Transparency, instability, flexibility
“Such projects, had they been built, would have produced a rich, shimmering and illusory world of reflections.”
Rosemarie Haag Bletter’s 1981 paper The Interpretation of the Glass Dream explores glass/crystal symbolism in Expressionist – in particular Bruno Taut’s and Paul Scheerbart’s – architectural projects, and charts references to iconic glass buildings in legend and literature from the Old Testament to Novalis. Taut’s post-Glashaus proposals are especially appealing to me, the “arcuated forms” and “sharp, faceted excrescences” of his fantastical Alpine Architektur – a response to Scheerbart’s proposals for a flexible, mobile architecture; the impermanent, dissolving structures in his stage-play Der Weltbaumeister.
During our first studio meeting Robert showed me some of his recent (unfired) porcelain sculptures – editions of elegant mountain ranges which catch the light in such a way that, although cast from identical moulds, appear as a variegated chalky landscape when seen side-by-side. Their undulating shapes reminded me of Taut’s drawings, also Wenzel Hablik’s fantasies of glass cities in the sky.
We looked at our first set of mirrored and sandblasted triangles (each 20x20x20cm, beautiful in their simplicity though it would be interesting to try non-equilateral shapes as well, to create a ‘landscape’ of regular and irregular pyramids) and discussed options for their hinging. Aluminium would reference more directly the Utopian materials of the aviary; but matte stainless steel might scratch less… We considered how the objects should unfold – into a horizontal row rather than a triangular block to give a more dynamic (and less violent – the corners are very sharp and look quite menacing when all pointing upwards!) unfurling shape. Also how the objects will behave under the glare of a video projection, how edges and hinges are likely to become features as they catch the light…