Acuity Installation, part 2, It’s Done!

That moment when Bob installed the last pieces on the first sphere was very sweet. With one down and one to go we left the first sphere to the expertise of Alfredo and Bob and went to sample some of Wisconsin’s  famous fried cheese curds…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob puts the last few pieces into the top…

 

 

I don’t have any pictures of those cheese curds for you. They were gone that fast! Hard work, anticipation and satisfaction coupled with deliciousness make for big appetites and they were gone in a blink.

 

 

The spheres are endlessly fascinating as they transform. One of the things that draws artists towards working with this kind of project is the way they seem to grow and transform organically into their final shapes as they are assembled.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
looking through one open panel into the other side and seeing the sphere from the inside out

 

 

Even after the months spent making the thousands of glass horns and steel pins and washers and clips, and testing and re-testing the fits – it just doesn’t stop being beautiful as it passes through the stages towards completion.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Each time you look down at the piece it is different and beautiful.

After that the process seemed to flow like water. The employees at Acuity came by on their lunch breaks to remark on the work and the progress and we really relaxed into the rhythm of the work.

 

 

 

one-down-second-on-the-way
With one sphere completed we begin to make real progress on the second

 

 

 

 

As we worked on the second sphere it was hard to keep from looking over as Alfredo and Bob of Hennes worked to hoist and then secure the first sphere into it’s final mount about 25′ above.

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob of Hennes making the switch from temporary to permanent mounts. Nerve-wracking!

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Alfredo of Hennes keeps a watchful eye

 

its coming for you....
Just playing with amazing backlight and some tilt shift …

After 6 days in Sheboygan we finally installed the last pieces on the last sphere. Alfredo and Bob from Hennes were standing by to hoist and secure the sphere and we were rushing to pack our tools into one little crate to ship home and pack ourselves off to the airport.

Flag at Acuity Insurance
rather grand isn’t it?
Read about this gigantic flag at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acuity_Insurance

Ben Salzmann, President and CEO of Acuity Insurance company came and filled our pockets with Acuity goodies for the plane ride home. I’m wearing that sweatshirt as I type this! And Kurt Lodl took us into the hardhat area to see the progress on the campus’ next expansion. So, thank you to Ben Salzmann, who started this whole big idea, and Sheri Murphy, Vice President of Services and Administration, who administered through all the process (thank you) and Kurt Lodl and all the rest of the Acuity team who were so kind and welcoming. We look forward to working with you all again soon!

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
One of the original Blue Spheres

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3 of the original 7 sisters by Belle Mead Hot Glass for Acuity Insurance company
This gif of the spheres was originally captured on the app Fyuse. Look for #bellemeadhotglass on Fyuse and post your images back to us

Check out #bellemeadhotglass on your social media of choice. The above video is a 3D photograph when viewed on the free app FYUSE. They don’t sponsor us or anything, we just love to share images of this stuff in 3 dimensions. If you have a great picture of something from Belle Mead Hot Glass post it to us on Instagram, Fyuse, Facebook, Houzz and hashtag it #bellemeadhotglass or email it to us here at the website. It would mean alot to us if you did.

Almost! Acuity Installation, the last step, part 1

And so, after three and a half months of constant work and preparations we had the Acuity installation extension ready to go.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
We are going to fill this truck!

10 Pallets composed of 8 double-tall boxes each, measuring 4′ x 4 x 7′ plus the two metal spheres were assembled on our loading dock and carefully maneuvered onto an air ride trailer. For this kind of installation we simply hire the entirety of a truck. Moving this fragile load and coordinating the meetings between the glass and ourselves and the crews onsite can be a tricky thing. So, working with one driving team and their representatives can simplify things for us. This time, our driver was great and stayed in contact with us throughout the 48 hours that the transit took. He even stopped to text and see that we were ok when a storm caused flight delays on what he anticipated would be our route. And do you know what? It was a good thing he did, because we were delayed! It is a pleasure to work with people who are so considerate and care so much about their job. (thanks Mekonen!)

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob moving one of the many pallets for the installation as we create a little art logjam on the loading dock.

Here we are unloading the truck… This was a whole lot of glass to move and get sorted. Each box contained pieces assigned to a specific sphere, and further to a panel on the sphere. Much time was spent jockeying these all into position. We were very grateful for the continuous and thoughtful help of Kurt Lodl, the Director of Facility Projects.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The spheres that looked so giant in the studio look cute in this space. But, they’re about to get nearly 6′ wider!

 

Although the staff here is pretty well qualified in hanging glass from ceilings… these spheres were big and also heavy!

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Alfredo and Bob the riggers from Hennes standing behind their lifts and making plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for us, we had two great riggers from Hennes. Alfredo and Bob were great and we were glad to have them there taking care of the hanging of the spheres. Initially, the spheres are suspended only about 5′ off the floor. This allowed us to start hanging the spheres from down low.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The first sphere of this installation with the first panel installed. Only 39 panels and ooooh, about 2,886 pieces of glass to go.

