Virginia Beach Public Library Glass Fireplace

In the beginning

On or about May 1st Belle Mead Hot Glass was contacted by Neva White Of the Virginia Public Library. She told us that the library had an L shaped fireplace that was originally intended to be an actual working fireplace. The problem was the zoning and permitting process was cost prohibitive, So she wanted to know if we had any thoughts on how we could fill the space. which was a 12 foot by 8 foot long 4 foot high and 36 inches deep. Neva provided us with a couple of photos and an architectural rendering. At some point I was introduced to Matt. Who was helpful in deciding some of the details of the project such as lighting. He thought it would be nice if the installation could be lit from underneath which could simulate a fire effect. What we decided on was a series of about 40 LED strip lights would be controlled using a DMX controller (DMX512, a communications protocol that is most commonly used to control stage lighting and effects). The effect was great each node or  strip was being altered or controlled by the controller to create a fire effect.

What’s next

We spent a few minutes talking about some possibilities. and began the process of making samples. we provided a 1/2 dozen shapes using different colors and techniques.


After a specific style and range of colors was decided upon, we started making a small scale mock-up which led to a full scale piece which we submitted for approval.


A critical  point was that it had to be installed before the end of June.

Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ

Belle Mead Hot Glass is proud to announce that we have been asked to complete a project for Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ. In 2007, Belle Meade Hot Glass was initially contracted to create a ceiling display – a fiery chandelier which is the centerpiece of their main dining room.

Belle Meade Hot Glass is currently building three separate ceiling displays. Each piece will measure 6’x10′. In total this installation will require over 120 individual plates. It is expected to be completed over the next three months.

Read more information about our completed installation and Restaurant Nicholas here.

Belle Mead Hot Glass featured in the Montgomery Sun

The Montgomery Sun featured Belle Mead Hot Glass in their July 2012 edition. The author spent time with Robert Kuster and his team to learn about life in the studio. The article depicts what life is like inside a glass blowing studio (during a summer heat wave!) – as well as highlights some basic facts about Kuster’s better known installations.

The article also gives the history of Belle Mead Hot Glass – from Kuster’s humble beginnings as an amateur glass blower to a nationally recognized artist. Belle Mead Hot Glass is located on Rt. 206 (Southbound) and borders Belle Mead and Hillsborough, NJ. You can read the full article here.

SeaWorld in Orlando, FL

In 2004, Belle Mead Hot Glass was asked to complete a display for SeaWorld, Orlando. Robert Kuster, owner, drew inspiration from the architects, designers, and owners of the facility.

Says Kuster, “It was a collaborative effort with each person contributing artistic ideas and creative elements blended with sound mechanical design. We drew inspiration from one another.”

The result, two 18′ x 12′ displays suspended from the ceiling of the main building. Both displays give the impression of life under the sea, allowing visitors to have the sensation of walking beneath the ocean.

Restaurant Nicholas

The artistic centerpiece of the main dining room is a large fiery chandelier designed by Belle Mead Hot Glass. The project was completed in 2006 and was a collaboration between Nicholas Harary, chef and owner of Restaurant Nicholas, and Robert Kuster of Belle Mead Hot Glass. The chandelier is back lit so that warm light is diffused throughout the dining area which compliments the serene atmosphere of the room.

Belle Mead Hot Glass was asked to complete a second project for Restaurant Nicholas. Three ceiling plate displays are in production now. Each piece will measure 6’x10′ and when completed will be comprised of about 120 individual plates. This piece will most likely be installed within the next three months.

Since 2000, Restaurant Nicholas has been one of the premier restaurant destinations in America. With his no-nonsense approach to New American cuisine, Chef Nicholas Harary and his wife Melissa have redefined modern fine dining absent of the big city. Located in Red Bank, NJ, an hour south of New York City, Restaurant Nicholas has garnered some of the highest praises from all avenues of the food industry including; four stars from the New York Times, and a 29/30 in both food and service from the Zagat Survey (2005-present). In 2008, AOL named Restaurant Nicholas one of the top 11 restaurants in the country. In 2011 and 2012, Restaurant Nicholas was included in Gayot’s list of the Top 40 Restaurants in the US. Restaurant Nicholas is currently celebrating its 12 year anniversary and has achieved nationwide recognition for its carefully crafted menus, exquisite cuisine, hospitable service and décor. In addition to dining in the restaurant, guests enjoy visiting the namesake bar, Bar N, where bartenders serve signature martinis and meticulously crafted seasonal cocktails.

