The Washington Glass Studio was established in 2001 to deliver artwork and creativity into the public realm by creating site specific art for architectural and landscape environments. The Washington Glass Studio is directed by three artists: Michael Janis, Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers. Each of the artists brings their backgrounds in steel and glass sculpture, electronics and video media, architectural design, and ecological sustainability.
At the Washington Glass Studio, the process used to create the artwork is as important as the finished artwork. Our philosophy focuses on the use of sustainable design, approaching each project with environmental integrity at every step.
The Washington, DC Real Estate and Architecture blog — DC Mud — wrote a profile of the WGS architectural design projects – Jump to the article by Beth Herman.
American Craft Magazine featured one of the studio’s architectual projects – the design and fabrication of the cast glass doors for the U.S. Library of Congress Adams Building doors in the July 2013 issue – Jump to the article in American Craft.
Green Community Gateway, Washington, DC
The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities commissioned the sculpture for the new Unity Healthcare facility in Washington, DC The design of the public artwork was intended to mark the symbolic entrance to the Kenilworth / Parkside section of DC’s Ward 7. After meeting with community representatives, the WGS team focused on themes that were strongly held. A “Community Gateway Arch” became the vision for the placemaking sculpture that would help identify the new environment. The glass panel insets in the 16′ tall sculpture would be made with the help of the neighborhood residents, students of the high school, and the staff of the new Unity Healthcare facility. The use of internal LED lighting allows a spectacular presentation at night.
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
The original doors for the US Library of Congress Adams Building were designed in 1939 by Lee Lawrie, the sculptor whose “Atlas” sculpture graces NYC’s Rockefeller Center. The doors are massive bronze works, depicting 13 mythological and historical figures of language and learning. Over time, they had begun to fail, straining at the hinges, and the doors didn’t meet modern building codes. Rather than altering the historic doors to address these issues, the Architect of the Capitol made a bold decision; in addition to conserving the Lawrie doors, they would reinterpret these unique Adams Building features in glass. Taking molds from the original doors on-site, Washington Glass Studio teamed up with Ray Ahlgren and FireArt Glass to create the new artwork for the historic landmark.
Safeway Inc., Bethesda, MD
Safeway recently completed construction of a LEED certified supermarket as part of Safeway’s commitment to “greening” its stores. Safeway commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to design and integrate artwork created using sustainable design into the architectural façade of the building. The wall of artwork will activate the street along the Bradley Street façade, and marks the first public artwork commission by the national supermarket chain for its stores. Over 40 feet long and over 10 feet high, the glass and steel artwork provides a strong visual element . The new building acts as a “civic gateway” to Bethesda’s Central Business District. Responding to the architectural design by Rounds VanDuzer Architects, the large scale artwork will feature colorful cast recycled glass made from glass salvaged from the original Safeway supermarket on the same site.
Site Specific Artwork for Building Lobby, Bethesda, MD
Washington Glass Studio recently completed commissions for artwork in a refurbished downtown Bethesda building lobby. Working with the developers’ art consultants, Washington Glass Studio created artwork for two levels of an office building that was undergoing a major renovation. The floor-to-ceiling glass artwork was designed to be fully backlit with LED panels, giving the artwork a strong visual punch.
Prince George’s County Circuit Court, Upper Marlboro, MD
This public artwork is the second work for Prince George’s County Courts. Washington Glass Studio collaborated with artist Alonzo Davis. The sculpture is made using the original bell tower cupola salvaged from the disastrous fire that destroyed the courthouse in 2004.
The structure and copper dome were cleaned and made good, and modified to accommodate artwork elements that include cast recycled glass formed into images of the community and the legal system, sandcarved panels with the County Seals for each of the Counties served by the Circuit Court, and a neon bell symbolizing the original bell that would toll each day at 9.30 am when the Court was in session. Titled “Rebirth and Renewal”, the artwork is testament to a proud community and its ability to overcome adversity.
New Orleans AIDS Memorial, New Orleans, LA
This design was the winning entry from an international design competition. Set in the historic Washington Square Park, the New Orleans AIDS Memorial will provide a healing sanctuary for family and friends and will promote understanding of the human tragedy of the AIDS epidemic. The goal for the monument was to create a public landscape where anyone who has been touched by AIDS can find comfort and consolation within a dignified and creative community setting. The memorial, made of concentric steel rings framing inspirational multicultural cast glass faces, will provide a powerful yet comforting reminder of the meaning behind the memorial.
Food & Friends Donor Wall, Washington, DC
Charity organization Food & Friends commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to create an outdoor memorial that was also a donor recognition wall, to be installed in the landscaped grounds of their Washington, DC facility. Bas-relief cast glass panels in complementary colors are set into a steel framework that allows light to pass thru the memorial wall and create colors and patterns on the surrounding plaza. The recognition panels are inset into the glass, so that names can be added on an ongoing basis. The variety of sizes permits donations of differing amounts to be recognized. The “Garden of Remembrance” opened in September 2009. The nature of the glass panels encourages tactile investigation and contemplative interaction.
