Chromatic Scale

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Client: Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation

Location: Madison, WI, United States

Completion date: Jan 01, Array

Artwork budget: $4,000

Project Team

Artist

Barbara Westfall

Barbara Westfall Art Glass Design

President

Mary Wright

Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation

Architect

Melissa Destree

Destree Architecture and Design

Custom Installation

Brian Anderson

Anderson Custom

Overview

Entitled “Chromatic Scale,” the 32’w x 36″h panels are named after the Greek word chrôma, meaning color. Rhythmic bands of vibrant colored art glass pays homage to the wavelengths and colors of the rainbow spectra. Each panel contains texture that is carefully planned by holding the temperatures in the kiln at a rate where the glass gently melts, while maintaining soft surface ridges. Dramatic natural sunlight and interior lighting effects the transparent and iridescent glass and creates a dynamic glowing ambiance in both day and night conditions.

Goals

The design objective for Chromatic Scale was to create an abstract symbol of diversity for the conference room at the new landmark national office of the Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation. Working closely with the architect and designers, scale and color were primary considerations. The double art panels serve as a welcoming beacon for guests meeting in the conference room in a contemporary housing development office. The art welcomes visitors, planners, and municipality staff into a communal space where architects, staff, and urban planners conceive, develop, review and implement housing initiatives.

Process

Art glass is an Old World Craft, where hand made sheet glass is painstakingly cut by hand into horizontal bands. Achieving the proper melt is both a science and an art form. To create a perfect melt, I write a firing schedule that takes into account the interaction between the temperature, gravity, form, thickness, and size. Kiln-formed glass, uses controlled heat to transform the layers of glass from a solid, to a liquid and back into a solid again. The results are exquisite.