The Corning Museum of Glass has the esteemed reputation of being the world’s foremost authority on glass, and as such, the Museum looks for new ways to display, explore, and tell the world about this fascinating material. When considering plans for the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing, it seemed only natural to somehow incorporate an innovative product made right in our own backyard: Corning® Gorilla® Glass.
Architect Thomas Phifer envisioned the gallery building as a vitrine, museum speak for “display case.” That philosophy carried over into the design of the artwork enclosures. It’s important that they adequately protect the collection, and equally important that they not interfere with the visitors’ ability to see and experience the works of art.
Although Gorilla Glass has been featured on more than three billion cellphones, tablets, notebooks, and other devices, as well as interior architecture like elevator wall panels and lobbies, The Corning Museum of Glass is the first museum to use the damage-resistant, thin, and optically pure glass in this new application.
The Museum’s other galleries are filled with tempered glass display enclosures. Although slight, they have a greenish cast to them, and you can see a distortion in the glass from where it was slumped or tempered.
“They’re extremely heavy,” said Warren Bunn, collections and exhibitions manager. “It takes two people to lift them.”
In contrast, the new Gorilla Glass panels are two sheets of crystal clear, extremely durable glass, laminated by a material that stiffens the bond between them. Each panel when completed weighs only eight pounds.
“I can pick them up with my fingertips,” Bunn said. “It’s one of the most exciting and innovative parts about this new space.”
The Corning Museum of Glass will also be the first museum to use Corning Incorporated’s ONETM Wireless Platform, the first all-optical converged cellular and Wi-Fi solution. On the back end, it eliminates the need for parallel networks that were traditionally required to support multiple services. More importantly, it offers virtually unlimited bandwidth to the Museum’s hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Visitors will be able to enjoy fast, uninterrupted service when they use the GlassApp to explore the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing, or when they use their personal smartphones to share their experience with friends and family.