO artwork had to showcase how the Sheriff’s office was an important partner to the community and reflect the values of the department. Aspects of the Sheriff would be presented in bas-relief cast glass panels mounted in sturdy structural aluminum framework. The colors of the PBSO were to form the basis of the sculpted glass artwork. The greens and golds would include a stripe of blue glass that would represent the “thin blue line” that symbolizes the relationship of law enforcement in the community.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

The location of the sculpture was important – the artwork would help define the entry to the new Sheriff’s office, and the artwork would also help shield views down along the building that are more private outdoor spaces. 

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

The finished work has some incredibly detailed cast panels that are works of art in and by themselves.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork - titled "Guardian" by WGS.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork – titled “Guardian” by WGS.

Design: Tourist Development Council (TDC)

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Palm Beach’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has oversight responsibility for the marketing agencies which include Discover The Palm Beaches, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission along with the Palm Beach County Convention Center. A number of proposals were presented to the TDC and the selected version was for an illuminated 17′-0″ tower – ultimately to be located on a new plaza area at the building entry. The color palatte of the “Discover the Palm Beaches” campaign would be the basis of the artwork color direction.  The glass design direction taken by the artist team was to abstract elements from each of the agencies that make up the TDC.

The TDC artwork, titled "Guidepost" is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The TDC artwork, titled “Guidepost” is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The structural requirements for the artwork framework (to be made in aluminum) required a substantial cross section for the members. The strong wind loads in coastal Florida required a close supervision of the metal design and fabrication. 

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.

 

Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

The glass artwork integrated into the metal structure began in the summer of 2016. Each glass inset was coated with a special coating to protect the structure in hurricane force winds. The installation of the artwork began in late 2016 and was completed in early 2017, giving the WGS crew some time in the beautiful Florida sunshine.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

TDC artwork reflects beautifully in the building in sunny Florida.

The artwork “Guidepost” is beautifully reflected in the building that houses Florida’s TDC.

Project Information

Address: 2195 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Artist: Washington Glass Studio

Design Team: Laurie Brown, Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson. With Patricia de Poel Wilberg and Ricky Barton.

Structural Engineer : Holbert Apple Assoc Inc

Witness Tim Tate’s Infinite Mirror Sculpture

Artist Tim Tate has been pulling traditional craft into new realms and depths. Tim shared his newest series “Witnesses of Wonders” and the work is incredible. In this series,Tim has been using elements that were 3-D printed at Catholic University’s modeling department combined with infinity mirrors to expand the sensation of unlimited space in the artwork. 

From Tim’s artist statement about his series:

Tim Tate, "21st Century Guernica"; Glass, Cast Images, LED; 36" x 36 x 4". In this piece a ring of translucent refugee boats float in the center, all with no where to turn to. The center ring is shared with red poppies, the symbol for war remembrance in England. The outer edge is made up of individual images from the powerful Picasso painting entitled Guernica.

Tim Tate, “21st Century Guernica”; Glass, Cast Images, LED; 36″ x 36 x 4″. In this piece a ring of translucent refugee boats float in the center, all with no where to turn to. The center ring is shared with red poppies, the symbol for war remembrance in England. The outer edge is made up of individual images from the powerful Picasso painting entitled Guernica.

“I try to entice the viewer to look deeply into and completely experience my windows into alternative dimensions. My works create an optical and bodily illusion of infinity through apparently limitless space. There is an intimacy created by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to witness another endlessly repeating reality.

Tim Tate, 21st Century Guernica - detail .  Said Tim about the imagery of the refugee boats, " Refugees right now are trying to escape unspeakable atrocities and protect their families who are turned away at country after country. This is the shame of our decade. "

Tim Tate, 21st Century Guernica – detail . Said Tim about the imagery of the refugee boats, ” Refugees right now are trying to escape unspeakable atrocities and protect their families who are turned away at country after country. This is the shame of our decade. “

 

The constant repetition of imagery also speaks to us of timelines: ones that go endlessly into the future or extend endlessly into the past. These repetitions reference society mired into static social patterns, some good, some bad.

Tim Tate. "21st Century Guernica" detail.    "Picasso made his painting in mostly tones of black white and gray "to drain the life out of them". I drenched them in red and returned color to them because this horror is happening right now in this world....in fact this very second." said Tim Tate.

Tim Tate. “21st Century Guernica” detail. “Picasso made his painting in mostly tones of black white and gray “to drain the life out of them”. I drenched them in red and returned color to them because this horror is happening right now in this world….in fact this very second.” said Tim Tate.

We look inside these portals as if seeing into a dream, fully realizing that this is but an illusion. But even though we know it is a illusion that should not stop us from freely examining it, and hopefully seeing another world at the same time.

