Viridian  is a key collaborator and supporter of one of this year’s major showings at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne.

The company provided specialist technical and material support for two of the contributing artists. 

The exhibition initiative by interiors and graphics consultancy Nexus Designs and ACCA explores the relationship between art, design and architecture.

Titled ‘NEW010, A Nexus Designs and ACCA collaboration, the exhibition celebrates individual art and sculpture within a dynamic gallery space. 

Viridian’s support is represented in two of the seven powerful exhibits: Louise Hubbard’s ‘Dead Still’ and Fiona Connor’s ‘What You Bring with You to Work’ have benefited from technical support by Viridian, Australia’s premier glass manufacturer and supplier. 

Danielle Midalia of Nexus Designs says the exhibition reflects a strong collaboration between artists and industry.

“The idea as a practice was to reflect on the philosophy of what we do. The process of collaboration also facilitated new relationships. Nexus Designs Director Sonia Simpfendorfer and designer Midalia worked closely with all of the artists and industry contributors. We exposed the artists to different professions and fostered new relationships,” explains Midalia. “But we also tested ourselves as a practice in the design of the internal spaces. It is a stimulating, cross-disciplinary test that dissolves the boundaries that often confine ideas.” 

Midalia says Viridian’s support for the exhibition was instrumental, especially for the sculptor of Dead Still. “Lou Hubbard describes materials in very specific ways. Glass for her has a very different meaning to ours. The colour and thickness of glass needed to be extremely precise. It was critical that the glass be a very specific colour, shape and weight.  

“Understanding the artists’ perspective was important. It has helped us see materials in an entirely new light. While we don’t necessarily have their artistic freedom, it has encouraged us to look beyond accepted standards and be a little braver,” observes Midalia.

Hubbard’s lifelike polystyrene and latex horse, compressed by 300 kilograms of laser-cut, Viridian SuperClear glass delivers audiences a knockout, emotion charged sculpture.

Viridian’s architectural segment manager Con Kantis was initially approached by Nexus Designs to assist with the exhibition. “It was an exciting opportunity to contribute expertise in addition to material to such a project. That was the most satisfying aspect – an involvement with the artists that indicated the material possibilities. Much better than simply saying: ‘Oh yes sure, here’s some glass’ and then washing our hands of any further involvement.” 

Kantis was able to help recommend the best glass types – Viridian SuperClear toughened – that allowed maximum transparency and legibility of Hubbard’s prostrate horse. 

“Kantis provided a high level of technical information about placing one sheet of glass on another and it was why I reverted to separate, layered, lenses for balance,” says Hubbard. 

Hubbard says Viridian’s input was invaluable. “They were certainly supportive and interested in pushing their glass in that way. Knowing from the outset what I could expect from that glass impacted upon manufacture of the horse. “As it turned out, the glass kept escalating in weight from 110 to 170 then 250 and finally 300 kgs.”

For structural integrity reasons, the lightweight ‘tabletop’ became a heavyweight almost overnight. 

Viridian was keen to push the boundaries of how glass can be used and showcase its more unusual applications.

“Viridian is passionate about actively supporting the use of glass in extraordinary ways, and having the opportunity to assist two such talented artists has been extremely rewarding,” says Kantis. “Hopefully the exhibition will inspire more artists, designers and architects to explore the possibilities of glass.”