Gaining Perspective: 15 Projects that Explore Interior Glass Use
Despite the initially slow and arduous process of molding glass into shape, mankind has used the material for thousands of years. According to archaeological evidence, the first human-made glass tools and jewelry were found in Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt around 3500BC — and after the invention of the blowpipe in Syria in the 1st century BC and the Western Industrial Revolution made mass production easier, the material’s signature traits of transparency and durability could finally be applied on a large scale in architecture and design.
Fast forward to the present day, and the use of glass for building facades and windows is well documented. But what about once we move inside? By treating glass for different levels of transparency, cleverly positioning it within a room, or employing its reflective surface to their advantage, interiors can benefit just as much from the material as exteriors.
The following 15 projects illustrate different ways of glass use that exemplify how deliberate glass accents create contemporary interiors that use the material’s natural traits to their advantage.
Glass walls & partitions
Glass walls and (often moveable) partitions are one of the most popular ways to employ the material inside. Especially for smaller spaces, swapping a room divider made out of solid and opaque materials for one made of glass can dramatically impact the overall design effect. In addition to visually enlarging a space by extending the viewer’s gaze, glass walls and partitions can sound-proof just as effectively while exposing other architectural elements or, in the case of treated or layered glass, create a fascinating and tantalizing blurred vision of what’s to come.
011 Apartment / flipê arquitetura
Sardenya Apartment / Raúl Sánchez
Maria Farinha Filmes / +K Arquitetos
Coworking Sant Magì / BARRI Studio
Their pivotal connecting function makes staircases one of the most fundamental architectural elements in any home — and yet, they are often imposing, no matter where in a building they may appear. In order to artificially reduce their hefty physical presence while losing none of the stability, architects may opt for floating glass steps and even transparent railings to achieve a more subtle effect. Additional light is another welcome side effect as the daylight from different floors trickles down without being blocked by an opaque material such as wood or concrete. And while the thought of stepping onto glass may be scary at first, modern advancements in chemical treatment and tempering of the material have made sure it will endure the load as well as everyday use.
Light Loft / LPzR architetti associati
Sardinera House / Ramón Esteve
GC House / YourArchitectLondon
Glass furniture is especially popular for interior designs that strive for an ultra-contemporary, luxurious feel. While glass coffee, side, dining tables, and shelves can create the illusion of floating objects, other accent pieces like glass chairs can emphasize their surrounding furniture and create the illusion of a bigger space through their transparent appearance. But even a superficial glass treatment can help create a modern environment: whether it be kitchen cabinets or wardrobes, by adding a reflective glass finish, designers can transform pieces into sleek accent pieces in no time.
Casa di Ringhiera / studio wok
Espaço Áurea / Julia Faria
Apartamento LA / David Guerra
In Harmony with Nature Cafe / Reutov Design
Few other items of glass interior design come to mind as quickly as mirrors. By quite literally turning the transparency of glass on its head (and onto us), a well-placed mirror not only creates the illusion of grandeur in small spaces, but also reflects light in a way that multiplies and brightens its surroundings. No matter if one opts for a tabletop design, a wall-leaning piece, or even decides to outfit an entire wall with reflective tiles or floor-to-ceiling panels, the use of mirrored surfaces creates a feeling of vastness and can cleverly change perceptions to reflect texture and form across space.
Canyon House / Studio Hagen Hall
Mirror Maze Apartment / YAEL PERRY I INTERIOR DESIGNER
Family Lar Apartment / Paulo Moreira Architectures
Achioté Villas / Formafatal
Find more projects in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.
This article is part of an ArchDaily series that explores features of interior architecture, from our own database of projects. Every month, we will highlight how architects and designers are utilizing new elements, new characteristics, and new signatures in interior spaces around the world. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you think we should mention specific ideas, please submit your suggestions.