I first saw the works of Dale Chihuly at the De Young museum here in San Francisco in 2008. Unfortunately, I went on the very last day of the exhibition and the crowds made it rather unbearable. But I loved the pieces I managed to see, so I jumped at the chance to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass while visiting Seattle after my stay in Mount Rainier National Park.
The first part of the collection one encounters is the Exhibition Hall, which repeated many of the rooms and pieces I had already seen in San Francisco; however, it was lovely to see them in the presence of a lot fewer people.
To transition to the Garden, one passes through the Glasshouse, a glass and steel structure inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. While we were there, Chihuly’s Fire Orange Baskets was suspended from the ceiling, but it wasn’t clear to me whether it was intended to be a permanent installation.
The final section of the collection is the Garden, and this is really the highlight of the museum. Like one of my favorite rooms in the Exhibition Hall, the Northwest Room, the Garden mixes pieces of art with the elements that inspired them. It was beautiful and playful. As a bonus, if you ride up to the top of the Space Needle right next door, you get a lovely view of the whole.
As a final note, this is a beautiful collection, but I found the $19 entrance fee on the pricey side for such a small museum.