Making Ideas: Dan Ipp and Tom Zogas

This past summer we invited designers to come to the Museum for public GlassLab design performances.  Dan Ipp and Tom Zogas are the winners of Metaproject 02, a Rochester Institute of Technology student design competition, in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.  The two designers share their experience:

The start of our design process for GlassLab was a late night in the studio. We found tiny cardboard tubes, which are meant to be put on the end of the jack tool, and clustered them into a bundle, varying the heights of each tube to create a more dynamic form, and then placed the bundle in a bucket of sand to hold it in place. After forming a blown vessel, we dropped the hot form directly on top of the cardboard cluster. The result of the experiment was a uniquely organic indent in the bottom of the vessel.

Tom Zogas and Dan Ipp at GlassLab at The Corning Museum of Glass, summer 2012

Tom Zogas and Dan Ipp at their GlassLab design session.

From this first experiment, we decided to propose the theme of “kicks” in different vessels, and our GlassLab theme was born. The kick is the indent on the bottom of a cup or bottle. It is typically added to a vessel for structural purposes and additionally to make the bottom of the vessel more stable when set down. We decided to push the “kick” idea to an extreme and make it a focus of our designs.

Design drawings for GlassLab, Corning Museum of Glass Summer 2012

Tom Zogas and Dan Ipp's design drawings explore kicks in glass.

We arrived on our first morning, excited to get started with our design session. Some excellent pieces were created; most notably a big bulbous bottle, where the kick went up into the neck of the bottle. Another interesting piece was a small cup where the kick goes up and then back out the bottom. This makes the cup unusable and very impractical. We went into the GlassLab design sessions with certain expectations, but the outcome was different than we had expected. It was a great experience to have expert gaffers execute our designs. It’s truly a unique experience to see the object being made in-front of your eyes and being able to change the design as it is made. Glass is an excellent material for prototyping and its rapid production process shows that. The natural properties of glass make it such a great material to be used for everyday objects. Glass is a material of the past, but more importantly, a material for the future.

The final objects from RIT Metaproject students Dan Ipp and Tom Zogas' design session

The final objects from RIT Metaproject students Dan Ipp and Tom Zogas' design session

Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at 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

Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab is on view at the Museum through January 6, 2013.


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