Posted: 7 years ago

Using Decorative Glass to Create an Urban Forest

Nature has inspired artistic creativity for centuries. Whether it be a work of art made to capture the night sky, a sculpture designed to mimic a natural waterfall, or a building facade designed to look like a bird’s nest, often, our greatest source of inspiration comes from the world around us. This is true of works created by world-renowned artist Spencer Finch, whose numerous art installations are based on elements found in nature such as landscapes, bodies of water, or the color of the sky.

When expanding the Amazon headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, an area known for it’s upscale aesthetic, it was important for Vulcan, the developer, to create a modern space that would positively impact both the tenants and the public. As part of the design, Vulcan wanted to link the office and public space together with an architectural canopy. However, as big supporters of public art in the area, they wanted to add a creative, artistic element to the classic canopy design. To achieve this, they enlisted the help of Spencer Finch, who began to develop a design that would suit both the building and the Seattle area.

Finch’s imagination was sparked as he contemplated how to translate the architectural canopy into something that occurs naturally, like a canopy of trees. As Seattle is surrounded by the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, he began his design journey by taking a simple walk through the woods. During his hike, he took photos up through the trees to discover what shapes were formed by the overlapping leaves and how the light was filtered through the trees. From there, it was up to Finch to replicate this feeling of a walk through the woods, in an urban setting.

To create his design, Finch translated the leaves into an abstract circular pattern, using five different hues and opacities to control and vary the amount of light filtered through. Working with Finch’s design team, Goldray Glass then printed the design onto a technographic interlayer film, before laminating it between two lites of glass. Using this method ensured the correct depth and vibrancy of color was achieved, while making the glass safe for use in an overhead canopy installation.

The completed piece was titled “There is Another Sky”, a reference to an Emily Dickinson poem. The second part of There is Another Sky is located at ground level, where Finch installed 100 “fireflies” in the form of colored LED lights. The lights begin to flicker at twilight and are programmed to match the random flight pattern of a firefly. Once complete, the plaza is nothing short of an urban oasis, featuring a flowing stream, heated outdoor seating, and lush landscaping. The effect of There is Another Sky on passersby is immediate, as it encourages them to slow down, relax, and take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature, in the heart of Seattle.

Goldray Glass was thrilled to have been a part of bringing Spencer Finch’s artistic vision to life and we continue to work on many exciting projects with his team. For more design inspiration, please join us on Instagram,  FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter where we regularly post project pictures and case studies as we build our community of industry professionals.  If you’d like to work with a member of our team, please call us at 1-800-640-3709 or email us at [email protected] and we’d be more than happy to assist you with your next design.



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