26 JAN 2017

The Eternal Medium

Glass…as one of the most dynamic, timeless and innovative mediums we think it deserves a bit of appreciation.


Words by Phoebe Houston Lowe

Like many crafts, glass blowing hasn’t always been considered a high art form, but in post war Europe, experimentation with sustainable mediums led to a more organic and holistic approach to design, allowing people to embrace it as fine art. The nature of glass allows a transparency, fluidity and dynamism that echoes throughout mid century architecture and design. These innovations in studio glass practice during the mid 20th century, particularly in Scandinavia and Bohemia, directly correlate to modernist architectural developments. Here is our visual exploration of modernist forms through a transparent lens.

Antonio da Ros, Cenedese. Murano, Italy, 1950s

Paul Williams’ 1961 LAX Theme Building – Part spaceship / part flying saucer; this structure is now an iconic symbol of Los Angeles.

Ermanno Toso, Fratelli Toso. Italy 1950s

Modernist architecture at Caracas Racetrack, Venezeula, late 1950s

Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer. Construction began in 1958 and completed in 1960. Said to resemble a giant crown, and voted one of the most ‘odd’ modern day churches. We love this innovative design and original composition.

Harvey K. Littleton. Four Seasons, 1977. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Completed in 1959.

Sven Palmquist, Kraka vase. Orrefors Sweden. 1950s

Harvey K. Littleton, Blue-Green Prunted Form, USA. 1963

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Adobe House in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1985. this incredible example of organic architecture was designed by Wright in the late 1920’s.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Falling water ‘ house in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Built between 1936 – 1939. This iconic home is a national treasure, and no wonder…

Emmanuel Beranek, Karlovarske Sklo. Czechoslovakia, 1959.

Harvey Littleton, Yellow Crown II, 1984, glass

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 1997. This highly controversial building draws influence from modernist principles of rigid geometry and nature.

Whitefriars Drunken Bricklayer vase, Kingfisher blue, 1966. This iconic brutalist design is designed by Geoffrey Baxter in 1966 as part of his `Textured` range.

The wonderful and much loved IronBank building. RTA Studio, 2009. Karangahape Road, Auckland.

Harvey K. Littleton, Equilateral Solid at 45 Degrees. 1980

1950s Venini Iridescent Murano Glass Bowl

Architectural model of the Museum of Modern Art of Caracas, designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1955.

Oscar Niemeyer - Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, completed in 1996 this saucer shaped is structure is situated on a cliffside above Guanabara bay in the city of Niterói.

Mstisov, Josef Hospodka. Czechoslovaki, 1960s

Sommerso Murano Glass Vase by Cenedese, 1960s

Eero Saarinen’s mind blowing TWA terminal JFK airport, 1962. Fluid interconnecting lines make this structure as pleasing on the eye as it is to sit in one of Saarinen’s armchairs.

Murano two tone Centrepiece. 1960s.

Intersected Peak by John Kiley, USA, 2010


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