Tim Tate, "The Endless Cycle"; 36 x 36 x 4"; Glass, Aluminum, Poly-Vitro, electronics

Tim Tate, “The Endless Cycle”; 36 x 36 x 4″; Glass, Aluminum, Poly-Vitro, electronics

Uncomfortable with any single defining time, I prefer sliding through the centuries; from 19th century Victorian techno-fetishism, to mid and late 20th century references to endless mirrors and studio glass to 21st century electronics and political focus. Perhaps all my work can be defined by how uncomfortable I am with definitions.” Tim Tate.

For more images of Tim Tate’s newest works – click HERE to have a look at his website

Tim Tate, "The Endless Cycle". Said Tim about this work: "For every man shown here, 1000 people died last year because of gun violence. For every gun shown here, a child dies every day. A hard lesson we have to learn from Orlando.....only by joining together can we hope to curtail gun violence."

Tim Tate, “The Endless Cycle”. Said Tim about this work: “For every man shown here, 1000 people died last year because of gun violence. For every gun shown here, a child dies every day. A hard lesson we have to learn from Orlando…..only by joining together can we hope to curtail gun violence.”

Washington Glass Studio Projects

Most of you know about the Washington Glass School’s extensive glass classes and the artwork, but many of you don’t know the third component of the Washington Glass Studio.  The Washington Glass Studio was established in 2001 to deliver artwork to the public realm by creating site specific art for architectural and landscape environments. Here is a highlight of a few recent projects to give a scope of what we are capable of producing.

"Gateway To Community"   Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

“Gateway To Community” Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

We are currently finishing a commissioned public art sculpture in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 - in front of the Unity Parkside Health Clinic and across the street from Caesar Chavez High School. This sculpture will be one of the first public art projects in Ward 7. Consisting of a 16 foot high tri-sided glass covered arch, the entire concept was derived from meeting with the community in the Kenilworth neighborhood.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

Made up from steel tube sections the steel framework is clad in covered in colorful kilncast glass panels bolted to the structure. Over 300 tiles were required to complete the structure. These 300 tiles we all hand made by volunteers in the community surrounding the arch. The artwork will be internally illuminated with LED lighting throughout the sculpture. Installation is set for end of May/early June.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

Of our recent public art works, the most acclaimed is our cast glass doors for the Library of Congress’ Adams Building. The original doors were cast bronze from the early WPA days. They were designed by Lee Lawrie, who is most known for his designs at Rockefeller Center in NYC. The original bronze bas-relief doors had ceased to be functional years ago, and the entrances were not up to current safety and security code. In a moment of courage and insight, one of the architects of the Architect Of The Capital’s office realized that if the bronze doors were redesigned with glass replicas of the original bronze bas-relief, then he could bring them up to code and increase safety, for much less money.  We then took on this multi-year project, with spectacular results.

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There were 6 sets of these doors, facing the east and west sides of the Adams Building. American Craft Magazine did a feature story on our work for the Library of Congress and its process – click here to jump to the magazine’s article online.

A smaller scale work was created for the charity organization “Food and Friends” new outdoor park. We made a cast glass Donor Wall that was to honor those who have passed away, to support to charitable work of the organization and to encourage donors to participate. Bas-relief cast glass panels in complementary colors set into a steel framework allows light to pass thru the memorial wall and create colors and patterns on the surrounding plaza. The nature of the glass panels encourages tactile investigation and contemplative interaction.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside their Riggs Road facility.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside the charity’s Washington, DC facility.

Lastly, one of our most distinguished works was for the Safeway supermarket Bethesda, Maryland. The original store was to be demolished to make way for a much larger structure with parking on the ground floor. As the grocer was committed to Green building, the new structure was to be the first LEED certified grocery store in Montgomery County, and we integrated eco-friendly materials, using recycled glass from the demolished store and re-purposing them to make the new glass and steel ground level building façade. The ground floor building skin was designed to conceal the parking garage function without completely enclosing it.  Here is the result:

Glass recycled from the original site's building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket's first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

Glass recycled from the original site’s building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket’s first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

This is only a fraction of what we have competed and what we are capable of doing. No job is too large or too complex. Our architectural design and technical team work well with architects and designers. We are currently looking for additional projects, so let us know in case you know of any, or know someone who might!

Habatat Michigan’s 42nd International Glass Invitational Opens Next Week

Habatat Galleries was established in 1971 in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. It is the oldest and largest gallery in the United States devoted exclusively to artists working with glass as their medium. The 12,000 sq. ft. gallery in Royal Oak, MI, is the home of the International Glass Invitational, which for 42 years has introduced and exhibited the greatest artists working creatively with glass. This year, three artists from the Washington Glass School – Sean Hennessey, Michael Janis and Tim Tate are included in the exhibition.

