Inspiration Blog
Glass + Art = 8 artists who transform space and light with glass

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The art of making amazing craft and sculptures of glass has existed for many centuries.  This unique material is light and transparent and symbolizes openness and aspiration for the future. Designers have learned to combine the unique visual characteristics of glass with its extraordinary functionality. The variety of possible shapes and shades allows artists to play around with the material and go beyond boundaries of tradition and imagination.

When we think about glass as material in art, usually the first things that come to mind are antique stained-glass windows or glass crafts from the Venetian island Murano. We feel that the 40th anniversary of glass recycling in the Netherlands is an excellent occasion to select the most inspiring contemporary installations and sculptures made of glass.

Photo credit: Ole Hein Pedersen

Your Rainbow Panorama is a large, circular walkway designed by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson situated on the roof of the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum. The museum’s rooftop passage has a 360-degree view of the city landscape in full color spectrum. The glass pathway continues the concept of the museum building which is based on Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and symbolically connects Heaven and Underworld.

This colorful glass walkway connects the visitors of the museum with the city and literally displays the world in brighter light!

Photo credit: Krupic Kersting Gallery

The quote “The mind is everything. The material is the servant of spiritual’’ (R. Martin Gard) is key to understand the idea behind the installation. Baptiste Debombourg prefers the use of everyday materials such as glass or wood and transforms them into vibrant artworks with their own narrative. Aérial was the first glass installation created for the Abbey Brauweiler, which was supposed to become a new cultural space. This installation shows how glass can be used to entirely reconstruct a space and give a new meaning and appearance to common objects.

Photo credit: @chihulygg

Artist Dale Chihuly has a passion for glass. Over the years, he has created many beautiful art installations using the functionality of glass as material in various ways. This resulted in an outstanding open-air museum where we find a harmonious combination of nature and glass artworks. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a manifestation for glass art and exhibits fantastic sculptures.

Photo credit: Ed Jansen

In her work, Maria Roosen experiments with shapes of human organs or plants. Brest Berries is one of her famous glass works which shows her master skills in hand-blowing glass. The contrast between light bright colors and hard shapes of the sculptures combined with an ironical approach are unmistakable features of all Roossen’s artworks. Breast Berries reveals her talent to create unrealistic artworks out of real life objects.

“Heaven” by Hans van Bentem. Photo credit: Erik and Petra Hesmerg

The glass art works by Hans van Bentem are hard to define in a simple way. His large scale sophisticated sculptures stand for the long-established tradition of glass making and connect to the historical roots of glass art. However, the style of Van Bentem very much belong to modern visual culture, is full of irony and exaggerates forms of objects. His unique masterly made glass sculptures are genuine examples of post-modern art practices that refer to tradition and famous art symbols, but remain vibrant and stylish in the present day.  

Photo credit: Stefan Glerum

This glass artwork by Stefan Glerum is incorporated in the façade of a residential building. Glerum used a traditional stained glass technique reflecting the local history. The glass totally transforms the look and feel of the inner staircase as well as the outward appearance of the building, towards the street. Stained Glass makes a connection between the residents of the building and their local history and makes their homes a more attractive place to be.

Photo credit: Nakamichi Atsushi / Nacása and Partners

Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich is a funny and cool example of an art installation made of glass. The artwork plays with the experience of visitors, creating an optical illusion of a swimming pool filled with water. It also divides the visitors into two groups: those at the edge of the pool see the people at the bottom and ‘under water’, while those who are at the bottom can observe the visitors above.

Photo credit: Nash Bakera

Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park is an installation that uses glass as a basic material to create an interplay of light, shadows and colors. The artwork has an abstract form with thirty-seven elements that transform the ceiling, the walls and the floor in a canvas painted by light. Each visitor has their own experience with this installation depending on the time year and day.