Light and Illusion: Alison Berger’s Glass Mastery
“ALL OF MY WORK IS BASED AROUND the old-fashioned idea that glass is a rarefied and special medium that deserves exceptional attention,” says Alison Berger. Glass is all around us, from the cheapest tumblers to the most extravagant chandeliers. Often, many of us don’t give it a second thought, but the material is worthy of our attention, too, especially in Berger’s hands. Her new book, Alison Berger: Glass and Light, gives an insider’s view of her creative process, from inspiration to planning, producing, and finishing.
In a foreword written by Holly Hunt, the designer recalls her first meeting with Berger; she tells how a simple clear glass cone with a filament bulb became the basis for the ABG line for Holly Hunt Lighting. Intrigued by Berger’s “firefly” pendant—she hung several in her Paris apartment—Hunt foresaw what Berger would develop into an exquisite line of award-winning lighting. Their collaboration is based on their shared vision, and Berger says she feels fortunate that Hunt respects her point of view and artistic process. Berger also went on to create the Balance Line Collection of glassware for Hermès, and an installation for the Comme des Garçons flagship store in Tokyo.
Berger employs traditional glassblowing techniques and tools that have been used for centuries. The objects she creates are the result of a thoughtful examination of the play of form, density, and light, and also her emotional connection with the piece. Her work goes well beyond producing simply for commercial appeal. “Glass is the material that I use to capture the medium of light,” she says. “For example, one of my newest pieces, the Dusk Sconce, reproduces the light at the time of the day when it is most illusive, when day ends and night begins.”
The photography in the book catches the luminous quality of her work, which is pared down and devoid of color. The book also showcases Berger’s meticulous pro- cess through her own drawings and detailed and beautiful computer-generated renderings. “I take all those various initial forms of inspiration and, through drawing and re-drawing and drawing again, synthesize them to reveal their essence,” she says.
Now that Berger’s book has been published, she’s venturing on a new body of work that she feels is somewhat of a departure from what she’s been doing. Her fascination with light stands as the foundation of her work, but she’s now planning to evolve glass “into more constructive forms. I am working on treating glass as origami,” she explains.
Alison Berger: Glass and Light
Foreword by Holly Hunt, contributions by Matilda McQuaid and Peter Viladas Skira Rizzoli, $65.00