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Local glass artist Stew Langer’s most recent work can be seen at the new Hollywood Casino, and he’s excited to see the next hand he’s dealt.
When Stew Langer started in the glass industry in the ’70s, his duties included cutting and assembling stained glass windows. Fast-forward to today, and one of his latest creations will not only be seen by locals, but is critical to the experience of some of Kansas City’s Very Important People. His studio operation, Uroglass, recently completed a cast glass wall that serves as the privacy enclosure for the VIP lounge at the brand-new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway. The 21-foot-tall round wall comprises 36 pieces of glass, most of which are 5-by-7, Langer says.
Langer’s career took off after his first job making stained glass windows. He established his studio in 1985 before buying two existing companies in 1986 and 1987. Uroglass now completes projects for residential and commercial spaces using kiln-formed embossed glass, sculpture, large-scale graphic etching and specialty finishes.
As you might imagine, a 21-foot-tall glass wall isn’t built in a day. Langer says some of his greatest challenges include logistics management and communication, specifically helping clients and colleagues visualize the final product from only a small sample, “like visualizing a wall color from a paint chip,” he says. The other major challenge? “Our perpetual need and desire to employ new techniques to achieve results similar to what our clients have seen elsewhere and brought to us to execute,” he says.
He adapts to this challenge with plenty of talking and planning, along with a true passion for his work. He’s always ready for what comes next. For now, he’s got bids out on other casino projects and a corporate commission that could use up to 10,000 square feet of glass. “I’m [also] really excited about the prospect of doing projects that include custom colored back-painted glass, specialty laminating and new textures, which we design and develop for customers,” he says.
Ask Stew: Why glass?
“Glass is durable, antiseptic, can be fashioned into many shapes, forms, thickness and color, transparent or opaque, is impenetrable when prepared properly and is the only material I know of that can be used to fashion a barrier that is transparent, completely recyclable and not fashioned from oil-based product or synthetic polymer. It’s readily available, meets many of the criteria for LEED certification and has stood the test of time in its functionality, as well as decorative, applications.”
Check out Stew's flipbook!