Q&A: Joel Berman’s Profile Glass Series

Joel Berman, Designer
Profile, 2004
Joel Berman Glass Studios

How did you get the idea for the design?
This new design coincides with our involvement with three historical projects: 1) The Chrysler Building renovation, with Beyer Blinder Belle and Tishman Construction, where we remade the original glass for its entries; 2) We refabricated the curtain-wall glass design by Eero Saarinen for three buildings for General Motors at the Tech Center, in Warren, Michigan; and 3) The Sten-Frenke House, designed by Richard Neutra, where we were hired to remake the original ribbed glass by Jim Biber of Pentagram’s architecture division. The Neutra mold, which is a very small, tight, irregular-ribbed texture, proved extremely difficult to master.

What’s innovative about Profile?
Profile is a new design direction featuring a series of 3-D angles in glass. We used a new mold technique that was specially developed for this design direction.

What was the greatest challenge to realizing the design?
Our greatest challenge was to make the glass! And to develop a permanent mold that did not break during each firing process.

Did anything interesting happen during Profile’s development?
We made many different molds, but the molds kept breaking. But through teamwork and brainstorming, we developed a new technique to cast 3-D glass. What came out of this experience was an exercise of success through failure and a “pit-bull approach” to not give up.

What’s your favorite object?

Is there anything you absolutely must do while you’re in New York for the ICFF?
Yes. Look for a new sofa!

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