Perhaps best known for his beautiful collections of shapely and vibrantly hued glass vessels, with names like Ovelle and Scribe, Goodman was also an innovator in the field of architectural glass, and one whose ingenuity and creativity was sought after by some of Canada’s most respected firms.
Apart from running Jeff Goodman Studio, which he established in 1989, Goodman was a board member for the Ontario Craft Council and for the Glass Art Association of Canada. He was also a mentor and advisor at Harbourfront Centre and he taught at Sheridan College. It was as a student at Sheridan that he first discovered his passion for glass; he soon abandoned his original major, woodworking, to pursue glass making as a profession.
His elegant work can be seen in many architectural icons in Toronto. His gorgeous Enso chandelier is suspended high above the spa of the newly completed Ritz-Carlton Hotel and another, branch-like, fixture adorns the hotel bar. For the Royal Ontario Museum’s C5 restaurant, designed by II By IV, he grouped several of his blown-glass vases together to form a sinuous sculpture; and for the porte-cochère of the Hazelton Residence and Hotel, he created sandcast and carved glass panels that are each meticulously unique yet together convey a unified, incredibly sophisticated aesthetic.
Before he passed away, Goodman had completed a major commission for the Baha’i Temple of Light, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, in Santiago, Chile. For this collaboration, which spanned six years and required the firm to build a bespoke factory with six kilns in order to cast 30,000 square feet of glass, Goodman made 200 samples until they had the right one. “It was a breakthrough in chemistry, aesthetics, engineering and methodology. It’s impossible to imagine how we could have done this without him,” says Siamak Hariri, who expects the temple to be complete in four years.
“He was very dear to me. He came as close to a soul collaborator as it gets,” says Hariri. “He had an amazing combination of artistic forthrightness, determination, will, talent and inspiration, with gentleness and humility. I take solace in the thought that so many people will enjoy his handiwork when the Baha’i Temple opens.”
In an email sent to friends, Dan Menchions of II By IV also expressed sadness. “Jeff Goodman was not only a beautiful soul but a wonderful inspiration to Keith [Rushbrook] and I. We have worked with Jeff on many projects over the history of our company.”
Alessandro Munge and Sai Leung, who worked with Goodman on installations at the Interior Design Show as well as on the Ritz-Carlton Sales Centre, also shared their thoughts. “Jeff Goodman was not only an incredibly talented artist; he was humble, full of passion, love and commitment to his work and clients. Munge Leung was fortunate enough to work with Jeff on many projects; our interiors are graced with his creative work and we know the heavens above are just as fortunate. Jeff will always be remembered in our studio as we continue to support and honour his work.”
In honour of Jeff Goodman’s life, the Harbourfront Centre will host a memorial on April 17, from 6 to 9 pm, on its lakeside terrace.