Joy of decorative glass
It’s easy to see why people are drawn to decorative glass installations. Kiln-cast glass refracts light and reflects color. It changes with ambient light levels, surrounding colors and movement. Installing decorative glass is like putting architectural scale jewels into your projects. This glass is both durable and gorgeous. Long after resin, flooring, wall coverings and other building products have been replaced, decorative glass will remain. It stands the test of time. Historically, art glass has been highly prized for its beauty, strength and permanence. People will always be drawn to its visual appeal. The use of art in commercial, hospitality and residential markets will ensure the look never goes out of style.
What’s new and cool?
My company, Meltdown Glass,
Paints to enhance art glass also have become popular. Meltdown has been using transparent and opaque paints, both cold-applied and fused-in, for years. The range of colors, opalescent, color-shifting and metallic paints and shimmers, allows art glass to dazzle. Permanent enamel paints can be fired into the surface of art glass for high-use areas including lobbies, hotels, restaurants and other public places. Depending on the customer’s desire, these pieces can be painted in single or multiple colors. The aesthetic quality and durability of the cold-applied glass paints has improved dramatically in the last few years. Meltdown Glass recently created custom windows for a tropical themed hotel restaurant with a brightly painted bird of paradise and banana leaves on cast glass.
Fun effects in cast glass, like bubble glass and color shifting dichroic coatings, and creative effects like metal leaf fused between layers of glass, are used to create artistic installations.
Large decals of digital images in a small number of colors can be fused permanently into plate glass. Scott Surma of DecoTherm,
Any color imaginable and any photographic image can be applied to plate glass. Alexsandra Guinan, principal of GlassKote
Versatile art glass
Interior and exterior decorative glass curtain walls are popular. Cast glass curtain walls allow the transmittance of light throughout a space while preserving privacy. Interior installations include office wall systems and conference room walls. Cast glass can be placed in insulating glazing units and installed like plate glass in curtain walls. Meltdown Glass is getting more and more calls for the use of bent cast glass walls.
Design professionals also are making full use of art glass for doors, entrance ways, double front doors, privacy windows and walls. They’re using cast glass for residential projects: sidelite and transom windows, spa privacy windows and shower enclosures. Thick cast glass countertops are considered hot, as is the use of logos cast into glass, customized signs and representational cast glass artwork installed in homes.
Greg Thompson of GRT Glass Design,
Fire-rated glass formerly lacked decorative qualities. Meltdown Glass in partnership with SaftiFirst, San Francisco, offers most of its decorative glass in 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-minute fire-ratings. Panels can be up to 32 square feet in area.
Cost-wise, decorative glass products run the gamut from machine-textured glass, sandblasted glass, glue-chipped and laminated shattered glass up to handmade custom designs and refined artistry in unique works of art.
I hope this issue will pique your interest to learn more about the exciting field of decorative glass and what it can do for your projects.
The ingenuity, technical developments, and artisanship of many talented individuals and companies rapidly create newer techniques and combinations of design techniques. Uses for decorative glass are expanding. Call a glass artist; call several. The kaleidoscope of design possibilities is sure to amaze you. Ride the crest of the wave.