Yuriy Shevchenko always wanted to do something else. Growing up in the old Soviet Union, Shevchenko dreamed of design. Educated as an engineer, he worked in the petrochemical field for one of Russia’s largest oil companies for nearly 20 years ... and yet didn’t stop thinking about doing something creative. “I was not happy,” says Shevchenko, who owns Glass Concept, an architectural glass design studio in Hikes Point. “[Engineering] was not my area. I always dreamed of being something artistic.”
Glass became his medium. “I started as a hobbyist five years before I came to the United States,” Shevchenko says. He made a lot of stained glass for family and friends, but at the time nobody seemed to want art glass for their homes. Thinking outside the frame and armed with experience, Shevchenko and his family moved to this country – and got ready for the next chapter. “I came to the United States and my dream came true,” he says. “I found what I was supposed to do in my life.”
In the ensuing two decades since picking up the glass cutter, Shevchenko built Glass Concept, starting in a Bardstown Road storefront (where it was known as Design Service) before moving to more spacious digs on Hunsinger Lane two years ago. “I found a terrific space, with accommodations for a studio, showroom, office and production area, all separate,” he says. “It’s a freshly renovated building – very nice and contemporary looking.”
Shevchenko combines traditional and modern techniques in bringing his creations – stained, fused, sandblasted and architectural glass – to life. He draws his designs by hand before using software programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop, then prints out the perfected pattern onto paper, which is then used as a template for cutting and assembling the glass pieces.
This is not to suggest that Shevchenko’s engineering background was for naught. “I’m happy with my glass,” he says. “It’s very fun stuff, and I’m going forward using my experience as an engineer to put together some ideas.” He hints at his next innovation but is opaque about the details while he works out what is to come, simply stating, “I try to put together interior design and contemporary glass working. We can make terrific pieces for interiors using light and glass.”
Shevchenko lives in Jeffersontown with his wife, Margarita, a monitor technician at Jewish Hospital, and their 10-year-old son, Anthony. (Daughter Marina is a Milan-based international businesswoman.) “I have a very good, great family,” he says. Will either of his kids follow him into the family business? “I don’t think so,” he says of Anthony. “It’s too early to say. I’d be happy if he takes after me, but I need to build the company first. My daughter is a successful business lady.”
And so Shevchenko builds his business, taking the occupational hazards in stride. (When asked if he ever cuts himself, he laughs and says, “Absolutely. Just 15 minutes ago.”) His pride in his craft is evident. “People like glass and light and are always excited about it. I’m always working to [make] it better than it is right now, and I believe people will follow it.”
Glass Concept is located at 3036 Hunsinger Lane. For more information, to schedule a consultation or to see samples of Yuriy Shevchenko’s work, visit www.aglassconcept.com or call (502) 479-7700.