Making Ideas: Harry Allen

 

This past summer, we invited designers featured in Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab to come to the Museum for public design performances. Industrial designer Harry Allen’s work includes a line of products cast from real life, including a piggy bank and roller skate. He explored casting glass in antique waffle irons at the Museum last year, and came to his GlassLab sessions with fresh ideas to try.

Allen has worked with GlassLab previously at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Design Miami in 2008. At the Glass Art Society Conference in Toledo, Ohio, in June, Allen and a full team of glassblowers explored new ideas including three-part vases, stacking rocket ship containers, exploding bowls, a fern coil vase, and narrow standing circular vases. Allen also continued his design of blown glass bowls with the molded imprint of the designer’s hands.

Hot glass is blown onto a mold of the designer’s hands to create a bowl at GlassLab at the Glass Pavilion in Toledo, June 2012.

Hot glass is blown onto a mold of the designer’s hands to create a bowl at GlassLab at the Glass Pavilion in Toledo, June 2012.

In August, Allen returned to the Museum for his fifth GlassLab design session, a collaboration with Chris Hacker, chief design officer for Johnson & Johnson.

Chris Hacker and Harry Allen at GlassLab in Corning, NY, August 21-22, 2012.

Chris Hacker and Harry Allen at GlassLab in Corning, NY, August 21-22, 2012.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Hacker, “Harry and I have worked together for most of our careers, although we’ve never collaborated quite in this way.” The designers explored making color bands and texture bands that were joined together to form cylindrical vases.

Prototypes and design drawings by Harry Allen and Chris Hacker for their GlassLab design session.

Prototypes and design drawings by Harry Allen and Chris Hacker for their GlassLab design session.

Allen and Hacker also created a series of vessels using blocks molded with the texture of carpet squares. These objects were included in a charity auction to support the Design Industry Foundation Fighting Aids (DIFFA).

Currently, Allen is working with the Museum on the exhibition design for Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead, opening in May 2012. Before then, be sure to check out his design prototypes on view in Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab at the Museum through January 6, 2013.

Harry Allen for GlassLabMore images from this summer’s design performances, as well as designer bios, process videos, design drawings, prototypes and more are available on the web-based GlassLab app at cmog.org/glasslab.