 

 

Having the sphere within reach of the ground is a great deal easier than working on the scaffolds or lifts. After a few panels we began to get into the swing of things and find our flow.

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
and this is how we know where to put things…

 

 

 

That first day of hanging pieces was very long. Although we had tested and retested and trouble shot everything over and over back at the shop and this was even the second time we had installed these spheres for Acuity, there were still some nervous moments. But before long, our progress was evident even to our professional worrier and our system had proved itself.

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

The bottom panels of the first sphere completed, it looks ready to float away on a deep sea current.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this image you can see the second sphere in its temporary position further down the hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of day one…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Coming to the end of a day… See? it is always fascinating to look at!

About two years ago we finished the installation of one of the previous blog topics: this set of sculptures in the lobby of Embassy Suites at LAX.

These sculptures (they are spot lit from below instead of lit from within) were designed to bring some color and light to this very large, very tall atrium.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Although the space is not too high to hang them from the ceiling, due to earthquake considerations, it was determined that they wold be most secure if mounted on these metal poles.
Recently we we flew back out to LA to set do a little work on these three pieces and thought it would be a good time to update that blog…

 
The atrium of the hotel had undergone a huge renovation during the intervening years. And, although the sculptures were often draped the dust had accumulated through the renovating and redecorating process. This type of cleaning isn’t often necessary, but after such a messy and complex renovation it is often a good idea to finish the redecorating process with a deep clean of the work. And so, with the cleaning and re-hang already on the table we began talking about any changes that the hotel might wish to make.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

The atrium had been changed over from a warm pale gold tone to be subtle ecru with warm dark wood and blue accents. The colors of the glass still functioned beautifully in place. In the morning they glow like little suns and in the evening, when the glass ceiling above is dark and the sculptures are lit from below, they create a warm, cozy feeling inside the giant space of the atrium. But, this was an ideal opportunity to add just that kind of touch that finishes a space.

 

 

In consultation with the designers and decorators, investors and management we chose to integrate a small amount of blue into the sculptures. To do this we worked in two colors of blue. These blues, when viewed in various lighting conditions, blend the blues of the new accent colors thoroughly into the glass.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

After taking all of the glass down, we cleaned each piece with glass cleaner and soft cloths and then began to re-hang the chandelier. As we re-hung the pieces we intermixed the two blue tones and the new blue plates in proportion with the red and yellow and orange that comprised the originals.

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Overall the effect is striking. At night, when the chandelier is lit from below, the effect is much more dramatic than before. And during the day the bright spots of blue definitely catch your eye and connect the glass more closely to the accents scattered throughout the great atrium space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

 

We’re recently begun tagging posts on a new app called Fyuse. This app allows us to show you a great 3-dimensional view of a chandelier. It’s free and a whole lot of fun. If you download it, just search for the hashtag #bellemeadhotglass. Hope to see you there!

Parx Casino Part One

Our Next large Scale Work

 

Our next big job came from the people at Parks Casino. This one was interesting on a few levels. First, it was a challenge because there was a fast approaching deadline. We were approached with the project in June and were expected to deliver in November.Usually a project of this size can use two months just deciding the basics such as size,colors, and the look and feel of the project. There are usually at least three rounds of back and fourth decision making before production starts. But in this case the owners were very hands on and were able to move things along nicely.

 

The scope of the job was simple enough, 2 chandeliers measuring 15’L x 10’W x 8’H and one larger chandelier measuring 18’L x 12′ W x 10′ H to be centered between the two smaller ones. This was the first time we had incorporated the two elements of the horns shapes and glass plates together. There were a lot of issues to resolve to make these pieces work together. In previous installations the horns had generally just hung from the framework of the chandelier. What we had to figure out was how to cantilever the plates off of that framework and articulate them so that they could be positioned just where we wanted them. What I came up with was a telescoping, double-jointed gizmo that we could bolt to the frame and then extend out and position precisely, mounting the plate at the end of the arm and further articulating the angle of the plate in its socket at the end of the arm.  The horn shapes could then be hung to flow out around the plates as you see in the pictures.

Another challenge in this project was organizing the installation. Because we didn’t belong to the union involved in the construction we had union members come to the studio and learn our installation process so that they could assemble the chandeliers onsite. We created a process together and the job came together smoothly.

Then, came the real test! Around July we were asked to produce Tapestry.  This work is composed of three ceiling panels measuring 45′ x 16′ filled with about eight hundred individually blown glass plates each measuring between 24″ to 40″ in diameter. Again, this all had to be engineered, produced and delivered by November. With the Casino opening scheduled for sometime in December our team went from six to nine people overnight. We worked seven day weeks from July to November to bring the project in on time. I don’t think I had a single day off, but in the end, the owners were thrilled with our work.

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.