Earlier this month, architect Alberto Alfonso designed the first building dedicated to glass artist Dale Chihuly. A result of an intimate collaboration between Alfonso and Chihuly, The Chihuly Collection is an exhibition, theatre and retail space in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"Early in the design process" Alfonso said, "we discovered a shared affinity for the work of Italian architect and glass artist Carlo Scarpa. This became a common thread for the materiality and presentation strategies which drove the richness of palette that includes western red cedar, venetian plaster and raw steel."
Alfonso transformed an existing 10,000-square-foot concrete shell into 12 individual environments which respond directly to the theory and basis of Chihuly's art. There are no barriers to the art; recessed steel troughs delineate a boundary.
"The opening of the Chihuly Collection is truly one of the proudest moments of my career," claims Chihuly. "The Chihuly Collection would not be the spectacular space that it is today with out the hard work, vision and dedication of my dear friend and architect Alberto Alfonso, who transformed the space into a spectacular architectural environment to showcase my work."
The Seattle-based artist is credited as leading the development of complex glass sculptures and environmental art, as well as transforming the contemporary art glass movement.
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