Client: The City of Fremont
Location: Fremont, CA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $160,000
Made custom cast glass
Dierk Van Keppel
Rock Cottage Glassworks
City of Fremont
Commissioned by the city of Fremont, CA, “The Flame of Inspiration” stands over 22ft tall and is made of stainless steel and cast glass. It sits in “Inspiration Plaza ” and was designed under the premise that Fremont, as part of the San Francisco bay area, is well known as the present day epicenter of technological innovation. The piece represents the beginning sparks or “flame” of inspiration that innovation begins with. The structure and colored glass panes are meant to emulate the same purpose of cathedrals from the 1600s – a place people can go to sit and contemplate in the presence of something beautiful. It features a bench at the bottom of the piece for this purpose. It is a piece that represents the beginnings of all great ideas and the motives that fuel them as a society.
The complex that the piece sits in was designed with a public artwork in mind. "Inspiration Plaza" was meant to be completed with a signature sculpture that captures the spirit what it means to be "inspired" and represents the culture of the neighborhood.
The process began with concept sketches that were then turned into 3D computer models. From the models, cut files for created for stainless steel parts to be cut to size. Each twist was constructed with four long strips of stainless steel that were fully welded down each seam.
The glass is custom cast glass made by Rock Cottage Glassworks in Merriam, Kansas. Custom molds were created for each glass shape and the molten glass is poured into the molds, then slowly cooled. Each glass piece is framed by stainless steel and held in place by backing plates that bolt on to the frame on the interior face of the frame.
The finish is created by running an angle grinder down the every inch of surface with a flap disc in a swishing pattern. The piece is then cleaned and passivated before a clear coating is applied.