What’s up with so many ’80s styles coming back now? With fashion, we understand that there are so many great looks to take from the ’80s, but in the world of interior design? Well, it was an era we never thought would come back – gingham curtains and shag rugs deserve to be in the past. But we’re seeing a lot of 80’s decor slowly and steadily come back to life, which we’ve noticed recently in glass bricks.
Thought of as an ingenious solution to filling a room with light without compromising privacy or as an ‘unconventional’ walk-in shower, glass blocks were thought to be at their peak cold a few decades ago. Entire exterior walls are built out of this stuff, and many apartments feature it as a divider that makes the space open, yet subdivided. But what do you think about using it in 2023?
As designer Raili Ca said, “Like all other interior design trends, glass blocks may or may not come back, but they won’t come back in my projects.” The first thing that comes to my mind when I see a shower enclosed in a glass block is, “Pass me the sledgehammer.” And until we saw these spaces, we were in agreement, but we wavered. In the right place, in the right style, they can really work. We asked designers who have used them in their projects to explain why they chose them, and what they could add to a room…
Are glass blocks still in trend?
“Glass bricks, which were once out of fashion, are making a comeback. Contemporary designers love them, and it’s easy to see why. They let the light in while keeping things a bit private. “While trends come and go, it’s essential to use them,” says Arsight founder Artem Krobovinsky. wisely”. ‘This brick is perfect where you want light without compromising privacy, such as in bathrooms or parts of larger open-plan rooms. They work great with a minimalist, industrial look but can also spice up traditional spaces. However, of course There are pros and cons to this trend that you should be aware of before committing:
Light play: The glass blocks illuminate the rooms in a unique way.
Privacy: They blur things but don’t completely block views.
Looks great: They add an interesting touch to even the most basic rooms.
heat: Does not retain heat in or out of plain walls.
cleaning: It shows marks and dirt, so it needs regular cleaning.
overwhelming: Using them everywhere can be overkill. They are the best as a highlight.
Really, as with any trend in interior design, it’s not so much about whether or not something feels right. trends Or not but more on whether you like the look and whether it will work both functionally and aesthetically in your home. Let’s look at some examples that work and why…
1. A glass brick house filled with books
A true commitment to materials, this glass house designed by Sibling Architecture uses glass bricks for the entire back wall of the house. But it’s not just about aesthetics, the location of this home means it has to be super soundproofed. This is one of the amazing benefits of glass blocks, and perhaps the reason they seemed to be a feature in every “cool” office in the 80’s and 90’s, they are really great for blocking out sound.
“The client is a retired academic of English literature, and her mission has been to create a new home for herself and her extensive book collection.” Our approach has been to focus the new main living spaces around the library and reading activity, which takes place within the new, light-filled two-story addition to the rear. From home,” explains studio director Qianyi Lim.
“The extension’s new glass façade takes advantage of its southerly aspect, bringing indirect daylight (ideal for reading) deeper into the house; the depth of the glass blocks acoustically shields the house from the nearby airport. The glass wall also slightly blurs views across the neighboring rooftops, while a window points out The distinctive line that lines the front door and walkway to the nearby airport, where aircraft tails can sometimes be seen.
2. A remodeled apartment with glass walls in the center
Prague-based Papundekl Architects was commissioned to transform a poorly lit, poorly designed 1970s apartment into a bright, open home for its new owners. The answer was an expansive curve of glass that extends from the entryway, wraps around the bathroom and passes directly through the kitchen, providing a new, more interesting and open design. To use, the result of the renovation really proves why glass walls are so popular in the first place and why the trend really makes sense in a small apartment like this.
‘The clients knew all the pros and cons of apartment planning and their main goal was to make the apartment more light and to have enough storage space. “After joint discussions, a path was chosen to make minor modifications to the existing design, which were satisfactory,” explains Simon Berhanzel.
In order to allow more natural light into the center of the apartment, the architects designed new partitions made entirely of glass blocks. In this way, the light actually passes through the entire apartment. The glass blocks have good acoustics, allow light to pass through, and can be easily arranged in A curved shape, which was used to round off the originally narrow corridor and wrap around the bathroom.Thus, the glass walls became the main theme of the apartment’s interior.
“The glass bricks bring a lot of daylight into the rooms in the center of the apartment, which would otherwise be quite dark. They also bring interesting reflections and transparencies – you can see behind them but the image is a bit distorted.”
