"David's impossibly big project"
Is now installed in Casa Calypso
It was an amazing feat that took lots of engineering, planning, building and restructuring of Casa Calypso to be able to receive this priceless piece of art work. It could be the second largest Stained Glass work that the famous artist Sylvia Laks has ever done. Silvia Laks If you look carefully you can see that there are many thousands of pieces of colored glass that make up the design.
David and Cecelia were given this art because the place where it was previously installed, a restaurant that never opened, was sold. The new owner didn't want anything to do with the beautiful stained glass ceiling and just wanted it removed as quickly as possible. David and Cecelia were at the right place at the right time. A gift from the Universe.
This is how it all happened:
After seeing an ad on Craig's List, David, the owner and founder of Calypso Cruises, called a cell phone number and talked to the man in charge of selling all the restaurant items that David saw on the list. One of the items on the list was the stained glass ceiling. The picture was small and it was difficult to tell what size the stained glass or "vitral" was. David tried calling again the person in charge of selling all the unwanted items to let him know he was very interested, but the call didn't go through. Plans were made to go and see it first thing the next day.
Curious about the stained glass, wondering about where it was constructed and who was the artist, knowing that because of the immense size, it had to have built locally; David and Cecelia did a study on the internet and found designs built by Sylvia Laks.
Early the following day, David and his wife Cecelia went to see the items for sale and were amazed when they walked into a room and saw the beautiful stained glass. Both David and Cecelia agreed it would be an amazing addition to their Casa Calypso located in Puntarenas. Since new owner of the building where it was installed didn't want it and had said "just get it out of here", without hesitation David said, "We'll take it."
Now, how to get it down from the ceiling and transport the 5 meter X 6 meter delicate stained glass structure 100 kms to Puntarenas?
David called his friend and golf buddy, Omar Bonilla, who is a Construction Engineer and Architect, to invite him to meet at the abandoned restaurant to take a look at the stained glass and get his advise on how to lower it; the first step. When Omar arrived early the following day he could not believe that such a stunning piece of art was going to be thrown away and congratulated David on his great find. With Omar's instructions, a plan to lower and dismantle the huge structure was made.
David hired the workers who were busy doing the remodeling and removing doors, pillars and other items the new owner didn't want. After spending a fortune on bubble wrap, David oversaw the lowering of the heavy ceiling, weighing thousands of pounds, and carefully numbered and delicately packed the topmost pieces of glass. David watched carefully when the large metal frame the holds the concave colored design in place, was cut into 5 pieces. The sides of the structure are where the most intricate pieces in the design are located. Then David watched anxiously as the pieces were covered in bubble wrap and then carefully stored in one of the empty rooms and away from the workers who were busy with jackhammers taking down giant pillars and interior walls.
In the meantime, Cecelia called the factory where both she and David thought the piece of art was made. Cecelia talked to Enrique Laks and after describing the piece he told her that indeed it was an art design structure that his wife made 7 years earlier. Enrique also told Cecelia that his wife, Sylvia, was in the United States and had just been awarded by The Stained Glass Association of America; First Place Overall for a work of stained glass she had presented.
"You have no idea what you have", Enrique told Cecelia. "This piece of art you were given is probably worth more than the house where you plan to relocate it."
Enrique said he would look into his files and see if he had more information and as soon as he did, promised to call back.
The following week, David took his architect friend, Omar Bonilla to Puntarenas to look at the interior of Casa Calypso and design whatever was needed to prepare the house to receive the enormous stained glass ceiling. Casa Calypso is a 100-year-old house and was not constructed to support thousands of pounds hanging from the ceiling. Omar designed a metal support system and made a list of materials needed to build it.
It took a week to wait for the electrician to move the electric wiring. The carpenter had to remove the inside ceiling and the existing wooden support beams. Materials were ordered and delivered and welders began construction on the metal structure designed by Omar. For good access, part of the side of Casa Calypso had to be removed so that the welders had the necessary room to build the metal structure that would support the heavy stained glass. Since the stained glass, even after cut into 5 parts, was too big to go through the front door, removing part of the outside wall of Casa Calypso was the only way to get it inside the house.
The inside roofing had to be painted white..........and on and on went the preparations. While this was going on in Puntarenas, the stained glass was moved to another empty room and then after a week it was moved again to the outside of the building and placed on the front lawn, it was covered with a tarp and there it sat for one month while Casa Calypso was prepared structurally to receive it. It rained every day and every day David and Cecelia prayed that what they now knew to be a precious and valuable piece of art was safe.
David hired a semi truck to make the 100km trip to Puntarenas. Because of the size and weight, it had been cut into 5 sections in order to be mounted on the truck and transported.
David took some of the glass in his car arriving hours before the semi truck. Like an expectant parent, David paced and waited until finally the truck pulled into the driveway at Casa Calypso.
The 5 sections of the framed stained glass was carefully placed on the driveway, covered again with the tarp, and was guarded until all the inside construction was completed and ready to receive the main structure.
It took several days and David made the trip between San Jose and Puntarenas every day to supervise the construction and preparations. When David supervised the unloading of the art piece from the truck, he noticed that part of the frame that holds the glass had rusted in spots. The crew from Calypso's yacht catamaran Manta Raya got busy cleaning and then they repainted the metal frame before it could be re-welded, hoisted to the ceiling and the large panels of glass reinstalled. This took another few days.
Finally the big day arrived. The new priceless stained glass art was hoisted to the ceiling and placed on the metal frame that Omar had designed to support it. Fit like a glove.
Unfortunately, while unwrapping the larger topmost glass David found that four of the pieces had cracked. Carefully he glued them with silicone and the carpenter placed them into the frame.
Cecelia had been keeping in touch with Enrique Laks over the progress of the relocation of his wife's beautiful art. David sent photos of the broken pieces to him. Both David and Cecelia wanted Enrique and Sylvia to know that after 6 weeks of preparation and construction, the beautiful stained glass ceiling was now safe and hanging in it's new home, Casa Calypso. The next day David and Cecelia received an email from Enrique and Sylvia letting them know that they were thrilled to learn that Sylvia's priceless art was safe and the broken glass could be replaced. If the cracked pieces were brought to their factory David and Cecelia would be given the replacement glass. Imagine, after 7 years, they still had some of the same colored glass in stock.
The stained glass ceiling would have been destroyed if David had not saved it. Even after moving the whole thing 4 times, including dismantling and renting a semi to transport it to Puntarenas, preparing the house and then putting it back together, very little damage was done. Only 4 of the beige ceiling pieces cracked and as you read, the artist and her husband are thrilled that it has been saved and the broken beige panels can be replaced.
Look at the West end of the stained glass ceiling and see the colored glass that make a sunset. It is part of the art but also in the true direction of the sunsets in Puntarenas.
Maybe it was always supposed to be hanging where it is now? Well, David and Cecelia think so. They feel very blessed to have this amazing work of art proudly displayed at Casa Calypso.
Now, if you go to Puntarenas you must stop at Casa Calypso and see for yourself the intricate beauty of this massive work of art and appreciate all it took to once again be on display for the world to enjoy.