Glass has been a key element for both residential and commercial architecture for centuries. One reason is that glass is so versatile. From fine leaded crystal to durable smartphone screens, glass is prized for both its aesthetics and its many unique properties. And with the proper treatment, it can be produced as clear, tinted, bulletproof, solar, energy-efficient or in any of hundreds of other configurations.
A Long History in Architecture and Construction
The Romans were the first to create windows using non-transparent glass pebbles. By the late third century, clear glass panes could be made by blowing a cylindrical glass bubble, slicing it in half, and then flattening the glass out. For centuries, architectural glass was far too costly for everyday use and was considered to be a luxury only the wealthy could afford. The English even based taxes on the number of windows a building had, using them to gauge a person’s wealth. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that high-quality glass could be manufactured at a moderate cost, making it available to everyone. Today, glass windows are used in virtually every home in America, as well as architectural wonders such as the Willis Tower in Chicago, the Louvre Pyramid, and even the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building.
Glass Used within Our Buildings
Beyond beautiful windows that let in the light, glass also helps us live and work more effectively. Light moves through fiber-optic cables made of glass to deliver high-speed internet to our homes and offices. And once those signals reach us, glass is used on the screens of smartphones and other connected devices due to its strength and durability. Glass is even being used to create markerboards, which are proving increasingly useful in education and office settings. However, not everyone has gotten the message. According to an October 2018 MarketScale custom market research survey of verified college administrators in the U.S., just 7% of college administrators say their classrooms have writeable glass surfaces as compared to 82% with traditional whiteboards. This imbalance is surprising since glass markerboards combine durability, writability, and optional magnetization to create a high quality, durable work surface. They can even be backpainted or created with custom designs such as maps, charts, and logos.
Glass as a Design Element
Glass has the advantage of being a sustainable material, making it appealing to 21st-century designers. It is a material that is 100% recyclable, safe, and inert, and can be made from abundant materials, such as sand and recycled glass waste. Low-iron, ultra-clear glass can be made even more beautiful using backpainted, water-based coatings to produce custom colors to match nearly any color palette or luxury room aesthetic. Backpainted glass is ideal for backsplashes, tabletops, countertops, shelving, and more, and adds a beautiful detail to any interior.
Element Designs Uses Glass Beautifully
Amazingly versatile, delicate yet strong, glass has opened many windows of possibility, challenging each generation to find new uses. Element Designs has taken on that challenge, incorporating glass into the sleek design of many products, including our glass markerboards and backpainted glass. At Element Designs, we make modern design easy to achieve by providing custom, contemporary cabinet doors, sliding door systems and surfacing products that are manufactured right here in the United States. Our products feature timeless materials – including glass – to complement residential and commercial environments, offering durability, sustainability, and beauty.
Learn more by listening to “Building a Sustainable Future out of Glass” with Nelson Wills below, or by visiting https://www.element-designs.com/aboutus.