A local customer came to us looking for a chandelier that would add lots of light to the space and have a vibrant and fun feel. The family wanted the area to be brightly lit, but also to avoid boring ceiling spots, unsightly and glaring bare bulbs and run of the mill pendant lamps…
This style of hanging plate or flower chandelier can add both light and color to a space. After looking through the many glass plates hanging on the wall in the hotshop and going through the images on the website we sat down together and our customers chose just the right size, shape and color for their space…
***image of Bob and Scott at the glory***
We worked with the finish on the hardware in the rest of the home to build a canopy for this new piece in our metal shop. It is important that all of the elements of a room tie together visually. And that is the advantage we have, in making everything here we are able to create each aspect of a design in order to fit best in the space.
The canopy we are using here is a grained steel surface that will be easy to care for and attractive in the space. In our metal shop we can create a huge variety of finishes to evoke whatever feel is most appropriate for the space….
In the end we had a beautiful and functional lighting element that adds lots of light while still functioning as a design element. Created especially for the space with the full input of the homeowner, we’re sure they’ll enjoy it for years to come. We certainly enjoyed the process of making it.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, our lives would never be the same….Part One
We got the call sometime in the fall of 2003, I remember it was very warm, perhaps it was still September? I was just coming in from a run after a day’s work in the hotshop. As I walked up the driveway Sheila met me outside and said she’d received a call from someone named Ben Salzmann. He his wife and had been shopping in downtown Madison she had noticed one of the chandeliers in a local gallery. Knowing that her husband was looking for art for his new corporate headquarters, and liking the look of my chandelier she suggested it. Ben contacted us and explaining he was looking for art for the new headquarters he was building in Sheboygan, WI for his company Acuity, he asked for some information on our company.
Calls of this nature were fairly typical at the time. There are often many enquiries before it’s decided that a project is the right fit for all parties; and I learned early on not to count my chickens before they were hatched. About a week later Ben called back and said he received the info we sent him and asked if we could propose some ideas for the space if he sent us some 3Dimensionsal renderings. If my memory serves the main part of the building was about 150′ long by about 70′ wide and 65′ high at the peak. The ends of the hall were gigantic glass walls facing East and West allowing the room to flood with morning and evening light.
Ben said that he wanted two or three sculptures about 8′ to 10′ feet long by whatever width would work for the space. Although this certainly did have my attention, there still no chickens to count. We worked quickly to produce three sets of renderings which fundamentally were enlargements of smaller works I had done. The first rendering was 3 long tapered chandeliers done in a multi-colored fashion, the second rendering was a somewhat ovoid shape in tones of blue and green and the third was three spheres of varying sizes in a blend of red, yellow and orange. The third rendering was a hit. Ben told us he loved the third rendering with the red, yellow and orange evoking the fiery sun in the windows. The only problem, he felt, was the sizes were all wrong. He wasn’t sure what it was about the sizes that he didn’t like but he said he would like to think about it for a few days.
Over the next two weeks I didn’t get much sleep. I paced around wondering what it was exactly that Ben didn’t like about the spheres. Also, how would I tackle a job that, if I landed it would be so much bigger than anything I had ever done before. When the phone finally did ring the answer shocked me. They were too small! That’s right. The spheres were too small; Ben wanted them bigger, and instead of 6′ to 8′ he wanted them 10′ to 11′. Internally, my response was no way. I couldn’t get my head around the 6′ to 8′ size, how was I possibly going to make them bigger? But, after I thought about it for a couple of days and with some encouragement from family and employees, I figured “I can do this”.
Funnily enough, that wasn’t the end of it. Just a couple of days later Ben called back again and upped the ante to no less than 15 feet in diameter and all the same size. My response was exactly the same as before. There’s no way can I pull this off, I though, not to mention the fact that the engineer for the building said the load limit was 15,000 lbs for all three spheres. And now again, on paper there was no way this was going to work… (Part Two Next Week)
Recently we received a call from a long-time customer of ours from New Jersey. He dropped in to visit and ask about one of his chandeliers. We spoke initially about changing the profile of the foyer piece in his Naples, Florida home. This opportunity seemed ideal to do an LED lighting upgrade so that got added in as well. And then, as we talked over his growing art collection it seemed obvious that this was a perfect time to do a subtle shift in the colors of the piece to add some depth and echo back the colors of other work of mine he has hanging throughout the house. After sorting out exactly where to go with the modifications and after finally getting everything scheduled we headed down to Naples.
Bill has added nine chandeliers and one sconce from Belle Mead Hot Glass to this residence over the years. As an artist it is great seeing how each one integrates into the space he chooses for it. Using color, size and profile as well as the selection of individual shapes that comprise the chandeliers he has created a thematic flow throughout his home and yet each chandelier looks unique and harmonious in its space. With our team we worked on two of them, adding to them, adjusting the overall shape and upgrading the lighting.
Naples is a beautiful town with gorgeous views of the water and lush tropical foliage. We spent a few days looking around the town of Naples and admiring the galleries and public installations there while visiting with customers who have moved there over the years and stopping in the local galleries. The light and views combined with the art and community for a very inspiring environment. Our customers graciously took us on a little meet and greet tour and wined and dined us spectacularly. Soon we began talking about bringing the glass collection outside and a conversation about sculpture in the garden began.
The homes on the waterfront in Naples have two different faces; one face they show to the street and one to the water. The challenge would be to bring the themes of the glass inside the home outside into each space while maintaining the different aesthetics that characterize the bright and open water views and the lush and private front yards. We had some great discussions over potential inspirations as we walked around the town admiring the public art and while sitting at the amazing local restaurants and watching the sky change in the evenings. And we came away from this trip with a friendly challenge to produce the perfect pieces for the front and back.