Resorts World Casino


As you drive up to the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Race Track in Ozone park New York, you are welcomed with three glass panels illuminating the porte-cochere with an image of the Manhattan skyline. The centerpiece is a 28′ long structure accompanied by two 18′  pieces to complete the effect. All are back lit to create a stunning night display.

Moving into the lobby you are greeted by two flame chandeliers – both a brilliant orange in color. As you move throughout building lighting created by Belle Meade Hot Glass is visible throughout the entire raceway.

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“Belle Mead Hot Glass worked alongside JCJ Architecture for 7 months to create a total of 26 pieces of art which are visible throughout the  raceway – 2 chandeliers, 8 sconces, 2 metal and glass domed ceiling fixtures, 9 sets of beaded clusters, lighting for the Liberty Bar, and the centerpiece – the “Light of Nations” chandelier. ”

The Light of Nations Sculpture


The centerpiece, referred to as the Light of Nations Sculpture welcomes people of all nations to the Aqueduct Raceway. With 193 individual hand-blown glass bulbs representing each of the United Nations member countries around the globe, this installation captures the essence and international flavor of Resorts World Casino New York City.

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“Each bulb in this 60-foot-high and 12-foot-wide sculpture has been carefully inscribed with each individual country’s name, all in the same distinctive font used by the New York City subway system – a stylistic homage to our dynamic host city of New York.”

 The installation was designed to represent the vastness of our world and all is citizens. The constantly rotating and ever changing lights represent the unique nature of all of the various cultures around the globe.

PARX Casino


Work by Belle Mead Hot Glass is displayed throughout the Parx Casino located in Ben Salem, Pa.  As your enter the casino your eye is drawn to the ceiling where you will see three 40′ plate glass displays. Each display is comprised of over 800 individual plates, each measuring 20-36 inches.   The main casino is adorned with three large chandeliers hanging as the focal point in the room. The center peice measures 15’ by 8’ by 10’ deep while the two side pieces measure 12’x7’x8’.  About 6,000 individual glass pieces are in all three chandeliers to create a stunning color and light effect combining both plates and tendril glass. Before leaving the casino, you should also visit the noodle bar where you can see 18 pendant lights dancing like ribbons over the bar.

“A total of 3 chandeliers, 3 ceiling displays, 8 pendants, 2 plate glass wall displays, plus hundreds of decorative pieces adorn the walls, and ceilings of the Parx Casino creating a stunning display of light and color throughout the entire building.”

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Acuity Insurance

Ben Salzmann, president and CEO of Acuity, a large insurance company based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was vacationing with his wife in a small Wisconsin town when their eyes were drawn to a stunning assemblage of glass icicles in a gallery window. At first glance, the Salzmanns thought it might be a Chihuly, but on closer inspection they discovered it was a Kuster—a name not yet known to them.

As it happened, Salzmann was looking to commission an artist to create a permanent installation in the galleria of Acuity’s new, 450,000-square-foot headquarters. After meeting with Kuster, Salzmann gave him the job and never looked back.

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“I met him and just said, ‘This is someone I can count on,’” Salzmann recalls. “We live in a world of risk, but the thing I’ve learned is that when you see a human being you trust, you go with it. He’s an outstanding artist, without the depression and the despair. He’s not a Van Gogh cutting off his ear. He brings joy.”

Kuster created more than 14,000 handblown glass tendrils and assembled them into seven spherical chandeliers, each 12 to 15 feet in diameter. The painstaking process, as well as the striking results, was recorded in a PBS documentary, “The Seven Sisters, A Creation in Glass”, which aired in 2005. Kuster earned a fee of $1 million for The Seven Sisters, as the project came to be known. Hanging in Acuity’s glass-enclosed galleria with its 50- and 100-foot ceilings, the illuminated globes are visible from a nearby highway. Salzmann says people often pull over and get out of their cars just to look at Kuster’s work.