Leading artist collaborates with staff and students to recycle glass into beautiful architectural panels

An exciting collaboration between a leading artist, staff and students across two faculties at UWTSD has culminated in an innovative project to produce a reception desk for the new IQ building in SA1 Swansea Waterfront made from recycled glass.

From left: Ian Standen, Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Jana Kleprlikova

From left: Ian Standen, Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Jana Kleprlikova

The brain-child of Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Founder and director of Oseng-Rees Reflection, the project involved 3,000 glass bottles being collected from a restaurant in Llanelli, processed, designed and manufactured into bespoke panels.

“My ambition was to make beautiful architectural panels from recycled glass and to show that up-cycled glass bottles can be made into an artisan product that meets the needs of the architectural industry. With this collaboration I wanted to prove that innovation happens through a change of mind-set and the project was designed around the five-ways-of-working of the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act. Only by breaking out of a rigid way of thinking, new ways of working towards a sustainable world can come through. ”

Dr Oseng-Rees, Founder and Director, Oseng-Rees Reflection

A wide range of research staff including Ian Standen who has set up the new Architecture programme at the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, Lara Hopkinson from environmental conservation, Allan Nantel from construction and Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi from construction management were involved in the project. The enhanced student learning aspect was overseen by Dr Gregory Owen and Lisa Burkl oversaw the contemporary processes in glass arts. The project was based on a highly innovative field of research which investigated the feasibility of low temperature fused recycled glass as an architectural material. It is an area of study that has been developed by Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, working with recycled glass in design and construction.

“This project is an example of up-cycling a waste material (in this case bottle glass) into a high value architectural design application with a strong artistic merit. Both staff and students have been very excited to be involved in this interdisciplinary project linking creative talent to its strong environment, sustainable and recycling credentials.”

Dr Oseng-Rees

The project brief was set by Kier Construction and the University SA1 Project Team at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development. As well as the input of research and teaching staff from the university, the project was divided into smaller sub-projects and run as separate undergraduate student projects from the different Schools and Faculties. Students studying Architecture, Glass (Architectural Arts), Project and Construction Management, Environmental Conservation and Engineering combined their talents to complete the project.

“UWTSD, Kier Construction and Stride Treglown were all very supportive and enthusiastic about the project, appreciating how the use of recycled architectural glass can enhance the wellbeing of people who visit the new buildings and how the university’s reputation on environmental and sustainability issues can go hand-in-hand, with the creative industries and mutually reinforce each other,”

Dr Oseng-Rees.


“Tyra came to us with the idea of trialling a new recycled glass material and we thought this was too an exciting opportunity to miss. It presented an opportunity for our students and academics to work together and it is a sustainable product that reuses a material that’s been in the local area.”

Mike Bessell, Senior Estates Manager at SA1 Swansea Waterfront

“I came to UWTSD to set up the architecture course, so I was aware of the requirements for a reception desk at the very start. However, the opportunity to try something new and collaborate with other colleagues in the University, and to work with Tyra and the potential of using recycled glass, was too enticing.”

Ian Standen, Architecture

From left: Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi, Dr Greg Owen, Allan Nantel, Lara Hopkinson, Ian Standen, and Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees

From left: Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi, Dr Greg Owen, Allan Nantel, Lara Hopkinson, Ian Standen, and Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees

“I got involved when I was a student at UWTSD. I was in my third year and Tyra came in and introduced her work with recycled glass material. I liked the idea of the sustainability of this material and potentially working on the live project.”

Jana Klerprlikova, Graduate project Glass

“I decided to run with Tyra’s option with fused recycled glass. I am excited about innovation and new ideas in the construction industry and after further research into and discussions with Tyra, I could see benefits of having and using this material and I think it’s something that should be considered and considered further as a building product”

Dave Halley, Graduate Project, Construction Managements

“What I love about this project is that Tyra picked this up and absolutely ran with it. Tyra’s and her team’s design systems thinking meant that they wanted engineers, environmental conservationists, artists and others to work on a project that actually covers 4 schools of the University and two faculties.”

Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, UWTSD

“We found the process of working with Tyra to be a collaboration in the true sense of the word. She and her team became an integrated part of the design team and brought an inspiring, fresh approach to the work.”

Pierre Wassenaar Director, Head of Technology and Innovation, Stride Treglown Architects

Phase 1 of University’s the £350 million development is complete and has created a new home for Yr Athrofa, The Institute of Education, the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, the Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) as well as a new library.

The University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront is to create a neighborhood with academic activity at its core to attract companies to collocate with the University to exploit knowledge, develop skills, support existing companies and attract new investment into the region.

Press release from University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Royal visit

This was my day Thursday 16th November 2018. I got to meet HM Queen Elizabeth II and to shake HM King Harald V's hand. I also met so many wonderful people at the centenary of Anglo Norse Society

It was a great honour to be invited as a Norwegian artist and designer based in UK, as well as to represent the Welsh-Norwegian Society. It is great to see that my work as an independent glass artist and designer at Oseng Rrees Reflection is greatly valued.

46324247_10161150727335626_8510931632117514240_n.jpg
Invitation from Anglo Norse Society

Invitation from Anglo Norse Society

We are all waiting for the royals arrival

We are all waiting for the royals arrival

A teaser video for what more to come...

Hi All,

A video is soon finished that show how the reception desk commission happened… The full video is soon finished, but here is a teaser for how the reception desk at UWTSD were made... spoken by Dr Jane Davidson, former minister for environment, sustainability and housing in the Welsh Assembly Government and currently Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement and Sustainability at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

A piece of art at University of Wales' newest campus in Swansea

The reception desk is finally light up. It is a a piece of art, a centerpiece and a great welcome to all visitors and students at the newest building of University of Wales Trinity Saint David!

This is what I always wanted to do every since i finished my PhD in 2009. To show what recycled glass/ waste glass / even ‘low quality glass’ can be made into. It can meet the design criterias, be reproduced, controlled and become aesthetically pleasing!

My PhD was based at both Faculty of Architecture, Computer and Engineering (FACE) and Swansea College of Art, and combined the technical requirements with the drive to make something beautiful with the material. Without both aspects this wouldn’t have happened, and soon I will show you how! Watch this space!

Recycled glass panels light up

Recycled glass panels light up

Recycled glass panels with subtle pattern inlay

Recycled glass panels with subtle pattern inlay

Details of recycled glass panels

Details of recycled glass panels

Details with light passing through

Details with light passing through

With Ian Standen, Senior lecturer in BA Architectural, BA art glass graduate Jana Kleprlikova and myself just after the installation of the desk.

With Ian Standen, Senior lecturer in BA Architectural, BA art glass graduate Jana Kleprlikova and myself just after the installation of the desk.

Five years ago...

I found this old clip and though of sharing it. Nothing happens overnight. 

In 2013 I tried to get a reception desk made out of recycled glass... It didn't happen.... But, I didn't give up and my vision stayed strong... #CircularEconomy #UpCycling #RecycledGlass #ArtGlass ...

I discovered that the only way to get it done is #StartYourOwnBusiness #Entrepeneurship #BelieveInYourself

What a year it has been!

Yesterday the reception desk has now been installed at the new academic campus of UWTSD, Swansea, and the finishing touches is being finalized with light behind the panels. I couldn't be happier.    

Proud moment to see the reception desk being installed

Proud moment to see the reception desk being installed

Nearly finished installed

Nearly finished installed

Details of the recycled glass panels

Details of the recycled glass panels

Artists learn and artists teach to the new generation!

As a part of the Recycled Glass Bumblebee Project there were an invitation for the artist and Prof Andrea Liggins to visit the scientists who were involved in the project to see and learn from entomologists work. I work with Dr Peter Graystock in this project and will now visit his work at the Department of Entomology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, along with scientist and Assistant Professor Scott McArt

It is very exciting to learn from from everyone at the department and this feeds into my own arts practice and especially to the project at Casllwchwr Primary School with Bumblebee identification and recycled glass bumblebee project.  

