Glassflow began as an exploration of Flow and how energies melt metals into a sculpture. Expanding this idea onto a client’s site, Ulrich replaced arcs of water of his fountains with arcs of glass. The result was stunning and versatile. LED lights accentuate the tableau, creating the same combination of glass and stainless steel as the buildings of the plaza. For the full story of how these glass fountains came about, continue reading below the slideshow.
In the year 2000, Ulrich was approached by Pioneer Cemetery in Seattle to propose a memorial fountain. It was the first time he created the “C” shape, or broken circle shape, communicating how part of our lives are concrete and tangible but the rest of our being, both before birth and after death, is part of the great flow of the Eternal. In the end, the cemetery decided the infrastructure was going to be too complicated because they would need to disturb part of the area around the fountain.
Within a year, and after Ulrich’s first commission installed on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Ulrich was invited to exhibit his work at the American Institute of Architects in downtown Seattle. Architects have always been drawn to Ulrich’s work because of the clean lines, the intersections between components and his mastery of stainless steel.
For the AIA exhibit he created a small octagonal basin with a false bottom where the plumbing was hidden. The maquette (model) he had created for the Pioneer Cemetery proposal was set on a standpipe in the center of the basin. For the opening, we filled the basin with white wine and ran the pump so the exhibit’s attendees could serve themselves. Out of that exhibit came commissions, connections and good friends. Once the concept was proven, Ulrich immediately envisioned something bigger, taller. When the Post Alley Sculpture Garden began organizing outdoor sculpture exhibits, Ulrich’s work was requested for a show.
The 2003 PASG exhibit attracted some media attention with many of the attendees coming from the larger art community. Ulrich was inspired. The first TriElements was 8 feet tall, fabricated from 304 stainless steel. Today we only use 316 stainless, a much finer alloy for a long-lasting beautiful gleaming finish, regardless of the sanded finish he applies.
Within a year, Ulrich won his first monumental public art commission for a 20-foot tall version of TriElements Fountain to be installed in front of the Everett Arena, Everett, Washington where Boeing has its largest manufacturing facility. After TriElements was installed, Boeing would often use it as the backdrop for major news conferences.
Since that time, this elegant design has been recreated from 6-foot up to 14-foot tall. It has always been in stainless.
In 2014 Ulrich creatively solved a client’s dilemma at the same time as he developed an interesting twist on this successful design. This particular commission was for the front of a corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. They had wanted a TriElelments Fountain but soon realized that if the wind changed, their visitors would get an impromptu shower! So Ulrich proposed a glass version. We have now re-created the glass version a dozen times over the last few years.