The Starry Night Story
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It is Union Hardware's pioneering tradition that is the genesis of Starry Night. Our goal was to create a living piece of art that not only reflects our commitment to being distinctly different, but to also illustrate our whimsical and groundbreaking spirit.
Looking at a warehouse containing older and in some cases out of style and discontinued door hardware, we asked what could we possible do to put these products to better use. We knew that their commercial viability was limited. Instead of sending them to the scrap yard, we decided to create something memorable.

May 22 2011
Our initial thought was to use the hardware to recreate signage for the showroom's exterior. We quickly discovered that the Union Hardware name in brass plates and knobs was not a good idea so it was back to the drawing board.

May 30 2011
I looked for inspiration and found it among our one-of-a-kind showroom displays.

May 30 2011
I continued to experiment with images of water drops and then it hit me. Starry Night was born. I could replicate Vincent Van Gogh's masterpiece using discontinued door knobs, levers and plates.
Chrome levers were employed to emulate the swirling clouds in the painting. I counted on the brass fixtures tarnishing so that the finished work would darken evenly to provide a rich visual appearance.

August 4 2011
The bottom half of Starry Night presented another challenge. There is a village to the right of the painting and an ominous,disproportionately sized tree on the left hand side. To get the necessary visual flow, we moved the tree further out and it worked!

August 10 2011
With the design finalized, it was now time to attach the hardware. I drilled and mounted hundreds of knobs and levers to create our version of Starry Night. The final piece of the puzzle was to select materials that could withstand all weather conditions.
The solution was to use PVC plastic in similar size and thickness as the plywood base. To prevent the paint from peeling, we used dyes mixed with clear PVC primer that actually melted into the top layer of the plastic.
Installation was the final phase of our Starry Night project. We made a frame out of PVC and stained it too look like wood. We also built a frame for the bottom to account for the slope and support both the work and the elevated tree in the foreground. After the frame and support were in place, we attached the six 4' by 4' PVC panels.

October 24 2011
What would Starry Night be if you it did not look great after the sun went down? Lights were installed shortly after the installation.

Starry Night is a living piece of art. The sun causes colors to fade requiring us to repaint twice a year to the delight of our customers and visitors to downtown Bethesda. With each painting, Starry Night looks different.

November 26 2011


Thanks to the Internet, Starry Night has gone viral and has been seen by millions of people around the world. It continues to inspire us to constantly evolve and feature gallery-quality displays in our showroom.

Starry Night symbolizes who we are and what we offer. The sculptural art that adorns the side of our building illuminates our ability to transform products in our showroom and create works of art that provide years of enjoyment and pleasure in our customers' homes.

Starry Night was also a learning experience. We continue to to learn and listen. We hope you enjoy Starry Night as much as we did in creating it.

David Van-Goghberg
Artist
7800 Wisconsin Ave Bethesda, MD 20814 301-654-7810