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Transformations: Furniture in Glass

21 August 2010 - 20 February 2011

Everyday items are transformed into magical sculptures when they are made of glass.  This exhibition, opened as part of the International Festival of Glass, shows an unusual application for glass which will capture the imagination - glass furniture is at once familiar yet unfamiliar.

The exhibition features amazing functional designs, such as the Ghost Chair by FIAM Italia as well as conceptual works such as Victoria Scholes’s glass dustpan and brush from the ‘Domestic Gospels’ series.  Danny Lane, artist, sculptor and pioneer of plate glass furniture, is showing his iconic Etruscan Chair, first designed in 1986.

Other highlights include glass curtains by local artist Robyn Smith, Dot Hill’s dinner table complete with glass meal, an elegant console table designed by Katy Holford, and a glass and stainless steel throne by Stuart Garfoot and Vanessa Cutler on loan from the Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton.  Also featuring cutting-edge designs by Birmingham-based furniture company Glass Domain and new work by glassmaker Colin Reid, this exhibition will surprise and impress visitors with the versatility of glass.

Making furniture out of glass is not a new idea.  During the mid and late 19th century a handful of glass firms in Europe, including Osler's of Birmingham and Joseph Webb of Coalbourne Hill Glassworks, near Stourbridge, specialised in glass furniture for a small but lucrative market.  They made massive candelabra, fountains and cut glass furniture for export to the royal palaces of India and the Near East.  In recent times glass has become a more affordable material and having glass tops on coffee tables or even dining tables is not that unusual.  

This exhibition focuses on contemporary uses of glass in furniture design and the art world, for example in bent-glass furniture and digitally printed wall panels as well as unique sculptural furniture.  The exhibition also features works by glass artists who use furniture and domestic items as a source of inspiration - functional items transformed into non-functional items when made of glass.

Ghost Chair by FIAM, copyright FIAM
View of Transformations exhibition, 2010
Desk and Icon panels by Glass Domain
Peace Lily table by Colin Reid, 2010, copyright artist
Domestic Gospels XII by Victoria Scholes, copyright artist
Lace glass panel by Joanna Manousis, copyright artist
Laurence Llewelyn Bowen at Transformations exhibition, 2010
Etruscan Chair by Danny Lane, copyright artist