RIT Artists Become First Students to Participate in Corning GlassLab

Students take part in performance lab at world’s most renowned glass museum

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For the first time, Corning Museum of Glass has invited students to perform in its GlassLab design session. Rochester Institute of Technology students Tom Zogas and Dan Ipp will take part in the unique design session from 10 a.m. to noon on July 2 and 4.

GlassLab is a live free-form performance-based session that provides designers with rare access to explore concepts in glass. In public design performances, or workshops, designers and glassmakers collaborate, rapidly prototyping design concepts and using the immediacy of hot glass as a catalyst for innovation.

“Having students participate as designers is unprecedented in the history of GlassLab, but given the forward-thinking nature of the initiative it makes perfect sense,” says Josh Owen, an RIT industrial design professor who was recently invited to participate in GlassLab. “The Corning Museum of Glass is hugely invested in the future of glass as a medium for research and creative innovation. This mirrors our own mission in education at RIT so I’m proud to send this year’s Metaproject winners to make history this summer.”

Ipp and Zogas, who were winners of RIT’s Metaproject 02, a unique project that partnered students from industrial design and glass programs with Corning Museum of Glass to explore design concepts that exploit glass as the primary material, will work with museum glassmakers to prototype their own design concepts during the public session at the museum’s Hot Glass Show on the Courtyard Stage.

The partnership helped open the door for Ipp and Zogas to perform at GlassLab.

“GlassLab extends the concept of increasing access to glass from artists to designers, encouraging designers to design more innovatively for the material,” says Tina Oldknow, head curator at Corning Museum of Glass. “Although design in glass goes back to antiquity, designing for glass remains a new frontier.”

Using a mobile hot glass studio, GlassLab sessions have taken place in public design venues like Design Miami/Art Basel Miami and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, offering audiences a live, authentic glimpse of the design and glassmaking processes, while allowing designers to explore the material of glass in a way that is rarely accessible.

The prototypes range from explorations of anatomy, such as Sigga Heimis’s organs of the body, to inspirations from the natural world, such as Michele Oka Doner’s seaweed bowls.

World-renowned designer Massimo Vignelli and Owen are two previous performers who’ve taken part in the collaborative lab. Other designers who will be participating this summer include Harry Allen, Stephen Burks, Wendell Castle, Michele Oka Doner, Constantin and Laurene Boym and many others.

The sessions are included in admission to the museum.