Company headquarters or entrances to great public buildings often feature large scale installations made from glass, be it glass railing on stairs or glass wall panels in the lobby. But because of its association with grand scale projects, people do not think of it as a material to incorporate into their own interior décor, which is a waste, because with a little imagination, interiors can be made to look that bit more special and interesting.
Uses for glass
Glass railing on the stairs look awesome due to its reflective and transparent feature. It is expensive, but looks beautiful.
Glass wall panels made from brightly colored fused glass make great artworks for living room walls, especially if backlit.
Abstract glass designs can be used as bath panels or for showers.
A table top can take on great character if it is covered with colored glass,
Thick float glass makes a wonderful kitchen counter top and splashback.
Glass bricks can be used to create internal walls to divide rooms.
Glass doors can look very smart and modern.
If budgets are small, choose a glass basin instead of a ceramic one for a contemporary look to your bathroom or buy large glass vases or vessels as decorative pieces to place around the home.
For modern glass furniture, look at ranges from Italian manufacturers such as Fiam or German designer Ronald Schmitt whose glass tables are exquisite pieces of precision engineering.
See the work of UK glass artist Danny Lane for inspiration as to the design possibilities of glass.
As children, we are taught that glass is fragile and will, inevitably, break – and that view tends to stick with us into adulthood. But glass can be immensely tough and durable, so take a look at architectural glass companies and the versatile products they make. In the UK, companies such as Brighton-based Float Glass Design and Fusion Glass do very interesting, versatile and creative products that range from counter tops to screens, partitions to doors and staircase railings to lobby wall panels.
These companies will also make one-off bespoke items, so people should go and talk to them about what they want. If a client wants, say, a red, green and blue abstract glass panel for a wall, they will more than likely be delighted to create a design and make the product for them.
Types of glass
Glass must obviously be of the toughened variety, so it won’t shatter into shards in the event of an accident. Glass can be sandblasted, etched, screen-printed, laminated or simply painted on one side to give an opaque look. Architectural glass companies love to experiment with new techniques, such as sandwiching fabric between two sheets of glass to create decorative panels. Costs will vary depending of the size and purpose of the glass product required.
Splashbacks made from back-painted glass
One useful tip to bear in mind is that sometimes it pays to visit the local glassworks, rather than a specialist architectural glass company that is used to collaborating with architects and interior designers.
This is particularly the case for glass splashbacks in kitchens or bathrooms, which are a lovely contemporary alternative to tiles.
Simply choose your paint color (oil not emulsion), ask a local glazier to come and measure the area of wall that needs the glass splashback, give them the paint and their price will be considerably less than going to a specialist company.
Ajay Duggal is a London homeowner who saved £700 by doing this. “We were quoted £1,400 for the splashback from a well-known company. An interior designer friend suggested we call up the local glassworks tucked away in the bowels of King’s Cross and they produced the panels for the splashback for £700. We bought the paint for them and they did the rest. The result is fantastic.”
Glass railing looks awesome and beautiful due to its transparent and reflective feature. However, it comes in different made like clear glass or textured glass. It is perfect for interior staircases and balcony like what is found in five-star hotels and giant corporate offices. It is the best alternative to bricks or ceramic railing. It looks refreshing.
However, take note that glass railing needs good care and maintenance in terms of cleanliness. It needs regularly cleaning.
Glass bricks can be clear or textured. They are suitable for interior walls dividing, for example, an ensuite bathroom from the bedroom. They could also be used to block up windows that face the street or are overlooked by adjacent properties. They made a refreshing alternative to a standard wall when dividing a room and can be even used for flooring.
But bear in mind that while they look hollow, they are very heavy, so take advice from an architect or structural engineer on whether they are suitable for the property in question.
Properties of glass
Glass looks unquestionable modern. It spreads light around. It lifts the character of a room. When backlit, the effects can be stunning, giving a room a different character once night falls. So don’t be afraid to use it.
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