The project is to teach our new generation to look after our environment using the media of art as a tool to learn. Year 1 pupils have done part one of the project which were Bumblebee Identification.  

As a result from one morning with the children, feedback from parents were that they've learnt so much about bumblebees from their five year old's which they did not know about the bees.  Below is a quote from one parent after the bee-walk. 

'I just wanted to tell you about (nn's) morning today. She just spent about 20 minutes teaching me and my son about bees. She has remembered an incredibly amount of what you taught her. Thank you!'

The art-science project will continue with painting and learning more about all the different types of bumblebees in UK and finally to make recycle glass bumblebee with the pupils. And, not at least, the children will also learn about what happens to their jam jars and bolognese jar they throw in the recycling at home, as they have all been asked to help clean and remove labels in preparation of the glass to be used!

The Class were very interesting learning about bumblebees

The Class were very interesting learning about bumblebees

Catching bumblebee

Catching bumblebee

Very interested children to learn about the vast variation of the bumblebees

Very interested children to learn about the vast variation of the bumblebees

Recycled glass as an architectural application for the new UWTSD Campus at SA1

Last year staff and students from University of Wales Trinity Saint David were engaged in an exciting new project at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development to produce a reception desk made from recycled glass.

The group aimed to design and build the main reception desk using broken bottle glass in an interdisciplinary showcase involving undergraduate students. It also included a wide range of research staff including Ian Standen a Senior Lecturer on the University’s new BSc Architecture programme as well as Lara Hopkinson, Allan Nantel and Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi from the school of Built and Natural Environments. The engineering aspect were overseen by Dr Gregory Owen and Lisa Burkl, who were the Programme Director on BA Glass (Architectural Arts) also collaborated.

The project were based on a highly innovative field of research which investigates the feasibility of low temperature fused recycled glass as an architectural material. It is an area of study that developed by Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, working with recycled glass in design and construction. She were also the Project Manager who oversaw the work as it developed. She said: “This project is an example of up-cycling a waste material (in this case bottle glass) into a high value architectural design application with a strong artistic merit. Both staff and students have been very excited to be involved in this interdisciplinary project linking creative talent to its strong environment, sustainable and recycling credentials.”

The brief was set by the Kier construction staff at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development. As well as the input of research and teaching staff from the university, the project were divided in smaller sub-projects and run as separate undergraduate student projects from the different Schools and Faculties. Students studying Architecture, Glass (Architectural Arts), Project and Construction Management, and Engineering have combined their talents to complete the project, even designing and constructing a bespoke glass crusher.

Dr Oseng-Rees said: “UWTSD, Kier Group and Stride Treglown have been very supportive and enthusiastic about the project, understanding how the use of recycled architectural glass can enhance the wellbeing of people who visit the new buildings and how the university’s reputation on environmental and sustainability issues can go hand-in-hand, with the creative industries and mutually reinforce each other.”

Phase 1 of the £300 million development is well underway and will see the creation of new facilities for the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, Faculty of Education and Communities as well as new library facilities.

The University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront is to create a neighborhood with academic activity at its core to attract companies to collocate with the University to exploit knowledge, develop skills, support existing companies and attract new investment into the region. 

The innovative development will include purpose-built facilities for learning, teaching and applied research, as well as social and recreational spaces for use by the University and wider community in the heart of the city center. 

New enterprise hubs will be created together with high skill accelerator schemes, to grow new businesses linked to the universities portfolio, to further develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.

Jana Klerlikova Art glass student

Jana Klerlikova Art glass student

Recycled glass panels for reception desk design interation

Recycled glass panels for reception desk design interation

David Halley making samples for impact testing of the recycled glass

David Halley making samples for impact testing of the recycled glass