New York Lobby Houses Massive Glass Installation

Designed by glass installation artist Chris Cosma, the lobby inside 1515 Broadway in New York holds an architectural surprise: a 4,000-square foot crystal-clear wall of glass. The giant wall, titled “Alight Embrace,” features textured panels made of SCHOTT’s LF5 crystal glass.

When producing the site-specific installation, Cosma aimed to create a transition space balanced between the frenetic modern activity of Times Square and the cool geologic calm of glacial ice that covered Manhattan millennia ago. The full experience of this piece comes from walking through the building, around the lobby and back out to the street. A reflective surface behind the glass enhances the play of changing light and colors that Times Square brings, and the deeply topographical textures invite pedestrians to touch and experience the art in a tactile way.

The glass installation wraps around the building’s entire lobby, spanning the two entrances.

“It’s an incredible piece and one that really lights up and enhances the space,” says Ed Piccinich, the executive vice president of SL Green, the real estate company that owns the building.

Working closely with Cosma, SCHOTT delivered 1,000 textured panels made of LF5 crystal glass for the project. The glass panels total 4,000 square feet and weigh almost 60 tons. Each textured panel fills an area 16- x 36-inches and is 2 inches thick. The individual panels rest on two hidden metal clips secured to steel columns. Four small mounting indent holes drilled into the top and bottom edges of each panel and nylon pins keep the panels locked in position. Glazing caulk was used to seal the joints between the panels.

“I’ve had extensive experience using SCHOTT glass,” says Cosma. “My main performance criteria for choosing SCHOTT were the color consistency, purity, transmission and uniformity of the glass. It’s the finest crystal glass in the world and I love working with it.”