“If you actually had an explosion at a glass factory, apart from everyone getting killed, it would be pretty exciting visually,” the ever-quotable Frank Gehry told the Chicago Tribune about his latest project in the city: a glass security desk recently installed in the lobby of SOM’s iconic 1957 Inland Steel building, dubbed Icehenge for its glacial appearance.
Gehry’s U-shaped desk is made of 15,000 pounds of green-tinted glass, fractured into two work surfaces. Arrangements of ice cube-shaped blocks surround the seating area, mirroring both the sculptural qualities of Gehry’s facades and the attention-seeking monumentality of his architecture. Icehenge dominates the Inland Steel lobby it occupies: its ostentatious design is the focal point of the entryway, overshadowing Richard Lippold’s nearby “Radiant One” sculpture. Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin called the desk “visually exciting” before noting that its design disregards the distinctive setting: “The desk, despite its allure, is ultimately a minispectacle, a piece of furniture whose unstated function is to draw attention to itself.” Which is no great surprise: Icehenge sprawls just like its creator’s ego.
- Anna Kats
Image courtesy of John Lewis Glass.