A Living Room Set Made Of A Half Ton Of Broken Glass

And we thought our Ikea couch was uncomfortable.

From afar, Mark Reigelman II‘s new art installation at the Heller Gallery in New York looks like a living room covered in AstroTurf. It’s only when you zoom in that you realize you’re looking at something much weirder (and seemingly more sinister): a set of 12 household objects, from chairs to a book to a bearskin rug, encrusted in shards of recycled glass — more than 1,000 pounds of it.


The good news is that Breaking the Bottle, as the installation’s called, isn’t nearly as dangerous as you’d think. Reigelman, a Brookyln artist, spent three months constructing it. First he tumbled all the glass to remove jagged edges. Then, using 20 gallons of epoxy resin, he attached shards to wooden armatures layer by layer until each object was covered in roughly 40 layers of glass. The resulting pieces are totally functional if perhaps not as comfy as a Barcalounger. “It feels like sitting on pebbles or gravel,” Reigelman tells Co.Design — a good thing according to his cat Jeeves, above (fourth slide).

The objects range from $500 for the book to a whopping $9,250 for a dining-room table. As for what they mean: Reigelman says Breaking the Bottle is a commentary on domestic security, with the glass pieces representing the physical (and, we suspect, psychological?) barricades people build between their homes and the big, scary world out there. “By fusing elements of protection with objects of the home, my installation debates the need for fervent homestead defense while pointing out the repercussions of over-protection and the impact it has on social dialogue,? he says in a prepared statement. The irony, of course, is that the art works are so expensive that whoever buys them will want to enlist everything short of the Secret Service to keep them safe.

[Hat tip to Frame; images courtesy of Mark Reigelman]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.