Special effects

Decorative glass designs stretch the imagination, combining colors, textures and substrates

Designed by artist Christopher Janney, this passenger connector at the Miami International Airport relies on a unique combination of glass hues and shapes to create a 72-foot-long window wall that bathes travelers in a rainbow of colors. Fabricated by Glaspro Inc., the more than 150 colored, laminated glass squares measure 22 ½ inches by 22 ½ inches in size. The entire installation is comprised of two different sized panels: eight 68-inch by 68-inch squares and twenty 68-inch by 68-inch right triangles.

During the fabrication process, each panel was divided into a grid based on nine squares. Each square within the grid was then assembled in precise color combinations based on artist renderings, and aligned to a ceramic frit grid on the inside surface of the glass. The laminated glass squares consist of two lites of 3/8-inch Starphire glass by PPG Industries, with .060 Spliced Vanceva/.060 SentryGlas Plus interlayer by Solutia and DuPont, respectively. Novum Structures LLC was the installer for the project. 

Photo: “Harmonic Convergence,” Miami Airport; ©2011, PhenomenArts, Inc., Christopher Janney, artistic director, photo@-R.Hill


Custom glass resembling massive blocks of ice draws visitors into the lobby of New York City’s Pershing Square Building, designed by Gertler & Wente Architects LLP. Created by Bendheim, the 2 ½-inch-thick quadruple-laminated mirrored glass was deeply engraved with an organic texture, hand-silvered, laminated through a proprietary process, waterjet cut into slabs, and then edge-lit to create a sense of movement, depth, and luminescence.


This tabletop by glass artist Rudi Waros of Classic Glass combines deep carved glass with etched glass shading, and is accented by an edge-lit LED system. The client’s vision of water was realized with the rippling waves of the ¾-inch, low-iron carved glass edge and soft-etched shading that fades into circular bubbles dispersing toward the table’s center. The carved relief on the bottom surface of the table creates a smooth and functional top.


Interior designer Vivian Nichols strived to embody Dallas’ rich history with the design of the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel. This intent carried over to the entrance to the hotel sports bar that features a back-lit glass floor depicting Dallas newspaper sports pages. Fabricated by Jockimo Inc., the Crystal Clear Glass Flooring is back-lit with an LED system, with custom printed graphics applied to the bottom side of the glass. The floor, made up of 21 panels that each measure 60 inches by 26.3 inches, features a GlassGrit ADA-classified and NFSI-approved anti-slip walking surface. The laminated glass is composed of three layers: a 3/8-inch top layer of clear tempered glass with the anti-slip UL-approved GlassGrit texture, and two additional 3/8-inch lites of clear tempered glass.


A feature wall of 13 LCD televisions mounted behind glass from M3 Glass Technologies greets guests at the sports bar at the new Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel. Each panel consists of two pieces of tempered 3/16-inch PPG Starphire glass laminated together. Both lites were back painted with silver metallic paint prior to laminating, except for an area that was left clear for the television. The panels were mounted with exposed bolts for an industrial appearance.


An all-glass, illuminated bar was what architects at Forrest Perkins Design had in mind when renovating the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. UltraGlas made this vision a reality by creating a bar made of ¾-inch-thick low-iron glass with a translucent frit-based coloration and UltraGlas “Linen” kiln-formed texture. The translucent textured material provides a perfect balance between light transmittance and obfuscation, according to UltraGlas officials, and the components that support the exterior glass are virtually invisible from the outside while allowing an uninterrupted glow to emit from the electroluminescent material underneath. The glass frit-based, fired-on colors were heat processed to fuse to the No. 2 surface of a lite of low-iron Diamant glass by Saint Gobain. Rob Brennan of Architectural Annex in Laguna Beach, Calif., installed the UltraGlas bar on site.


Kiln-cast glass from Meltdown Glass Art & Design allowed the owners of this private home in Scottsdale, Ariz., to incorporate light and color in non-traditional ways. The blue colored glass on the stair treads is painted with fired-in enamels. The stairs feature hand-applied Cobalt Blue enamel paint and are made of ¾-inch PPG Starphire tempered cast glass, with a Stone texture. Circle 6 Studios of Phoenix was the glass installer for the project; Tate Studio Architects, the architect.


This feature wall incorporates three different textured glass panels of various sizes, designed to represent Sierra Nevada Corp.’s multifaceted services. Produced by Nathan Allan Glass Studios, the wall incorporates the fabricator’s Crystal Clear with Cascade, Artic Ice with Cobalt Blue, and Stratos texture with Vibrant Duotone color combinations. Each 3/8-inch-thick panel is safety tempered and contains four holes for pin mounting. Panels are mounted at various depths to create a three-dimensional effect. Backlighting the glass illuminates the Crystals and Bold colors applied to each panel. The architect for the project was Studio B2SJ. Woodbridge Glass of Woodbridge, Va., was the glass installer.


Created by product development specialist Will Watts of Dependable Glass Works, this unique glass bar is designed in the form of a ship’s bow. The top layer is laminated Kokomo art glass; the second layer contains crystal glass rods; the third layer is white sandblasted laminated glass; the fourth layer on the sides is painted black with gold film waterjet-cut portholes and bow edging; and the bottom layer is textured glass laminated with blue film to create a realistic water effect. The white bow is lit from below and glows at night with light escaping through the waterjet-cut portholes.


The handrails outside the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City are made of flat, tempered SentryGlas Plus laminated glass and feature an extremely fine (0.5 millimeter) silkscreened dot pattern that gives them a unique graded appearance. Produced by Cristacurva, the handrail units are each 1 inch thick and 177 inches long. All of the pieces had a special non-rectangular shape that had to match the pitch of the ramp, and the silkscreening pattern had to be aligned to this same pitch. W & W Glass LLC was the contract glazier for the project.


Cast glass panels featuring a Rolls Royce Phantom and Ferrari 300 GT create a dramatic feature wall in the Oncar Automotive Dealership in Augusta, Ga., reflecting the high-end nature of the import cars on display. To create the high-relief, surface dimensional images, glass fabricator Coral Industries heated the glass, forming it to a mold reflecting the detailed images seen on the finished panels. The panels were then shaped to emulate the unique contoured ceiling of the showroom. Fabricated with holes for mounting, the finished panels were joined and mounted to the wall with stand-offs.