Client: Eric Beckman
Location: Racine, WI, United States
Completion date: 2018
Stephen Schumm, fabrication
Fabricator at Arthur Stern Studios
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, this house was designed by Robert Kueny who studied at Taliesin with Frank Lloyd Wright. This project consists of an ensemble of related art glass doors and windows within one of the defining features of the home–the central stone circular stair tower. I also created a steel and glass fireplace screen for the master bedroom. The pieces are built with hand blown glass using traditional leaded glass techniques.
My goal was to create an ensemble of panels, using design elements related to the shapes and materials of the home. The concept was to have the art glass blend in with and become a part of the fabric of the building, to possibly look like it might have always been there. In the stair tower the graphics lead the eye up and down the curving stairs. Sometimes a small detail can have a large impact on the whole, like the missing piece in a puzzle. In this case the glass art integrates with and completes the environment.
The client came with requests for the locations within the home as well as a departure point for the graphics of the panels. He was enamored with Frank Lloyd Wright's "Tree of Life" art glass pattern. In the design process, I did several variations based on his design criteria, but asked if he would mind if I designed another version using the shapes of the house as a departure point. The family responded well to my design suggestions, then after some refinements agreed on the final design. We decided to allow a vista through the panels to the view beyond but slightly distorted with the wonderful textures of the hand blown glass. My color palette was selected to respond to the colors of the home as well as the greenery outside. The panels were fabricated by Arthur Stern Studios in Benicia, CA with Stephen Schumm as foreman, and then crated and shipped by Ship/Art International to the client's home. Ship/Art has been responsible for shipping my work all over the country as well as internationally for over 30 years. Local craftsmen completed the installation.