We often get RFPs and RFQs for custom handmade glass lighting and or glass ceiling fixtures from architects and designers, both commercial and residential. Designing, fabricating and installing a custom designed functional glass sculpture which will be suspended overhead in either a public, private or residential installation requires skill, knowledge and experience.
Once the customer has made the decision to include this type of artistic architectural appointment the first step is to locate and vet an artist/fabricator or an artistic team with the best qualifications and experience to understand your needs, and translate your dreams into a finished functioning custom blown glass lighting fixture. Ask lots of questions; make sure you understand their review/design process. Do they have insurance and if so what kind? How long have they been in business? How many ceiling fixtures or light fixtures have they made? Can they provide a UL certification? What tasks are completed in house and which are subcontracted out to another fabricator? Read their resume or CV.
The initial meeting should be comfortable for everyone involved. A quick description of the process and options, a full understanding of the proposed budget, a discussion about timelines and potential challenges are the main topics of the first meeting. Agreement and understanding should be the outcome. There should be a clear understanding between all parties as to who is responsible for what tasks, including you as the patron, the artist and whoever is responsible for the installation, which could include both an electrician/lighting expert and a licensed contractor; all could be arranged by the artist. This meeting should include a preliminary conceptual design discussion lead by the artist, who should arrive prepared with pencil sketches, samples and materials in hand.
The creative process is very fragile, it is imperative that everyone go away feeling comfortable, without reservations. An old glass blowing saying, if it’s bad in the beginning, it will be worse at the end. The artist can now be fully engaged and paid for doing what an artist does, creating beautiful art. It is the artist responsibility to develop a proposed, full color rendering and detailed pricing for the entire project, for client approval.
At Stone and Glass we bill separately for design/artistic development services. We also retain all copyrights unless there is a pre-project arrangement. The patron pays for our time not our concept.
Once there is agreement on design and pricing, and the appropriate deposits have been received, the physical work is scheduled and will begin. The job of the artist is to be prepared and have work completed on time for the patron to approve.
There are milestones and approval check points in the schedule.
The job of the patron is to approve the work in a timely manner. Any change orders approved and authorized.
After the fabrication work is completed in the studio and final client approval is received, installation is scheduled.
One of the most important aspects of your custom lighting project at this point is that everyone involved, client, designer, architect and family is in full agreement before the final artwork is installed.
Changes after installation can be very painful, time consuming and costly.
The finished installation is breathtaking.