Edmiston Screen 1989

Stained glass

50 sqm

No longer in situ.

Aotea Centre Collection. Funded by the Edmiston Trust.

The idea of a glass screen came from the Aotea Centre project architects as a device to separate Albert’s Restaurant and the foyer.

Sanford’s design evolved with several considerations in mind. She wanted to celebrate the cultural activities of the city with billowing banners, hints of weaving, theatrical allusions and reflective illusions alongside dark midnight skies and gold starry nights. She was also aware that she had to consider the importance of the screen’s impact upon entering the foyer both at night and in the day.

The boldly coloured screen featured imported hand blown glass, coloured and reflective, that could be appreciated with little direct natural light.

Sanford worked closely with Mark Davidson and Karilyn Cowper to fabricate the screen over an eight month period.

With the closure of the restaurant the screen has been placed in storage.


Born in Connecticut, Holly Sanford emigrated from the USA in the 1970s.

Beginning her studies in France in 1965, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970.

In New Zealand she initially worked on residential commissions. She was involved with the first NZ Society of Artists in Glass Conference in 1988. 

After co-organising and attending workshops in the eighties, run by American designer Ed Carpenter and German glass artists Johannes Schreiter and Jochem Poensgen, she began to develop designs for commercial projects and soon undertook commissions for large-scale public buildings.

Sanford’s first New Zealand public commission was for Forum North, Whangarei’s civic centre and soon after she completed work for the University of Auckland, the Auckland District Court, the Aotea Centre and the Hamilton City Council. Sanford has undertaken many residential commissions as well as work for churches and corporate headquarters.

From 1987-1991 she taught glass design at the Carrington Polytechnic Craft Design School, Auckland (Unitec).

Between 1991-1998 she lived in Malaysia and Vietnam painting and designing textiles whilst also teaching English. 

Returning to New Zealand, Sanford continues to explore glass as a medium and has been actively involved organising exhibitions and conferences both here and overseas.