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)

DPB-TOURISM-RGB

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

Have A Look Inside the Casting Kiln

A time lapse of the glass for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s fourth mirror melting, captured from inside the kiln.  The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be one member of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in 2021.The mirror is made using a unique “spin cast” process; the furnace is rotated at 5 rpm as the glass melts. This gives the mirror surface a rounded, or parabolic shape. The mirror will still require additional shaping by grinding to achieve optical tolerances, however, this spinning process saves several tons of glass and significantly shortens the annealing and grinding time because the glass is already in a parabolic shape.
Once the furnace is started, the temperature is maintained for four hours to allow the glass to melt and fill the mold. As the glass is heated it gradually becomes more fluid. Eventually it becomes fluid enough that as the oven is spinning the glass rises up the side of the furnace (the same way as if you were spinning a bucket of water). After more heating the glass becomes fluid enough that it can sink down into the mold.The glass is then cooled rapidly to 900°C (1652°F), and then cooled more slowly for three months to avoid strains in the final mirror.

Daily Art Muse Has Left The Building

>For the past two months, artist/writer Susan Lomuto of Daily Art Muse has been an apprentice for the Washington Glass School as well as three of the adjacent ceramic studios – Red Dirt Studio, Flux Studios and Ani Kasten Studio.

Susan Lomuto preps the kiln with Matthew Duffy.

Susan did the research apprenticeship as a way to gain insight into the lives of professional artists; hoping to see the how the artwork is made – the process – the success and strife – all from the perspective of the artist involved. Susan has (and will continue to) post some of the information on her blog Daily Art Muse. She also is planning on furthering the project into a book, and she wishes to create a full multi-media presentation (video, sound, photos, exhibitions) on the subject.

Susan photos Robert Kincheloe as he works on the torch.

Leaning how to make a good weld with Erwin Timmers. Salvaging glass for use in a recycled glass public art project.

This week marks the end of Susan’s DC apprenticeship – and she has posted about her farewell. Hugs all around – an we look forward to DaMuse’s writing and postings!

Click HERE to see her farewell posting (with animated photo).

(While sad to see her go – Susan hopes to return for a residency at Flux Studio this coming fall.)

"Material World" Exhibit Transcends Technique Vs Content

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Material World, an exhibition at artdc Gallery (March 12 to Sunday, April 3, 2011) focuses on artists who use non-traditional materials or tradition materials in non-standard ways to produce their work. “The commitment these artists have for their materials and craft lets their processes inform the content of the work, not overwhelm it,” notes curator Stephen Boocks. “While viewers will inevitably wonder how the works were made and will marvel at the technical prowess, the pieces selected ultimately transcend the materials used, allowing each finished object to stand on its own.”
Featuring works by Sherill Anne Gross, Michael Janis, J. T. Kirkland, Matthew Langley, Katherine Mann, and Marie Ringwald, Material World features exceptional work diverse in style and “serves as a testament to the rich pool of talented artists from or with close ties to the DC area,” adds Boocks. “These six artists at varying stages of their careers all have a clear vision of what they’re trying to achieve with their preferred media. ”

The core of this exhibition deals with artistic media - how it relates to the artist’s work and why the artist chose that medium to make their artwork. Does the material support the work or does it get in the way? Do all elements work in concert with each other to create a seamless whole? In art, as in most things, it all comes down to a delicate balance.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Two artists talks will be held: Michael Janis and Marie Ringwald on Saturday, March 19, and Matt Langley on Saturday, April 2.
Gallery hours are Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Material World
artdc Gallery at The Lustine Center
5710 Baltimore Avenue
Hyattsville, Maryland 20781


About artdc Gallery: Located in the burgeoning Arts District in Hyattsville, Maryland, just outside of DC, the artdc Gallery features painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and more by metro DC artists. For more info visit artdc.com.

More Glass Fun Facts

>Ever wonder how the clear sheets of Bullseye glass are made – how they get that distinctive ripple texture?

Well – thanks to Facebook – we can see exactly the point the glass gets its wiggle :

click on images to jump to video of BE glass rolling process

Apparently, each and every sheet gets its shimmy from the BE staff as it gets pressed from molten glass ladle out and roll-pressed into sheet form.

The Bullseye glass factory is more fun than the Keebler hollow tree.