Showing Hospitality

Thirteen donor panels, lined up straight as a laser beam. The 13 tempered glass panels measuring 36”x 60” x ½”. 

Transparencies were created, and, with the help of Jason Keeble and John Yarnell, Wolf projected her artwork full-scale. It was then traced on the wall. While this bit of groundwork was being completed, they also began installing the structural components necessary to support the nine 100 lb. 3form panels. Drywall “boxes” were installed in the drop-ceiling tiles by the building contractor with corresponding granite tile bases in the floor. To prevent the resin panels from sagging and warping, they were supported at the top with the base channels serving only to keep them plumb. A single section of uni-strut served as the backing plate to anchor the three sections of aluminum channel to the drywall. All thread and more uni-strut tied this single bar to existing structural components, making a clean and sound mounting system. Placement of all channels was made accurately with the aid of a self-leveling laser with the base channels anchored to the floor using Powers anchors.

The images transferred well through the 3form, while still allowing for great readability.

With all the mounting hardware in place, it was time to get busy screen printing and installing. After some initial testing on sample material provided by 3form, John McMahon went to work burning screens and laying ink. An alkyd base gloss enamel was the choice of material. By using a test piece, they discovered if a mistake was made, mineral spirits provided safe cleanup. This provided a bit more comfort as the nice panels came in at just more than $11,000.

Wolf sketched and John McMahon screened and blasted several portrait pieces. And 12 steel and porcelain enamel signs were built and placed throughout various gardens.

With all the 3form panels and glass printed, it was back for final installation. Due to slight variations in ceiling and floor height, each 3form panel had to be slid into its track, marked for drilling, removed and drilled, then bolted in place for the final time. It was a smooth and simple process but required handling the panels multiple times. Brushed aluminum end caps were fabricated to finish the ends of the brushed channels. Hanging the glass was a breeze. The contractor had placed ¾" plywood behind the sheetrock, making for easy and secure placement of the anchor bolts. Once again, the trusty laser level was called in for duty, making for simple accuracy.As the panels were nearing completion, the glass panels arrived, and it was back for another round of dry mounting. Despite the glass manufacturer’s high level of quality and workmanship, the four corner mounting holes varied just enough to make it impossible to create a single mounting template. Therefore, all 13 panels were taken to the site, installed and numbered prior to printing. Aluminum Stand-Off hardware was chosen for mounting.

The Michael Sculpture is a tribute to its original form as a fountain in the old, now demolished lobby.

With the main donor recognition area complete, it was time to install 40 more small glass pieces throughout the nine-story tower as well as two more large pieces that were “rebuilds” from previous capitol campaigns. The Tree of Life and the Michael Sculpture Fountain, commissioned by Gary and Meryle Michael, graced the old lobby prior to demolition. Classic Design was contacted directly by the St. Alphonsus foundation to recreate these in the new tower. John McMahon transformed several sheets of ¼” green PVC into a dimensional tree that was engraved to accept the brass plaques from the original. ½”  PVC spars were used to give the tree its shape and make for easy on-site assembly and installation. A carved HDU trunk finished the piece and provided a place for the recognition plaque. Jason Keeble took photos of the Michael Sculpture fountain and recreated the asymmetrical cross out of Corian to represent the granite used in the fountain. A photo of the original piece was placed in the center to highlight its origin and pay tribute to the original donors. Both pieces went together quickly and cleanly with help from the shop’s 13-year-old Gerber saber.

So “Imagine, Design, Build”. Working with a great artist on this project certainly took a lot of pressure off the staff. Still, the project took imagination to interpret the artist’s vision, hours of design time and weeks building the pieces in the shop.

The HDU trunk was carved to accept the plaque from the original piece. Of course, all the brass plaques were screwed on by hand!