Glass Brings Art & Science Together at Houston Research Facility

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The installation “Leonardo Dialogo” at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research in Houston, Tex., brings a long-lost partnership between art and science back to life. A one-of-a-kind, Lamberts art glass ceiling is an integral component of the two-part project. The ceiling of mouth-blown art glass represents healing, the journey to discovery, and the patient’s passage to balance, harmony, and wellbeing.
Artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer spent eight months gathering visual content to create her tribute to the achievements of science and discovery. During this intense study, the polyhedral “Buckyball” molecule emerged as a powerful symbol of the research and hope for decisive progress against the unsolved medical tragedies of today.
The entry doors, leading into the “Leonardo Dialogo” installation, are veneered with warm, honey-brown yew wood. The entryway corridor features a granite floor interlaced with complex polyhedral forms, creating a metaphor for the limitless questions and possibilities provided by nano-medical research. An expansive mirrored ceiling inspires wonder. The walls are stenciled with the Fibonacci sequence and quotes emphasizing the dialogue between art and science in the space.
To transition the installation into the administrative area, Fleischhauer carries the corridor’s black-and-white palette into the floating white 12’ by 24’ art glass ceiling created from sheets of Lamberts glass laminated to three layers of low-iron float glass for safety and strength. Mouth-blown in Germany and imported exclusively by Bendheim in North America, Lamberts glass features pronounced yet subtle surface striations and small air bubbles,  unmistakable characteristics of the centuries-old glass production method.
“I looked at several different companies but when I saw Lamberts glass, I loved the uniqueness of each sheet, the seed bubbles, handmade quality and cloud-like patterns,” says Fleischhauer.
The concept of the glass ceiling took Fleischhauer to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where she collaborated with two artists, mathematicians and hot-glass experts – Martin Demaine, an artist-in-residence and visiting scientist in computer science, and Erik Demaine, associate professor in computer science.
The ceiling features 47 panels; every 22” by 30”, 55-pound glass panel is suspended by a metal rod connected to each of its four corners. The ceiling integrates waterjet-cut polyhedral shapes and is illuminated by LED lights casting elaborate shadows on the floor and walls. The resulting labyrinthine pattern symbolizes the researcher’s journey to discover and restore balance and harmony to the human body.
About Bendheim

Bendheim is one of the world’s foremost resources for specialty architectural glass. Founded in New York City in 1927, the fourth-generation, family-owned company offers a virtually unlimited range of in-stock and custom architectural glass varieties. Bendheim develops, fabricates, and distributes its products worldwide. The company maintains production facilities in New Jersey and an extensive showroom in New York City