This elegant restaurant designed by GRT Architects demonstrates how light is all about when it comes to glass bricks. As Ross Mehta, partner at the firm, explains, “With glass bricks, it’s not so much about the style that suits it best – I think any material can be used right or wrong, it’s a matter of lighting, ambiance and detail that sets.” If you can “pull something off” so to speak. I think there’s always been an interest in revisiting materials and styles that have gone out of date. We and others seem to relish the challenge of giving a new twist to materials that are often used in unimaginable ways.
‘Bad Roman’ is located in The Shops at Columbus Circle which is a shopping mall. “It’s a nice shopping mall, but it’s still a shopping mall,” Ross explains. “Our goal with this design was to create transparency that hints at movement inside the restaurant without compromising the aesthetics of the interior design with views of the neighboring shops.”
“We love the way the glass bricks diffuse the red light from the neon sign hanging on the side of the mall and the varied refractions it creates. We used unusual deep grooved blocks that improve light refraction, creating a wall that is more vibrant than just ordinary glass.
4. A reimagined open-plan workspace with a glass ‘pod’
Studio Rhonda has transformed a cute 1950’s space into an ultra-chic office for Zetteler, a London-based creative agency. Glass blocks really come into their own in an open plan space, acting as a wall but being less solid. It doesn’t divide the space much but still allows for a certain level of privacy, so it makes perfect sense in an office that wants an open-plan ambiance, with meeting areas.
“I have worked closely with Sabine and the team at Zetteler to create their new office space in Hackney. It is a renovation of a 1950s light industrial open plan great room and one of the key criteria was to create an acoustic booth within the space to allow for more private meetings with clients And also very hands-on vocally to assist studio founder Rhonda Drakeford.
“We combined glass brickwork with wood-clad walls, doors and ceiling to allow light to flow beautifully into the room, while also softening and softening the aesthetic and acoustic aspects. The location of the room in the middle of the space also allows for a different approach to the spaces on each side of it – a more formal office environment in ‘The front, and a more relaxed café feel in the back.’ She adds.
“Traditionally, you might expect glass brickwork for a more industrial aesthetic, but I was careful to pair it with a softer, semi-residential palette of materials and furnishings. The glass becomes almost ethereal, like a jeweled box.
5. Tiny apartment with a glass brick backsplash
What an ingenious kitchen backsplash idea. If you’re after a more subtle approach to embracing the glass brick trend, this is it. Designers SerpahimDSGM have largely deconstructed this one bedroom apartment and put it back together to make the most of the limited space. The big benefit of the space was the amount of natural light, so glass blocks were used throughout the space to allow the light to flow freely.
“We were lucky to have creative freedom and the opportunity to change the configuration of the apartment (there were no load-bearing partitions inside).” For this specific project from the start, we wanted to incorporate the glass bricks first because they match the original bricks, secondly because of their ability to pass scattered light, which is very important for small spaces, and thirdly for aesthetics,” explains Seraphim Gavrilenko., founder of DSGN Seraphim.
We decided to replace the common tile backsplash in the kitchen area with glass bricks. Behind the kitchen wall there is a bathroom with a huge window, so this alternative provides extra light in both areas. So, starting from this, we added glass bricks in other areas – the base of the bar is made of bricks It is of the same style, and the shower cabin is made of basic transparent glass bricks without any pattern, and the entrance to the dressing room is made of these two types.
“I think glass brick is a timeless feature in both interior and exterior design (just like Victorian floor tiles).” And here are some of the undeniable benefits of glass bricks as well – they are extremely durable, temperature resistant, soundproof, moisture resistant and easy to maintain.
6. House/studio with exterior glass wall
Designed in collaboration with industrial designer Henry Wilson and Brad Swartz Architecture, this narrow home (just 15 feet long) is surrounded by two walls of glass brick, so despite the small square footage, all rooms are lofty and filled with light. There is also a cohesive feel, as almost every space features glass blocks. There are benefits to not using the all-glass front, too. The blocks diffuse the light beautifully, and since the light is less direct, there is less of an issue with overheating. Plus, there is more privacy.
“I think most of us have gotten over the shock of glass bathroom windows in the 80s and 90s, and this, combined with the beautiful solid glass bricks that are now available for construction, really allows glass bricks to be considered again as a great option for a ‘facade treatment’,” says studio manager Brad Swartz.
“I think glass blocks are particularly valuable in inner city sites and homes, but they can be suitable for any project that needs to balance privacy and access to light. This project is a two-bedroom apartment with studio/garage/gallery space on the ground floor, “Located in a narrow inner city lane, with a commercial building across the lane. The glass façade enabled us to create private, light-filled living spaces.”