Glass art is one of the best ways to update your restaurant’s aesthetic. The use of glass makes a statement, augmenting a classic look or a modern one. Glass molds into practically any form including chandeliers, wall sculptures and lighting fixtures. As a professional glass artist who has designed specialty pieces for dozens of restaurants here are a few tips I suggest when choosing an artist to upgrade your establishment.
Importance of experience
Find out if the artist has worked in your industry. You want to work with an artist who will create something that you will love, so look into their track record. Read their online reviews. Ask for references. Examine their portfolio, either on their website or by asking for it. Ask questions about the challenges you face by putting glass art into your space. Ask who is responsible for the installation of the art. An experienced artist will be prepared to answer questions like these.
Invoking a Feel
The art you choose must be able to get across the feel you want the piece to invoke in your restaurant. In the consultation process the artist should be asking the majority of the questions. When I meet with a client for the first time, I want to find out what they are looking for in the design and then look at the environment to find out what purpose the piece will suit. The first question I ask my clients when designing glass art is, what kind of feeling do you want people to have when they walk into your restaurant? Do you want a big statement piece for elegance, or do you want the piece to fit into the surroundings naturally? Do you want the art to be subtle, so the focus is on the food and drinks you are serving?
The art you choose should seamlessly integrate into the overall design of your establishment. Nobody wants a piece of art that is out of place and throws off the entire design aesthetic of the bar. Having an artist who is asking the right questions will ensure you receive the correct style of art for your establishment.
Collaboration is key
The best client-artist relationships are collaborative. When meeting with the artist for the first time go into the meeting with a general idea in mind for what you want. The artist and client should create a dialogue and continuously be asking each other questions during the design process to ensure both sides understand every aspect of the piece. A good artist will be able to create the design the client desires but also be able to give input when needed through their experience. If a client wants a large chandelier, I may offer them the option to create a smaller piece that better suits the surroundings. I may bring out different color options so they have a better understanding of just how much color can affect the design of a lighting fixture. I may tweak a design because the piece would be unstable in its current stage.
On the opposite side, as an artist, I want to make sure I am not overwhelming my client with my experience. I want the client’s input so I can create their design. The client should offer tweaks to the design process. If the client doesn’t like the colors the artist has proposed, then say so. If the client doesn’t like the size or the way the glass is looking in the early design stages, then this is the time to let the artist know they need to go in a different direction. Providing input throughout the design will help the artist edit the design as they go along giving the client exactly what they want. In the end this piece is for your establishment so speak up and collaborate with the artist to get exactly what you are paying for.
Set a budget
Glass art, especially large chandeliers, can be expensive. It is important to understand this when deciding on an artist to create your piece. Be wary if the artist’s price seems a little low. An artist may price the initial design in the low range and then once finished they give you a bill 5 times over the initial price. Look for an artist who is open and willing to talk about budget. An experienced artist will know exactly what they can provide you and for a relatively accurate estimate.
Be aware the price may change as you go along the design process. The more you add to a design the more expensive it will become. Don’t be afraid to tell the artist a design is getting out of your price range. Instead work with them to edit the design to suit your needs but also stays within your budget.
Choosing the right glass artist is essential when upgrading your bar with glass features. Finding someone who has experience in your industry, is open to collaboration and can create a design you love within your budget are all important parts of the process. Using the above tips will help you find the right artist to create a spectacular design for your restaurant.
Newt Grover is a professional glass artist and owner of Newt Glass in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has over 30 years of experience designing chandeliers, sculptures and lighting fixtures for multiple restaurants, hotels and museums across the southwest.