Location: Solana Beach
Designer: Betsy K. Shulz

Fusible Glass Artist: Chris Austin
Contractor: VDLA Landscape Architects

landscape glass, firewall
The Firewall is breathtaking at night.

Landscape Glass Starts a Fire in Solana Beach

Southern California is an “Extreme Fire Zone“. The threat is so great that utility companies are even shutting off power during times of high risk. But between our homes and businesses stand a wall of protection. After all, our firefighters  protect our communities from the catastrophic danger of fires. This “firewall” made of public servants can’t earn enough of our admiration. A recent project in Solana Beach uses landscape glass to help show our high regard for our first-responders.

fire, firefighters

A Song of Glass and Fire

One of our most recent projects amounts to a monument by esteemed artist and local resident Betsy K. Shulz. She showcases this sentiment towards firefighters with the same power and respect that fire deserves. She used just under 3000 lbs of our landscape glass in a new,  stunning art project for the Solana Beach Fire Department. This was a collaboration much like our Civita Park Project.

landscape glass, firewall
The front and immediate sides of the sculpture was created by contemporary glass artist Chris Austin.
landscape glass, firewall
The final result is a stunning homage to fire and flames.

“I wanted to create an art piece that talked about containing fire”

-Betsy K Shulz

The “Firewall”, as the project is called, is a towering 12-foot tall laser cut metal sculpture containing many elements. To begin, the sides feature a wall of carefully arranged landscape glass. This landscape glass included red, orange, and yellow “embers”. Second, this theme of landscaping glass continues to the front area of the sculpture. The burning hot flames then move to the front face of the sculpture with hand-made ceramic elements and fused glass. This portion of the project was created by esteemed glass artist Chris Austin, who fused ceramic and glass elements to tie the front of the installation together.  The front face combines fused blue and green glass. On the back there is a laser-cut steel door with a lexan panel. It features a  custom-printed photo composition.

landscape glass, firewall
The landscaping was redone to accommodate the theme of fire throughout.

The landscape itself was not ignored, either. Low-water and fire-resistant foliage was added to the surrounding area once the water-hogging grass was removed. Plants and rock features were all selected to be reminiscent of the burning art installation that towers above them. VDLA Architects worked in close conjunction with Betsy K. Shulz on the selection.  Flowering plants with bright burning shades were curated for their bloom colors.  The project added two seating areas using our Brown’s Ranch Bench Boulders.  VDLA Architects also installed 11 Desert Sand Boulders ranging in size from 2 to 4 feet.  Desert Gold Decomposed Granite was used to finish the ground cover, along with some Supreme Walk-On Bark Mulch. The result is a cohesive vision from landscape to sculpture.

Desert Boulder, bench boulder
Here you can see how our Desert Boulders add height and depth to the landscape.
Browns Ranch Bench Boulder
On the right is our Brown's Ranch Bench Boulder.

Landscape Glass DIY

Landscape glass used in this installation is very similar to our fire glass. However, it comes in much larger chunks. Because of this size, you can use it in many ways for your projects. Here are some ideas:

Use Landscape Glass to create  a dry “streambed”

First, use landscape glass in the blue and green color range. Landscape glass makes for a permanent “water” feature that won’t cost a penny on your water bill. After that, add LED lighting for night time and have your “stream” stand out!

landscape glass, dry streambed
This "streambed" features a rock bridge for added texture.
landscape glass, dry streambed
This landscape glass "stream" uses large and small glass chunks.

Use Landscape Glass to create a virtual “Fire Pit

Pile Yellow, Orange, and Red chunks of our glass high to add bright color and texture to your landscape. Or, much like this project,  create a wall of this translucent material using steel mesh structures. In addition, add outdoor rated LED lighting and you have a unique and breathtaking “fire” feature that doesn’t require gas lines or firewood. Not only that, your local fire department will love you, too!

landscape glass, virtual fire pit

Use Landscape Glass to create a “Fountain” 

Here’s another water feature idea,  first arrange stones and landscape glass to create a no-maintenance “Fountain”. Next, add plants such as blue agave, for instance. This results in the illusion of  water “flowing” upwards. In addition, add animals, gargoyles, mermaids, or any other figure because you can create action and a sense of movement in your fountain. Finally, add LED lighting for a bright nighttime element.

landscape glass, fountain
Plants are a great addition to a glass "fountain".
landscape glass, fountain
This real fountain uses large glass boulders to add color and depth.

Thanks to All Firefighters

With her Solana Beach project, Betsy K. Shultz showcases a creative and searing reminder of the awesome power and beauty of fire. We are proud to have played a small part in the promotion of great community art. Thank you to all the devoted public servants who fight our forest and city fires every day. We are happy to do our part to help customers with fire resistant landscaping every day.

 

For more information on this project, visit:

City of Solana Beach:www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us

Betsy K. Shulz: https://betsykschulz.com/

California Wildfires: https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/firemap/

VDLA Landscape Architects: VDLA.US/solanabeachfirestation