About glass (in the interior)

We all know that glass is one of the most important materials in architecture today and it is no.1 material if you want your home to be bright and full of light. We always try to pick or design a window that has the largest possible glass surface (smallest possible window frame) because we love the feeling of bringing the outside in through that beautiful big window.

But what about glass in the interior, and how much do we know about glass? Where to use it and why or most importantly where not to use it?

Glass transmits, reflects and refracts light. In interiors is usually used as a divider, but it can also be used as a wall covering/backsplash and as a part of a furniture piece – like a tabletop.

It is important to know that the glass is fragile and will fracture unless laminated or specially treated, but it is also extremely durable under most conditions. It has great resistance to chemical attack, it is corrosion-resistant and it erodes very slowly.

For the interior it’s important to talk about glass transparency and translucency and choose whatever fits better in your space – these are two main points that will help you decide on your choice of glass.
Transparent glass is allowing light to pass through and the objects behind it can be distinctly seen.
A translucent glass is semi-transparent – it’s allowing light to pass through but the shapes are quite blurry.

If you want to have a divider in your home, but still want your space to feel big and airy and see on the other side of it, it’s best for you to choose transparent glass divider.

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior
Apartment remodel in Zagreb // photos: © upgradesign

This is exactly what Lana and Nikola did in their amazing new home. They divided the living room with a glass wall and they used a transparent glass wall because it visually expands the entire living area and it allows them to have a wonderful view at the city throughout the whole facade. The curtains behind this glass wall allow the privacy if needed.

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior | colorful interior

Happy Vally Residence - Lim+Lu - MLC 4 S
Lim+Lu – Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photos: © Nirut Benjabanpot

Or maybe using glass with beautiful black powder coated stainless steel frames like Lim+Lu did in Happy Valley Residence. By replacing the walls that compartmentalized the apartment with glass partitions the interior became adaptable in multiple situations and natural light is able to pass through from room to room.

A&CO - Rawson House
A&CO – Rawson House

Or you can use it as a divider for your walk-in shower. Most people choose some kind of translucent glass in their bathroom, but these days a see-through glass is getting more and more popular especially in small bathrooms – it makes space feel bigger.

If your choice is to have a blurry-looking glass, the translucent one, there are few options. Since it allows you to have some kind of privacy it is a perfect choice if you don’t need that feeling of a bigger space and if your only requirement is to allow natural (or artificial) light to come through.

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior

BLA ARCHITETTURA – Morrissey // photos: © Beppe Giardino

This is what BLA architettura did in Morrissey apartment – they used a UGLASS wall as a divider between a bedroom and a big wardrobe. This translucent divider allows the light from a bedroom window to come to the wardrobe.

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior
Apartment remodel in Zagreb // photo: © upgradesign
Apartment remodel in Zagreb // photo: © Senja Vild

Or maybe you need a window-like structure with an artificial light placed between two frosted glass plates. During the day this ‘window’ allows natural light to enlighten this dark hallway, and when it’s dark outside the artificial light between is used to light up a hallway and a kitchen worktop.  Brilliant idea!

For all of these choices, the most important is to choose the right kind of glass! Because it is used in the interior it’s important for a glass structure to be a very strong and durable.

Tempered (toughened) glass is known as the ultimate safety glass. It has structural durability and thermal strength. This kind of glass is great for kitchen or bathroom backsplash or any kind of dividers, doors etc. When broken it crumbles into small granular chunks that are less likely to hurt you and cause injury.
It is important to know that because of the specificity of the tensile stress distribution it cannot be further processed, cut, squeeze, punctured, shorten, etc. after the moulding process.

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass made from two or more layers of glass separated by a bonded interlayer that holds together glass pieces when shattered. It is strong and durable and it’s harder to break than ordinary glass.
It is also used to increase the sound insulation, PVB film between two glasses works as a UV filter and protects objects behind UV glass. It is also used as soundproofing and can provide optimum heat insulation in combination with double glazing.

Wired glass is a type of safety glass with an integrated metal wire mesh that holds the glass in place in case of breakage. It is available as float glass or obscured. This glass is much more difficult to break than standard glass and it is fire resistant. We love it when used as a statement furniture piece like this Haze Vitrine by Ferm Living.

ferm living_haze vitrine_02
Ferm Living – Haze Vitrine

Obscured Glass is the most common glass used where translucent glass is needed/wanted. It is also available in a textured pattern.

apartment | glass | glass divider | modern interior | colorful interior
Lim+Lu – Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photo: © Nirut Benjabanpot

And a few more options for bold interiors are:

Mirrored Glass or reflective glass – when a metal coating is applied to one side of the glass and sealed with a protective layer for a mirrored effect.

Patterned / Decorative glass is imprinted with a decorative design or pattern. It is also available in tempered and laminated options for better safety

Coloured glass is glass that has been coloured, enamelled, painted, or stained, especially by having pigments baked onto its surface or by having various metallic oxides fused into it. Mostly used as stained glass windows or decorative lampshades, furniture pieces etc.

So, an important thing to remember is: when you have trouble deciding whether you should build a wall or leave an opening, glass partition might be a great solution because it works as both!

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