The neo-Gothic church St. Immanuel sits prominently atop a small hill at the edge of a public park in the town of Königstein in Germany. In recent months, the 9½ foot diameter rose window above the main entrance has been drawing everyone’s attention. This window has been redesigned by German artist Bernhard Adams, who was selected by the church’s congregation for his large-scale colorful paintings. The new window was installed in summer 2022 and is made entirely from vibrant handblown glass in around 35 different colors. During the day, the window shines sumptuous multicolored reflections into the church interior. At night, when the church is illuminated, the window is easily discernible from afar, shining brightly like a beacon. Since its inauguration, the window has been hugely popular with the church’s community as well as the town’s population as a whole, turning the church building into a popular, inspiring image, significantly raising the profile of the parish.
For the commission in 2022, the community requested an artwork that would respect the neo-Gothic building and the existing historic windows, whilst simultaneously expressing their contemporary, forward-looking attitude. They had extensive conversations with Adams prior to the artist beginning his design, discussing space, colors and light. When Adams’ design was completed, everyone was convinced. His window displays an abstracted star, referencing the poinsettia in the historic choir windows opposite. To the artist, the star is a symbol of hope and new beginnings, a stark contrast to the old rose window, which depicted the Apocalypse. His window does not admonish, it represents the community’s spirit and extends an invitation to every passerby.
For the young artist, this was not just his first commission in glass, but was also his first commission for a Christian place of worship. Before commencing his design, he embarked on a research trip around Europe’s oldest and most magnificent cathedrals, travelling 3,700 miles in the process to study liturgic spaces, their atmosphere, and the materiality of glass.
He partnered with Derix Glasstudios, Germany, utilizing their extensive experience. At their workshop in Taunusstein, he selected various shades of handblown Lamberts® glass for use in his design. This precious glass has been used for centuries to fabricate stained-glass windows and is characterized by its vibrancy and beautiful surface texture. Each piece was hand cut and carefully grinded around the edges. Then, the individual pieces were laminated next to each other on tempered safety glass avoiding the visual interruption of lead caming.
For the entirety of the fabrication process, Adams worked closely with his designated project manager, who guided him along the different steps. From a site visit to discuss the lighting situation up to the window installation date.