31.3

Polygon Glassware

blown and cast glass

31.3 is a group of 31 individual glass elements designed to be arranged into a multiplicity of compositions. The departure points for the project are twofold: a mathematical query into geometric tiling on the one hand, and the investigation of ancient colour formulas in Czech glassmaking on the other.

The forms of 31.3 are derived from a particularity known as the five-fold tiling problem.  It was once believed that a surface could only be filled completely and symmetrically with tiles of three, four and six sides. In the 1970s, British mathematician Roger Penrose discovered that a surface could be tiled in an asymmetrical, non-repeating manner in five-fold geometry with just two shapes.  31.3 brings compositional consideration to the five-fold geometry by offering three distinct shapes (a polygon and two distinct diamond forms), adding aesthetic considerations to the mathematical ones.

The treatment of colour for the glassware is the result of ancient formulas from the Czech glassmaking tradition, some of which date back to the 1600s. These jealously guarded formulas are in the custody of various glass masters in the Czech Republic, passed on and refined from generation to generation, often employing peculiar and arcane ingredients such as animal bones, plants and minerals gathered from the Czech countryside.  This alchemical approach to colour stands in sharp contrast to the mass customization and optimization occurring in contemporary glass colour formulation elsewhere in the world, and consequently yields unique, mysterious, and unexpected tones rarely found in the contemporary colour lexicon.

OAO’s relationship with the various Czech masters is open ended, allowing the masters themselves to decide what colours to melt and how many pieces to make every month.  Shipments of finished glass are received at our studio and parceled into sets without any colour composition or selection on our part. As such, no two sets are alike. The diamonds in the pattern are cast as solid elements, with the polygons blown hollow and as delicate as possible.  Once these discreet colourful elements are grouped together following the five-fold geometry, new colours and relationships emerge through reflection and transparence.

Made in Czech Republic