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Glass Art Architectural Integration Process by Chris Gillard

I thought it might be beneficial to note some of the unique process points and considerations in the development of an architectural integration of my Fragile Landscapes works into a building design, whether residential or commercial.

Depending on the building project, each particular process will invariably have unique aspects related to that project, but in general, these are the main considerations.

  1. Existing image or commissioned image?

In most cases people are looking for an image to provide a certain feel and mood that reflects the intent of the architectural vision or adds a new layer to their design idea. There is always the option to look at my existing portfolio of landscape images (as well as other work) or an image concept can be briefed to me to capture specifically for the job. The main difference here is budget and time.

Commissioned landscape images are more expensive, but they are yours alone and unique to the job, while existing images may have been printed in limited release and may exist in other formats.

An existing image has the obvious benefit that it is already produced and ready to go; it can be developed into a Fragile Landscapes layered glass artwork virtually immediately. A commissioned image is a more expensive proposition, because it is bespoke and captured specifically for the purpose of the project. There is a great degree of time and effort that goes into developing a new image and many other variables. Having said that, this approach is beneficial to the end result in that the image integration is significantly more aligned and matched to the vision behind the architectural project, while the image will also never be used in any other context (aside from filming and photographing for marketing purposes) meaning the artwork is totally unique and original with its value relative to this. You will have a genuine collectible artwork integrated fully into your building space and it will never appear anywhere else.

2. Project Image Prototype Development

Fragile Landscapes artworks are multi-layered. Before integrating an artwork into a building project, the image needs to be developed as a prototype to test for the best colour layer combination among other artistic considerations. For example, some images work best with a blue layer at the front and black at the back. Others work well with green at the front and blue at the back.

Prototypes are normally developed smaller than the size of the actual job, but at the same size ratio. A two metre square glass dividing wall might be produced as a much smaller square (say 50cm x 50cm) as a prototype. You will get to see the 3D effect of the image before it is produced and get a good feel for how it might work when integrated into the architectural design at the larger scale.

Prototypes can be developed on glass or clear, non reflective perspex.

3. Type and Thickness of Glass

Depending on the architectural integration and the context of the artwork, consideration will need to be given to the type of glass used and its thickness. Coloured or tinted glass may also be something to look at. Glaziers will often have great ideas and glass product examples that may be appropriate to a project so it’s always worth a discussion.

4. On Site Construction of Artwork

Fragile Landscapes artworks are developed large scale on a number of individual glass panels, each of which have a different print layer applied. For large scale architectural integrations it is necessary to apply the print layer directly onto the glass panels on site. Great care needs to be taken at this point, with print application onto glass requiring a dust free environment to maintain its absolute integrity. A marquee set up for the task is a good solution. At least 24 hours needs to be given to each sheet that has had a print layer applied to it, allowing it to set and dry before it can be taken into final construction.

5. Internal Lighting of Artworks

Whether or not the artwork is specifically ‘lit’ either internally or externally via artificial light , or whether it will be lit only by natural and ambient light is a consideration to discuss early on in the project. There are different types of strip lighting or internal lighting that may or may not be appropriate for use in a Fragile Landscapes architectural integration but this approach may not suit the overall idea or may not be practical in application. External spot lighting may be a better solution, or a totally natural feel, an artwork with no direct lighting that relies only on natural light might be the best approach in some instances.

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