Hand-Made Glass Helps Create Custom Window with “Soul,” Bridging Old & New
Renowned glass artist Nancy Gong showcases mouth-blown Lamberts® glass and an innovative lead-free lamination technique in a new bespoke art glass window. The 10.5-foot-tall abstract artwork defines the street-facing facade of the private residence, located in Rochester’s High Falls historic district. It provides color, light, and privacy, simultaneously complementing and contrasting with its traditional surroundings.
“I don’t know how people can design or live without this sort of glass in their buildings,” said Nancy Gong, Glass Artist and Owner of Gong Glass Works. For this project, she focused on a design and color selection that “diffuse views from the outside and fill the space with soul and joy.”
“I chose Lamberts glass for its quality – to match the integrity of the design.”
According to the artist, the different hues in the window were inspired by the personalities of the home’s residents. The colors and the delicate “wavy” texture of the blown glass create vivid dappled reflections that enliven the interior during all times of the day, seasons, and weather. The window provides a high level of privacy, while filtering colored light in. Back-lit at night, it becomes luminous art, projecting its colors onto the street.
Key to the design, our Lamberts mouth-blown glass in a range of colors and patterns – from streaky whites to flashed amber and red – adds to the artisanal appeal of the piece.
Glassblowing is an ancient craft, shaping molten glass into functional objects for design and architectural applications. It is a highly technical art form that requires specialized training and skill. Long-lasting colors are achieved by adding various metal oxides to the raw glass batch. For example, cobalt produces blue, while gold creates pink. Our mouth-blown architectural glass is produced by Glashütte Lamberts in Germany (see video). Characteristics of this glass include the mild surface texture and occasional air bubble inherent to original hand-made antique window glass.
To create the painterly lead-free window, Gong carefully cut out complex shapes out of the two-by-three-foot mouth-blown glass sheets, then laminated them together onto a base of clear tempered glass, akin to a glass jigsaw puzzle. The resulting glass assembly met modern building safety codes. It was then mounted on the interior face of an insulated window.
“The humanizing quality of Lamberts glass creates an inviting atmosphere,” said Robert Jayson, Co-Owner and President of Bendheim. “With over 500 colors and designs to choose from, we were able to help Nancy achieve her polychromatic project.”
The home, built in 1906 in Rochester’s 19th-century industrial center, was initially a machine shop, then a commercial office space. The recent renovation of the 2,000 square-foot structure involved attaching a neighboring three-story building that houses bedrooms and home office space, with the art glass as a focal point of the facade and interior.
Project photos by John Griebsch, courtesy of Gong Glass Works; view more project photos here.