Glass artists and business partners Billy Guilford and Geoff Koslow saw potential in a former auto repair shop in the South Slope neighborhood of Asheville. The 5,000 square foot, one-story masonry building features a vaulted wood ceiling, large industrial windows on three sides and prominent garage doors on front inviting people in from the street. The project challenges included:
• Bringing the vacant building up to code compliance
• Creating a fully functional hot glass blowing studio along side an upscale gallery space
• Minimizing construction costs while allowing for future upgrades
From the outset, the owners and architect agreed that success would require a minimalist design approach and DIY ingenuity—less is more. Planning started by identifying only the elements essential to blow glass, display and sell finished work, and ensure public safety. Then those elements were arranged to simultaneously feature both the studio and showroom. The gallery welcomes guests into the building where they can enjoy finished glassworks and then wander to the observation area to watch the artists work. New walls are arranged on diagonals creating drama with relatively few elements.
Design and construction blurred as each step informed the next. The owners acted as their own general contractor and even built most of the rough carpentry, equipment, and millwork themselves. Many design ideas emerged during on-site conversations between the owner and Mackey Mitchell with hand gestures and quick sketches taking the place of typical construction documents. The project was a labor of love—successful thanks to a grand vision, attention to detail, and sweat equity.
Mackey Mitchell went above and beyond our expectations with their creative design. They were a pleasure to work with. Collaborating with us from day one to opening day, they helped us transform an abandoned space into a high-design showroom.
- Geoffrey Koslow
Owner, Lexington Glassworks