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Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color

Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color
Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color, Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

Nowadays, new technologies for the treatment of glass provide new ways to use this material in architecture. Applied indoors, specifically in retail stores, glass in its different textures, colors, finishes and levels of transparency can allow the unobstructed view of certain products, hide more private areas without blocking the passage of light, and attract the attention of customers as focal points, among many other uses.

Review below a selection of applications in commercial projects.

Different types, textures, colors, finishes and levels of transparency. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Different types, textures, colors, finishes and levels of transparency. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

Texture: Privacy, Soft Lighting and Camouflaged Products

Commercial stores always present some mystery. In its showcases, carefully chosen products are exposed but the rest is insinuated to be discovered by the client. Textured glass can generate these effects, and it's even possible to mix different textures in a single project to generate something even more beautiful and complex.

Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim Volver Restaurant. Image Courtesy of Bendheim 1 South Halsted Parking Structure. Image Courtesy of Bendheim Adidas Factory Outlet . Image Courtesy of Bendheim + 50

Using curved double-glazed channel glass, the Adidas Factory Outlet project, designed by Wulf & Partner, is almost entirely wrapped in textured glass covered with a thermal coating called Azur, improving its performance alongside a bluish tint. Through it, the light diffuses steadily throughout the interior, hiding the direct views and working as a soft backdrop for the products presented in front of them.

Adidas Factory Outlet . Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Adidas Factory Outlet . Image Courtesy of Bendheim

In interiors, the wines of the Knickerbocker Hotel Bar, designed by Gabellini Sheppard Associates, appear mysterious behind a translucent, textured and 'watery' screen, which varies its color and brightness depending on the elements located behind it.

Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

Brightness: Highlight and Attract Attention

By incorporating glass with backlighting systems, commercial spaces can creatively draw the attention of potential customers, and they have the potential to contribute to the urban environment.

Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image © C. Taylor Crothers Photography Adidas Factory Outlet . Image Courtesy of Bendheim © Benny Chan Hyatt Regency Chicago. Image Courtesy of Bendheim + 50

In the project Pier 17 South Street Seaport (2017), designed by SHoP Architects & R. A. Heintges and Associates, three-dimensional channel glass was used to reach continuous spans up to 20 feet, resisting the strong winds of the Hudson and East River. The 'ribbon' protects the upper levels and becomes a light box that changes color, turning the building into a beacon against the city of New York.

Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image © C. Taylor Crothers Photography
Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image © C. Taylor Crothers Photography

In the case of the Blu Dot Showroom by Standard Architecture, an existing building, 70 years old, has been remodeled, incorporating a diffused glazed screen that attracts views and blocks humidity. Its superior bright 'volume' helps delicately illuminate nearby public spaces.

Blu Dot Showroom. Image © Benny Chan
Blu Dot Showroom. Image © Benny Chan

Color: Spotlight Objects and Elements Through a Concept and Identity

Glass can be part of the identity of a space, incorporating mirrored, etched, fritted, back-painted, fixed or changing colors through dichroic systems. The color, added to the lighting, can highlight even more of the presence of a brand and attract the gaze of passersby.

Row Hotel Lobby. Image Courtesy of Bendheim Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim Volver Restaurant. Image Courtesy of Bendheim Fashion Retail | World Trade Center. Image Courtesy of Bendheim + 50

Varying its tone in its extension, the saturated pink colored glass used in this store located in the Row Hotel, NYC, designed by Gabellini Sheppard Associates, allows its visitors to discover little by little what is behind, passing gradually from clear to fully obscuring as they walk past.

Row Hotel Lobby. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Row Hotel Lobby. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

In the Knickerbocker Hotel, mentioned above, the color is expressed through a privacy wall composed of a mineral material of mica, cut in individual bricks, which gives a rustic appearance to an exhibition area of art objects, ranging from gold to brown tones.

Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Knickerbocker Hotel. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

About this author
Cite: Materials. "Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color" 13 Mar 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/908923/glass-in-retail-and-commercial-architecture-texture-brightness-and-color/> ISSN 0719-8884
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