"Bloom". Staggered kilnformed glass panels designed by artist Ellen George for The Nines Hotel reception desk. Portland, OR.

Featured Project: “Bloom”, by artist Ellen George

April 8, 2018

Working with SERA Architects, Portland Hotel Development wanted to commission artwork for the back wall of The Nines hotel reception desk in Portland, OR. Acting as art consultant, Paige Powell proposed Portland sculptor Ellen George be the designer.

Goals for this project were to place artwork that would act as a dividing wall between the hotel reception area and the public atrium (which hosts the restaurant Urban Farmer). The artwork needed to transmit light, be visually and audibly private, be optimally visible from both the reception side and atrium side, as well as realize the artist’s vision full-scale. Kiln-glass was the natural material choice as it transmits light, provides privacy via customizable levels of opacity, and can translate artistic visions nearly verbatim.

The Process

Bloom involved the artist making a small sculpture of individual polymer clay disks, photographing and digitally manipulating the sculpture, and sending files of cartoon images to us at Bullseye Studio. We took these templates, printed them out to actual size, kilnformed oblong disks of translucent white glass (large-scale replicas of the disk elements in George’s sculpture) and “painted” them with various colors of blue and purple glass powders. Each disk was painted on both sides so the artwork would function from the reception area and the restaurant. After the powder was fused to the disks, they were layered within a body of crushed glass (frit) in order to introduce dimension into the design. The population of small bubbles trapped by the frit created diffusion, which provided both privacy and a sense of depth within the artwork.

The Result

A stunning set of six kiln-glass panels covering an area approximately 9’ x 15’, installed in three tracks so the 1.5″ thick panels slightly overlap. The reception side is backlit, while the atrium side, the dominantly lit side, is illuminated by natural daylight.

“The frosty, bubbly glass with the lighting has a mysterious, atmospheric feeling – thick, raw edges give the piece a handmade sculptural feel that is important.”  – Ellen George