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7.8metres tall, created to last 1,000 years
21st June 2016

Just 1,000 years since the cornerstone of Strasbourg Cathedral was laid, a large part of its stained glass artwork that was missing since 1683 has been refurbished and replaced by digitally printed glass.

Thanks to the artistry of the designers, artist Véronique Ellena, master glassmaker Pierre Alain Parot, and the expert team at SAINT-GOBAIN GLASSOLUTIONS using their Dip-Tech digital ceramic in-glass printer, this stained glass installation is said to achieve a convincing historic look that fully blends with the existing façade and original stained glass.

Véronique Ellena who designed the project, described her goal as conveying “the beauty and diversity of the world” on glass. She photographed everyday people who came to the cathedral to “bring their transfigured colors to the light that penetrates through the stained-glass in the cathedral. As a photographer, it was a way to draw the light on the stained-glass."

The end result was an image of the face of Christ, inspired by Hans Memling’s painting Christ’s Benediction’ with his face made up of a montage of 150 of the anonymous faces Ellena photographed. In the installation, Christ’s face is on the right panel, and the left panel pays homage to nature.

Ellena, together with Saint-Gobain GLASSOLUTIONS and Dip-Tech, then converted her graphic images into a ready-to-print file formatted for printing directly on glass.

Besides the need for creating colorful detailed images, the artist wanted to ensure longevity for the project. Or as Jean-Francois Outin, Interior & Design Market Director at Saint-Gobain described it, “a solution that would last, along with the cathedral itself, for at least another 1,000 years.” As such, Outin explained: “It was clear to us from the beginning that ceramic colors would need to be infused into the glass, as organic inks would not stand the exposure to air and humidity.” 

Master glassmaker Pierre-Alain Parot, who was the technical advisor to Véronique Ellena, created a blown glass second skin that was applied over the printed imagery. The final result is a 7.8metre (25.6 feet) high photomontage consisting of 40 printed panels.

“The Strasbourg Cathedral was an historic opportunity, to highlight what digital ceramic in-glass printing can do,” said Dip-Tech CEO, Alon Lumbroso. “We’re impressed by what our partner Saint-Gobain was able to achieve – successfully bridging the artwork from millennium to millennium – and we look forward to continuing to develop our technology to match evolving market needs.”


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