Monday June 6, 2011 | by laguiri

OPENING: Designer Mark Reigelman’s installation of glass-encrusted furniture is one-of-a-kind

FILED UNDER: Design, Opening

Three glass-covered chairs in the "Breaking the Bottle" installation courtesy: mark reigelman

Heller Gallery debuted some new furniture last weekend, but you probably won’t want to sit on it. At first glance, Mark Reigelman’s chairs and tables appear plush and inviting. Upon closer inspection, stepping on the welcome mat or lying on the bearskin rug would be a bad idea – the objects are encrusted in 1,000 pounds of recycled glass shards.

The final inventory includes three chairs, two tables, a mirror, a table lamp, a hanging light, two books, a welcome mat and a bearskin rug. The pieces look like glass topiaries, complete with rounded edges masking once-sharp furniture corners, and are set on a pedestal matching the dimensions of Reigelman’s childhood home.

Reigelman used furniture he found, made, and purchased to create the "Breaking the Bottle" installation. photo: Norman Nelson

Reigelman drew inspiration from the broken glass people sometimes erect on fences and rooftops as added protection for their homes. Breaking the Bottle places this homemade security measure in the context of the living room where, as Annemarie Money writes, material objects can “act as the embodiment of meaningful social relations and significant connections between family members, friends and even wider social networks.” In the symbolic hub of the home, chairs and tables covered in glass appear hostile rather than welcoming, creating a protective barrier within as opposed to around the home. The use of green, with all its associations with nature, further complicates the use of glass for protection.

To create Breaking the Bottle, Reigelman worked continuously over for three months, covering a combination of found, made, and purchased furniture pieces with up to six layers of glass. “Essentially, there are 18 planes (when you include corners) on each object,” Reigelman told the Hot Sheet. “The process is simple, but extremely systematic, tedious and repetitive.”

In terms of material, “Breaking the Bottle” marks a first for Reigelman, who studied sculpture and industrial design. This “is my first installation which focuses on glass as a material,” he said. “While I will never become a glass artist, I will surely continue to work with this material. It is really incredible.” “Breaking the Bottle”

Grace Duggan


“Breaking the Bottle”
Through July 30
Heller Gallery
420 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10014
Tel: 212.414.2636

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.