Great Glazing: The Spirit of Boston glass dance floors

The basics: Commercial cruise line The Spirit of Boston recently unveiled a unique design feature—two 8 foot-by-10-foot custom glass dance floors at the center of the boat’s dining area. Part of a $2.5 million redesign of the boat, the dance floors offer an exciting aesthetic and are able to withstand tens of thousands of dancers each year.

The players: Designer, IA Collaborative; project manager, Cooley Marine Management; glass fabricator, Ellen Blakeley Studio

The glass and systems: Ellen Blakeley Studio created a new, sophisticated design using clear grey tempered glass and a light grey epoxy grout for contrast.The entire tile is ½-inch thick, and each piece is 12 inches by 24 inches, installed in a brick pattern. The tile is an extremely strong laminate of ¼-inch shattered tempered glass with Hardibacker—a pressed cement board ideal for flooring and wet areas. It also has enough flexibility to withstand the perpetual movement of a seagoing vessel.

Finding the right grey for the glass and the proper grout, both of which would complement the surroundings, was part of Ellen Blakeley’s research and development into the project.

Because of the high volume of people on the floors, strength of tile and grout was a factor in the early tests. In place of the studio’s normal sanded grout, the dance floors use a highly durable epoxy grout.