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06-10-2010, SCHOTT North America, Inc.

Chris Cosma Brings a Glacier to Times Square with SCHOTT Glass

Glass Artist Uses SCHOTT LF5 Crystal in Massive Lobby Installation
Cosma's "Alight Embrace" wraps the entire lobby at 1515 Broadway, NYC.
Cosma's "Alight Embrace" wraps the entire lobby at 1515 Broadway, NYC.
At American Institute of Architects Conference and Exposition in Miami, Booth 1217 - Office buildings in New York are known for being architecturally stunning on the outside, but it is the lobby inside 1515 Broadway which holds an architectural surprise: a 4,000-square foot crystal-clear wall of glass right in the heart of midtown. Glass installation artist Chris Cosma designed the giant undulating wall, titled “Alight Embrace,” using textured panels made of SCHOTT’s LF5 crystal glass.

When producing the site-specific installation, Cosma aimed to create a transition space balanced between the frenetic modern activity of Times Square and the cool geologic calm of glacial ice that covered Manhattan millennia ago. The full experience of this piece comes from walking through the building, around the lobby and back out to the street. A reflective surface behind the glass enhances the play of changing light and colors that Times Square brings, and the deeply topographical textures invite pedestrians to touch and experience the art in a tactile way.

The glass installation wraps around the building’s entire lobby, spanning the two entrances in the crossroads of the world, the center of Times Square. Ed Piccinich, the Executive Vice President of SL Green, the real estate company that owns the building, was the first to liken the piece to a glacier. “It’s an incredible piece and one that really lights up and enhances the space.”

Cosma has a long relationship with SCHOTT: he has used SCHOTT glass in a number of other site-specific bas-relief installations, including large pieces at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and 14 Wall Street. “For an artist to work with a manufacturer,” the Brooklyn-based Cosma says, “both need to understand the others capabilities; SCHOTT and I have always found a way to create an artistic process within the industrial process.”

Working intimately with Cosma, SCHOTT delivered 1,000 textured panels made of LF5 crystal glass to Cosma for the 1515 Broadway project. The glass panels total 4,000 square feet and weigh almost 60 tons. Each textured panel fills an area 16” x 36” and is two inches thick. The individual panels rest on two hidden metal clips secured to steel columns. Four small mounting indent holes drilled into the top and bottom edges of each panel and nylon pins keep the panels locked in position. Glazing caulk was used to seal the joints between the panels.

“I've had extensive experience using SCHOTT glass,” said Cosma. “My main performance criteria for choosing SCHOTT were the color consistency, purity, transmission and uniformity of the glass. It’s the finest crystal glass in the world and I love working with it.”

SCHOTT offers customized glass for art and architecture with various surface textures, sizes, shapes, colors and optical characteristics. The company has the capability to melt, fabricate and process glass according to customer requirements. SCHOTT glass for art and architecture can be produced in a variety of supply forms including large format strip, long thin strip, rolled sheet block, geometric extrusions, large castings, gobs, pressings, rods, or rectangular columns. Additionally, SCHOTT glass can be cast directly into customer-designed molds. Glass from SCHOTT has been used in traditional art such as sculptures and monuments, as well as in architectural elements such as decorative walls, windows, furniture and pillars and further options are yet to be discovered.

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Chris Cosma Brings a Glacier to Times Square with SCHOTT Glass
Further information
SCHOTT North America, Inc.
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