Liquid Fusion 2013: Design explorations in Glass Workshop

Today’s post comes from Paul Haigh, architect, designer, educator, and founder of HAIGHArchitects+Designers.

This year’s Liquid Fusion workshop at Domaine de Boisbuchet, marked the eighth year of international cooperation between the Corning Museum of Glass and C.I.R.E.C.A (Centre International de Recherche et d’Education Culturelle et Agricole).

photo ©René Küng : Domaine de Boisbuchet

photo ©René Küng : Domaine de Boisbuchet

Invaluable support also came from the Glass is Tomorrow programme. Glass is Tomorrow is a European network which aims at establishing a more fluid exchange of knowledge and competencies between glass and design professionals throughout Europe.

‘Liquid Fusion’ utilizes the CMoG GlassLab portable container set up as a glass making prototyping studio. The workshop structure challenges designers to explore glass design through concept ideation, prototype fabrication and critical review. Daily design fabrication sessions are carried out by the accomplished glass makers from the CMoG GlassLab team and are complemented by evening lectures and discussions.

The GlassLab incorporates the technical expertise and resources of The Corning Museum of Glass, so many thanks go out to the programme managers Steve Gibbs and Eric Meek and the GlassLab team of excellent glassmakers, George Kennard, Carl Siglin, Verena Schatz, and Amy Kruger. Thanks also to Alexander von Vegesack, President of C.I.R.E.C.A, the Domaine de Boisbuchet team and Lise Coirier and Camille Roger, from the Glass is Tomorrow programme, for their support and enthusiasm for design in glass.
This year an accomplished group of thirteen designers, five of whom were selected from the Glass is Tomorrow programme, were immediately immersed in a design theme exploring the idea of ‘memory.’ During the intense 5 day workshop, over 100 prototypes were produced embodying ‘memory’ in relationship to context, place and time,…a significant achievement.

Primarily focused on glass materiality, initial designs explored the theme in the context of intrinsic qualities of glass transparency, translucency and opacity. Designers were challenged to explore glass as a rich palette for innovation and intervention. Emphasis was placed on the idea of “…glass as a liquid” in examining glass as an ancient material that can transform process into poetry.

photo ©Boisbuchet/Joanna Lazarova

photo ©Boisbuchet/Joanna Lazarova

This year’s group, of varying ages and professional backgrounds, included industrial designers, graphic designers, glass artists and architects from throughout Europe. For some designers, the workshop represented the first time they had designed in glass, for others it presented the opportunity to reassess glassmaking in the context of the design process. The idea of providing designers access to glass through a direct proximity to glassmakers is seen as fundamental to understanding the material and its potential applications in design.

The design sessions rotated throughout the day with each designer communicating with the glassmakers on the fabrication of prototypes. Each morning a design review took place to discuss the previous days designs and refine fabrication issues in preparation for developing the next round of prototypes.This cycle of design development highlighted for each designer the significance of an empirical process and the demand for clear and precise communication of an idea from concept to object.

photo ©GIT/Camille Roger

photo ©GIT/Camille Roger

At the final vernissage presentation, the prototypes were displayed as a gallery exhibit in the wonderful setting of the converted stables of Domaine de Boisbuchet. This year’s exhibition included lighting designs, vessels and sculpture exploring landscape and memory, compression and lightness, hand pressing, layering and translucency, memory of place and texture, elapsing time, the ephemera of soap bubbles, nature’s swarms, states of motion and repose, encased memory of organic forms and conceptual narrative compositions.

Surveying these designs, it becomes apparent that the focused energy of the designers, given the opportunity to work with accomplished glass makers, generated an unparalleled entree into the world of glass design.

Congratulations to all the participating designers: Xenia Riemann, Flavie Audi, Alice Brunney, Jeanne Gautier, Flip Sellin, Ahmet Sismanoglu, Carolin Wehmer, Louis Thompson, Terese Waenerlund, Stephane Halmaï-Voisard, David Hanauer, Claire Baldeck  and René Küng.

photo ©Xenia Riemann : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display ; The Clock Room

photo ©Xenia Riemann : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display ; The Clock Room

photo  ©René Küng : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display ; The Sottsass Room

photo ©René Küng : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display ; The Sottsass Room

photo ©Boisbuchet/Joanna Lazarova : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display :  Stephane Halmaï-Voisard, Mortar Memory

photo ©Boisbuchet/Joanna Lazarova : Liquid Fusion 2013 Final Presentation Display : Stephane Halmaï-Voisard, Mortar Memory

Paul Haigh ©September 2013

All project photography credited as noted.

For further information on Paul Haigh : HAIGHArchitects+Designers see : http://www.haigharchitects.com

For further information on GlassLab and the Corning Museum of Glass see : http://www.cmog.org/glasslab

For further information on workshops at : Domaine de Boisbuchet : Contact : http://www.boisbuchet.org

For further information on the Glass is Tomorrow programme see : http://www.glassistomorrow.eu