Bridging Art and Technology

These days the bridging of art and technology for architectural glass applications is present in many forms. What is art without technology? What is technology without art? What will the long-term existence of each be on its own? How will the existence of both be perceived in the future?

As technology quickly advances, more and more applications for creating imagery and color on monolithic glass for architectural use are emerging. If properly designed and engineered, a dynamic, successful project is completely possible. Technology's focus is on process. 

In the world of architectural art glass, artists focus on not only traditional methods of design and fabrication, but they are also embracing the merging of new technology with traditional methods. Many glass artists are trained in myriad artistic glass processes that yield a diverse cache of aesthetic results. Artist’s input in the early stages of design can make all the difference in any size space. It is not at all uncommon for artists to work outside the studio at other facilities that can provide the space and equipment needed to create large format work, often combining artistic processes. The artist’s application is also solution based, but the glass artwork is what connects the mind and spirit to the place or space. 

Just because technology is available, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best solution or the best way to do something. There will always be trade offs; physiological, cost, longevity, etc. Rather than going with a straightforward technical interpretation for a project application, collaborating with a carefully selected glass artist can result in imagery that has depth, dimension and greater meaning to the customer. An artist trained and knowledgeable in a wide range of artistic glass design, processes and technology can contribute greatly to a project by being part of the collaborative team, or by putting the best team together. Beyond function, technology is diminished without art. Without technology, art may not reach its greatest potential.

Nancy Gong is owner and director of Gong Glass Works, an art studio that focuses on the design and fabrication of contemporary architectural art glass. Gong serves on the Board for the American Glass Guild, is AGG’s 2017 Conference and Program Chair, is a member of the Glass Art Society and Stained Glass Association of America, and an Allied Member of the American Institute of Architects Rochester. She can be reached at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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