Delacey Place

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Artwork visible in the bottom of the second story swimming pool
as well on the ceiling of the lobby below.
How cool is that?

Design Notes:

DeLacey Place Pasadena, CA
Mike Balian, the owner of Toledo Homes and builder of theDeLacey place complex wanted to make the lobby of the condominium residential portion of the project inviting. From the first conversation with him the project was exciting, as he wanted to have artwork visible in the bottom of the second story swimming pool as well on the ceiling of the lobby below. How cool is that?

Working in collaboration with my former business partner, Christian Karl Janssen, we were still enraptured with a technique used in our Sea Level project. The theme of water was common to the two projects.

Using drawings I made of large curvilinear flowing forms to contain graphics mapped to photography of caustic lighting in water. Tonalities were achieved from filling the same curvilinear forms with paintings to control that. Color choices were made.

There is a progression of tonality as a person enters the lobby from cool tones to warmer tones as one walks towards the elevators. The five panels making up the project are, in that respect, a single canvas.

Projects like this are by their very nature collaborative efforts. Hundreds of hands were put to work to achieve it and every contribution was essential to the art plan and to the execution and installation of the artwork.

The glass, being overhead, had to be laminated. Stained glasses from the famed and venerable Lamberts Studios in Germany were selected. Peter’s Glasmalerie, an art glass fabrication studio of a century and more, cut the shapes of the glass from cartoons that were drawn, scanned, digitized and sent to them through the Internet.

This stained glass, having been hand-blown by Lamberts was flashed glass. That is while the glass was still molten but cooling pigment was added and the color stayed close to the surface. Flashed glass allows the removal of the color through abrasive techniques, so the stained glass was sandblasted with subtractivefiles supplied by our studio to Peters. The glass was to be liquid laminated to interlocking panels that make up each vignette in the promenade of the design. These panels, the substrate, were made from laminated OptiWhite (low iron) glass, or white glass,so crystal clear that it would not dilute the colors of the stained glass when laminated to it.

This process, liquid lamination, is common in Europe, but generally unavailable here in The States. This OptiWhite substrate was then painted and the paint fired into the glass for an additional layer of art in the transparent media sandwich. Digital files supplied by us again achieved the designs for the black paint. The complexity of the layers of interacting art carried by superimposed transparent media resulted in a kinetic phenomenon, as we knew it would. What were not foreseen were the fortuitous affects of the volume of water above the work. Light from the sun, streaming through the water, then through the glass beneath the pool, projects shimmering colored patterns on the polished stone floors that travel across the lobby as the sun traverses the sky.

Now, you may wonder where the hundreds of hands statement mentioned above comes in. The owner, then his architect and engineers were the first people to have a hand in the evolution of the design. An engineering firm specializing in glass floors was consulted and submitted recommendations and specifications regarding code and structural considerations. It was necessary to thicken the pool floor and to lower the lobby ceiling to accommodate the glass. The glass was made and shipped to the fabricators where artisans and craftsmen laboriously worked through the dictated processes of cutting, blasting, firing, laminating, crating and shipping. Meanwhile, Stateside, engineers at Pacific Westline were busy planning the installation. Tri Pyramid Corporation supplied machined hardware to affix the glass to the architecture. Nine specially made crates were carefully unpacked and plywood templates were made to prove placement for the glass install. One by one the panels were lifted into place and were attached to the lobby ceiling, pool floor.

Artists, architects, engineers, glassmakers, glass cutters, silk screen makers, kiln operators, crane and forklift operators, crate carpenters, freight shipping personnel, truck drivers, city building department persons, lift operators, hardware machinists, and all of their support trades and crafts and others worked for a year to deliver this project. Every single person was essential to the process. To have so many people devote energy to Fine Art in today’s world, with the sole purpose of elevating the human spirit goes a long way towards the quest for the good, the truth, and the beautiful, inspiring pride in what many skilled hands working together can do.