Martina Yamin commissioned this work from James Carpenter in 1989, after seeing a work of his in a magazine aboard a flight. When she returned to New York, she cold-called the designer, who is known for his artful and experiential approach to glass, and asked him to build a similar work for her home. “When you enter a typical brownstone,” says Yamin, “the first thing you see is a stairway and it’s kind of depressing. We wanted to break up the space and modulate that.” The present lot, composed of a tall plane of dichroic glass and a bench of solid white oak, produces the atmospheric and perceptual spectacle Carpenter is celebrated for; he asserts that we “think of glass in a very, very limited way.” More than something you simply look through, Carpenter’s glassworks creates their own effects, casting deeply-hued reflections and changing as the light does.

The James Carpenter work that inspired Martina Yamin's commission.

Working with glass has always been about working with light, and trying to engage people with qualities of light that surround us…glass itself becomes a way of translating information that’s carried by light, the landscape, and sky, and you have a more intimate connection.

James Carpenter

James Carpenter b. 1949

James Carpenter is a designer and architectural consultant, renowned for his unexpected and artful use of glass. Born in 1949, Carpenter enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design intending to study architecture, but after taking a class with Dale Chihuly, he changed his focus to sculpture. He graduated in 1972 and worked under Chihuly until 1975; the two designed lighting together and Carpenter established his unique approach to glass under Chihuly’s tutelage. Carpenter also worked for Corning Glass Ware for over a decade, developing products. In 1979, he founded his own firm, James Carpenter and Associates, initially working on small, private commissions and later consulting international architectural offices on high-profile buildings and spaces. His most known and celebrated projects include a re-design of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in 2010, the Sky Reflector-Net in the Fulton Center terminal in New York in 2015 and assisting on the design of 7 World Trade Center, which also featured a Jenny Holzer work. Carpenter was awarded a MacArthur genius grant in 2004 and was honored by the American Institute of Architects in 1991 for his innovative contributions to the field.