Owen Gabbert, Christopher Tallant, Hannah Bearden Fabrication Team, Devereaux Glass
For the historic Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, architect John Goldman designed a renovation which expanded the worship space to include an in-floor labyrinth, and a 12' w x 19' centerpiece art glass window. Noe Valley Ministry has been an integral part of its neighborhood for more than three decades, ever since it began to reach beyond the walls of its home on Sanchez Street to serve a larger worshipping community, work for social justice, foster and appreciate the arts and help congregants work on personal and spiritual challenges.
The integration of the art glass within the space was of central importance to the client and the architect, and became the focus of the design. Thus, the art glass mirrored the labyrinth in the space, even the name of the project, "Coming to the Center." It also gave reference to beloved artist, Ruth Azawa's branch-like cross in the space. Goldman notes, "The parts fit together beautifully."
The design process is always collaborative. It involves 3 meetings, the first of which is a "listening" process. I ask the Design Committee to tell me about themselves as a community, what their unique identity is, what has the deepest meaning for them. I study the site, architectural plans, the direction of the light, the size and use of the space, and offer a number of design solutions. Through this design process, some aspects of each design were integrated and developed into a final design, which I further amplified and refined with input from the architect. With this process it integrated my style and design focus, while their input made it "theirs." Upon completion, the Noe Valley Ministry wrote "the process was smooth and the results stunning....the window is an expression of the expansive light we seek to bring forth to the community."
In this intimate sanctuary, the window is the dominant feature in the space. It was of utmost importance that the window feel like a fit within it. The triple-flashed (layered), painted and kiln-fired glass is mouth blown and custom made for the window design, and the lead work is expanded by hand cut and laminated lead overlays. I was acutely aware of controlling both the visibility and glare by selecting mostly translucent rich colors of glass, since the window faced onto neighboring houses at the bottom, and the bright eastern morning light as it ascended .
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
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[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
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