Food & Friends Outdoor Monument, Washington, DC
Food & Friends commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to create an outdoor memorial that consisted of a towering obelisk located in their landscaped gardens. The tower, made with cast glass and steel is 18′H.
Palomar Hotel, Washington, DC
The new luxury boutique hotel in Dupont Circle wanted to project its high-end art house design commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to provide the signature lobby sculpture apart of the hotel’s “Art In Motion” theme.
Made of cast glass, glass with fused imagery and steel, the sculpture was coordinated to enhance the ‘modern elegance’ of the dramatic two-story hotel lobby. 2007 Winner – Best Art category – Boutique Hotel Magazine.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD
The newly completed Hatfield Clinic at the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD incorporated cast glass panels between the reception and the patient consulting area. The deep relief panels were made with ‘healing’ imagery and were designed to form a privacy break while being artwork in its own right. The staggered arrangement of the panels allows for cleaning and maintenance of the glass wall.
Liberty Center, Ballston, VA
Washington Glass Studio designed, fabricated and installed the public artwork for Liberty Center, the new one million square foot mixed-use development in the Washington, DC suburb of Ballston, VA. The cast glass and steel mural, titled ‘Tapestry of Community’, incorporates vibrant colors and high relief textures, highlighting areas where the commercial, residential and retail spaces all share a lively plaza and landscaped park. The artwork has received accolades for the visual drama of the ‘flowing, glistening banners’.
Prince George’s County Courthouse, Upper Marlboro, MD
The new Marbury wing of the expanded Prince George’s County Court complex recycles copper from the historic Duvall wing that was destroyed by fire in 2004. Abstracted and direct imagery from the Prince George’s County, the surrounding area and state were integrated into the recycled glass and steel artwork as a way of making the artwork resonate with the community.
LEED Certified Building Lobby, Washington, DC
The owner and the designers of an environmentally conscious building then under construction at 1129 20th St. NW, Washington, DC, turned to WGS to create a site-specific sustainable artwork piece that would keep in the nature of the building’s LEED gold certified design. Working together with Fox Architects and the building owner, the artwork’s vertical orientation echoes the architectural aspects of the space; mounted atop the subtle white limestone wall. The building and its lobby are very minimalist in design and the texture from the strong artwork provides a beautiful contrast.
The use of recycled window glass was central to the artist Erwin Timmers’ artwork concept, as window glass (aka float glass) is one of the least recycled building materials. Less than 3% percent of discarded float glass is recycled, and this project provided the opportunity to divert at least some from the waste stream.
Montgomery County Veterans Memorial, Rockville, MD
Montgomery County commissioned Washington Glass Studio to create its Fallen Heroes Memorial, which is part of the Judicial Center Annex that was dedicated November 11, 2014. The new plaza area integrates the LED illuminated sculpture with a water fountain, new trees, benches and a Memorial Walkway.
Warehouse Gallery and Arts Complex, Washington, DC
Washington Glass Studio artists created cast glass logo insets for Washington, DC alternate arts complex ‘Warehouse Arts’. The illuminated floor and bar glass panels are part of the arts center desire for strong visual effects featured throughout the space.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University medical complex in Nashville, TN, recently opened its new Critical Care Tower. The University commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to create cast glass panels for the nurse’s stations on a number of floors within the new hospital. We wanted to bring the natural world into the medical center. Our goal was to give the patients and caregivers a place that felt restful – a place of healing and renewal. Our inspiration for the artwork was to have the feel of swirling masses of delicate oak, poplar, tulip, gingko and maple leaves in an autumn breeze. Each leaf is detailed, including curved stems and crisp leaf veins. The different level of the hospital would have unique swirling leaf patterns, allowing for differentiation and orientation.
American Physical Society, Baltimore, MD
The American Physical Society commissioned Washington Glass Studio to create an educational artwork to be featured in its commemorative poster for the ‘World Year of Physics’. “A New World View” is now on display at the group entrance of the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD
Rosedale Community Park, Bethesda, MD
The park created as part of a new residential and retail development in Bethesda, MD. It has cast glass bench fronts at the entrance to the park and the park gates have inset cast glass panels. The entrance to the development also features a glass mosaic centerpiece inset flush into the paving.
US Environmental Protection Agency Headquarter, Washington, DC
The EPA Headquarters converted their outdoor courtyard to become an educational low-impact rain run-off project. Using recycled components, the downtown courtyard has become a leading example of eco-art and is a model program by the US Government.