Working with SERA Architects, Portland Hotel Development wanted to commission artwork for the back wall of The Nines Hotel reception desk in Portland, Oregon: a special feature that would act as a dividing wall between the hotel reception area and the more public atrium, which hosts the restaurant Urban Farmer. The artwork needed to transmit light, be visually and audibly private, be optimally visible from both the reception side and atrium side, and realize the artist’s vision full-scale.
Kiln-glass was the natural choice to achieve these objectives. It transmits and reflects light, provides privacy via customizable levels of opacity, and, through various glass forms, application and firing methods, can translate artistic visions nearly verbatim. Paige Powell acted as art consultant, proposing Portland sculptor Ellen George design this reception wall. Bullseye Studio worked with George to translate a small clay maquette into architectural-scale kilnformed glass.
The result is a stunning set of six kiln-glass panels of crushed glass with embedded kilnformed glass discs covering an area approximately 9’ x 15’, installed in three tracks so that the panels slightly overlap. The reception side is backlit, while the atrium side, the dominantly lit side, is illuminated by natural daylight. “The frosty, bubbly glass with the lighting has a mysterious, atmospheric feeling – thick, raw edges give the piece a handmade sculptural feel that is important,” explains George.