GANA Provides Decorative Glass Education During NeoCon
June 15, 2011

As decorative glass continues to grow as a popular product for design, in both interior and exterior applications, so, too, does the need to keep the architectural and design community educated and informed about these materials and their uses. With this in mind, the Glass Association of North America (GANA) hosted an introduction to decorative glass forum, which took place this week as part of NeoCon in Chicago.

“Our intent with this NeoCon seminar was to educate the interior designers on the vast array of glass options they have inside for buildings,” said Ashley Charest, GANA account executive. “We certainly know that all 40,000 NeoCon attendees could not be at the seminar, so GANA is also in the process of converting this educational seminar into an online version.”

The seminar, which is accredited by the American Institute of Architects and was presented by Steve O’Holloran of ICD High Performance Coatings, provided information and definitions of different types of decorative glass; various design and application possibilities using decorative glass; how different types of decorative glass are made; and tips on specifying different types of decorative glass.

The presentation focused on four categories of decorative glass:

  • Coatings and colors;
  • Etched/frosted;
  • Heat formed; and
  • Laminated glass

Beginning with coatings and colors, O’Holloran looked at several glass types within this category, such as silkscreened, digitally printed glass and painted/backpainted glass. While the many different processes can afford a wide range of color choices, O’Holloran said it’s still the basics that are most popular.

“Regardless of the vast number of coating colors available by far our most popular colors are still white, black and grey,” he said.

Silkscreened glass, O’Holloran explained, is created by applying inks to glass through screenprinting, resulting in either solid coverage or a pattern. Silkscreened glass is often used in many different applications, including spandrel, interior walls and partitions, shower doors and more.

Direct-to-glass digital printing is a new technology that continues to see interest. The process involves digital imagery being printed directly onto glass, resulting in high details and multiple colors. The finished product can be used in both interior and exterior applications.

One direct-to-glass digitally printed project example he discussed was the Harlem Children’s Hospital.

“What is amazing is the number of panels on the Harlem Children’s Hospital, several hundred, and each one is different coming together to form one enormous graphic,” he said.

Backpainted glass is also growing in popularity, and is often used in kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. Backpainted glass provides full coverage on unexposed surface, is available in a wide range of colors and can also be combined with other fabrication process, such as laminating.

Under the etched and frosted category, O’Holloran next talked about products such as acid-etched glass. This type of glass has a surface that diffuses light, reduces glare and have both a frosted and translucent appearance.

He also discussed carved glass within the etched/frosted category.

This type of glass, O’Holloran explained, provides a 3‐dimensional look as images are carved into the glass surface with differing depths. The result is a creative, sculpted image.

Slumped glass, cast glass and fused glass were all covered under the heat-formed category. Slumped glass is formed when sheets of float glass are heated and “slumped” into a mold.

“Each piece is produced individually,” he said.

Cast glass, though is produced by pouring molten glass into a mold while fused glass uses extreme heat to fuse two or more types of glass together.

“It’s highly artistic,” said O’Holloran.

There is also laminated decorative glass, which consists of decorative interlayers or other materials laminated between lites of glass. It can be made with materials such as PVB, EVA or Ionomer, which are layered in a sandwich and then cured through heat and pressure, or with resins, which are poured or pumped between glass and cured through the addition of chemicals or UV light.

Laminated decorative glass can be used in such applications as interior glazing, canopies, flooring, public art pieces and more.

Stay tuned to™ for more news and reports from NeoCon 2011.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.