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Habatat Galleries – Michigan works with many museums and art centers where they have developed exhibits that have been displayed in over 100 public institutions. Each year Habatat publishes catalogs celebrating these both national and international events.

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Habatat Gallery has the catalog for the 42 International Glass Invitational online – click on image to jump to online publication.

"Constructing Content" Exhibit Artists Explore Glass as Sculptural Medium

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Erin Antognoli mixes together steel, glass and imagery in her evocative sculptures.

Constructing Content brings together three artists from the Washington, DC area that explore the ways in which ideas are translated and transformed as artists move from one medium to another. Arriving at kiln-glass from diverse backgrounds, these crossover artists bring new concerns and techniques to the medium. Working at the Washington Glass School, Erin Antognoli, Sean Hennessey and Erwin Timmers are kindred spirits, and their 3 person show opens this weekend at the Delaplaine Arts Center in Maryland.

Sean Hennessey creates narrative cast glass panels.

“We are not in pursuit of the perfect object, or even, necessarily, beautiful objects.” explains painter and sculptor Sean Hennessey, “We are all driven by the narratives that we bring to our work. Our content drives and informs the imagery and the form. We treat glass like another artistic media, using it as an exploration of ideas” 

Erin Antognoli, “Heading West To Find a Bridge”, detail.

“I made the switch to glass and steel sculpture after nearly two decades as a photographer,” explains photographer and sculptor Erin Antognoli, “doing anything by hand seems to have become a lost art. Therefore, as a challenge to the age of digitization, it seemed fitting to me to hand-work the physical sculpture by grinding the glass circles, welding the steel frames, and showcasing handwritten letters.”

Erwin Timmers explores ecological implications in his recycled glass sculpture.

Other artists, through kiln-glass, find a reinforcement of their artistic beliefs. “There is a directness, freedom, and honesty I feel working in glass,” says Washington Glass School co-founder, Erwin Timmers. “I’m not sure I felt quite the same way in my years of sculpting metal.” Erwin works with recycled glass, and environmental integrity informs his work. He feels that material and content are intertwined. “I believe there are no neutral materials,” explains Erwin, “I try to use materials for their intrinsic and philosophical content.”

Sean Hennessey, “Promise Locks” detail.

These artists, with work as diverse as their backgrounds, are brought together because their unique visions have helped build a new direction for glass sculpture.

Erin Antognoli, “The Optimist”

Constructing Content

US Library of Congress’ New Cast Sculptural Glass Doors

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Aerial view of US Capitol on the Mall, Washington, DC. Library of Congress is center bottom of photo.

The Washington Glass Studio (WGS) has started the creation of the new cast sculptural glass doors for the Library of Congress (LOC) in Washington, DC. The design of the project started in 2004, when the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) first asked WGS about advise on their initial proposal to replace the original historic bronze doors of the LOC Adams Building, as the doors required security and changes to be code-compliant. The AOC also sought to reference the artistic heritage of the original doors in this important United States building.

One of the original bronze door pairs by sculptor Lee Lawrie

The original (11′-0″H) bronze doors had functional issues and will be retained in their present hold-open position, recessed into architectural niches. The 16 sculpted bronze doors feature high-relief sculptures by American artist Lee Lawrie, whose best known work is the architectural sculpture on and around New York’s Rockefeller Center. Lawrie’s bronze doors were designed to commemorate the history of the written word, depicting gods of writing as well as real-life Native American Sequoyah. 

Lee Lawrie,  1877-1963,  American sculptor, best known for his architectural work at NY’s Rockefeller Center, especially for the free-standing “Atlas” sculpture.
Ogma and Sequoyah, sculpted bronze figures by Lee Lawrie. Door detail, Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, DC.
The original bronze figures depict:

The new door design incorporates cast glass panels mounted within a bronze framework,  incorporating current egress and security requirements. The kilnformed sculptural glass will be made from molds taken off the original door sculptures. Using clear Bullseye glass to cast, the sculpted glass panels will then be laminated to tempered glass for safety. The new glass doors will create a contemporary luminosity to the building entrances, while keeping the character of the historic landmark structure.

original bronze doors - east side  (top)
Design of new bronze and cast glass doors – west side (bottom)

The scale of the project has prompted a collaboration between Washington Glass Studio and Fireart Glass Studio in Portland, OR. The project “dream-team” includes (Bullseye Glass co-founder) Ray Ahlgren, Erwin Timmers, Michael Janis, Tim Tate and Sean Hennessey. 
Master mold caster, Sean Hennessey, has started the project, creating the molds from the existing bronze doors in-situ. Some photos of that process will be posted later.