When it comes to glass in buildings its evolution goes back hundreds of years with holy paintings created in stained glass not only to depict religious meaning but to open up the building itself to more light. It also helped to encapsulate and portray the divine within churches and holy buildings.
It’s renaissance now as a creative part of building design is literally taking it to new heights as it is moulded, shaped and coloured to create visually stunning installations that demonstrate its adaptability as a material, which will be welcome news for manufacturers and processors. It can be moulded and no doubt we will continue to try to create greater and more challenging design scope by incorporating it into all sized projects.
Whether it is in a traditional or modern building, it still continues to fascinate us as its transparency adds a touch of natural aspects to any installation. Large sky scrapers with glass facades for example reflect their surroundings and the sky, creating a picture that hides the steel and concrete underneath. Its use in construction has stood the test of time and continues today with incredible glass architecture creeping ever skyward in a bid to provide a new dynamism to commercial design.
However apart from facades and window performance in the domestic sector, glass as a material has moved into new avenues with skylights, glass roofs and canopies now all becoming popular.
It’s not just the walls and windows which are proving attractive to architects today but tailored screen printed glass is now reaching the consumer, with work surfaces and walls personalised to create dramatic scenes or tromp d’oeil for spectacular effect.
Apart from the surface of walls, glass is now used regularly for skylights and loft conversions with consumers drawn to the appearance it creates in their properties. Solar glass panels are now fast being considered as the environmentally friendly option on both the domestic and commercial front.
Currently it is being used for its visual appeal in floors and on balconies, with many considering that it adds a type of beauty to a project that reflects a luxurious lifestyle.
There does seem to be a genuine fascination to feel as though you are floating on air with glass flooring creating a unique finish to renovation and new build projects. The Sears Tower in Chicago probably reflects this best with canopies and balustrades that create a floorless aesthetic for those with the stomach to stand on them.
For those who love their gardens, it is becoming a growing trend to build a decking balustrade in glass as it is durable and doesn’t rot, fade or deteriorate like other materials used in garden design. Higher standards in manufacturing methods of toughened and laminated glass has given processors greater diversity to their production methods. Balustrades are so simple to install and for the end user are exceptionally easy to maintain.
In its various guises, glass adds real value to a property even though the initial outlay may prove slightly more expensive in the beginning.
As a decorative feature builders are benefitting from the fact that glass flooring can be adapted for both external and internal use. Thanks to modern manufacturing methods it is safe and it makes a bold statement, which helps to create a more light and airy environment in a home – which are great selling points for those looking to add style and value.
Glass flooring provides a unique glass design characteristic which homeowners, restaurants and hotels are all keen to adopt as a highly distinctive architectural feature. One of the more creative adaptions for toughened glass in recent times has been the creation of customised spiral wine cellars that both serve a useful purpose and provide a stunning aesthetic.
As a material, glass is unobtrusive and it works well with the majority of architectural styles, being used on interior floors or to form the treads of a modern staircase – its elegance as a product is unsurpassed.
Glass design and its diversity remains a fascinating area of discovery – welcome news for processors