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Once upon a time, glass was used for looking through and seeing one’s reflection in.

Glass simultaneously introduced the idea of reflection and transparency (something made visible by light shining through from behind).  Transparency in glass is intriguing to most designers because of the endless possibilities available through this functional and sometimes, ethereal material.  I, myself, love the material and want to share a few categories I find interesting about the delicately ghostly and transparent material:

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pure transparency:  Sometimes a designs strength from understanding the physicality of a material and keeping the execution basic is all that is needed.  Using glass as something to simply to look through allows the design details that surround the featured subject the opportunity to be more dynamic.  Going along with the general idea of binary pairs (up, down, left, right, stop, go), the use of glass as its main function of viewing makes the basic use of glass that much more interesting when paired with the bold moves of a dynamic cantilever or an atypical facade.

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abstract transparency: This intangible moment is the result of the mediums light, glass and physical space. Dizzying and at the same time interesting, the experience of such spaces immediately challenges your known and comfortable perception.  The degree of intensity varies according to project, but this result seems to have a quiet buzz about it…because it is sometimes hard to delineate the inside from outside.

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translations in transparency:  Understanding the physical characteristics of glass (allowing light, sound and view to penetrate) and reinterpreting it makes for interesting research.  One material that comes to mind is Litracon – the light transmitting concrete.  I remember first seeing this material at the National Building Museum during an exhibit and thought it was pretty cool.  It can be understood both as a solid material and a transparent material.  What is most interesting about this material is that it can read as an abstract and functional material that is beautiful.

 

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