With the studio Debongnie (http://vitraux-debongnie.be), we are working on a Stained-Glass prototype to be installed in a 13th Century Cistercian Abbey in the south of France. My project passed the pre-selection and we are in the final of the competition against 2 other duos artist/glass-studio.
Cistercians didn’t put colors, pictures or crosses on their windows. Their windows were supposedly « albae fiant, et sine crucibus et pricturis » (white – or colorless(?) -, and without cross and representations). Very few original 12 & 13th Century Cistercian windows survived and we know little about how they interpreted this rule.
My proposal is to produce “white light” in the Abbey, by a combination of different optical types and colors: transparent light greenish blue, light blue and light reddish blue mostly, and opalescent whites that diffuse light and are less transparent.
During the course of a sunny day, the light will vary. The visual appearance of the window will be changing a lot because of this variation.
Behind the window is a yellowish-white stone-wall. Before noon the window and the wall behind it are in the shadow. Around noon, the sun illuminates the window directly and the opal glass are becoming very bright. During the afternoon the wall behind becomes illuminated, allowing the transparent colors to appear. Finally around 4-5PM the shadow moves on the window and the opal glass stops being so bright.
GOLD + BLUE = WHITE LIGHT
Interestingly, opal glass will appear white but will project amber light on the walls or the floor of the building. The average color of the light passing through the window has been computed to be white. The glass selected last month in the factory Lamberts in Waldsassen were chosen to produce this effect, and the situation has been simulated with the light spectrum as measured last summer in the south of France.
BLUE SKY REVEALS THE COLORS
Finally, there’s the possibility of seeing the sky from an angle in the Abbey. When people will look at the window with the sky behind, it will reveal new colors again. What looked almost colorless will appear as different shades of blue and yellowish whites.