Glass as a Design Tool for Creating more People-Oriented Environments

While easy to overlook, glass is a powerful design tool that, if used strategically, can have some profound effects on your architecture. Glass gives architects and business owners a means of creating more dynamic and human-centric environments that feel authentic to their brand, while leaving room for growth and innovation. Beyond design and aesthetic though, glass can be customized and enhanced for security and natural light to increase safety, productivity, communication and improve the overall workplace experience!

Seeing Glass in a Whole New Light

Natural light is perhaps one of the most obvious impacts of adding more glass to your design. Not only will natural light reduce energy consumption and offer a sustainable option that many people desire, but its impact on personal health can be even greater! Natural light boosts productivity, improves mood and enhances overall well-being, putting it high on the list for increased employee experience and performance. This is something that we’ve already talked about at length in a separate blog post. However, many businesses don’t see natural light for what it is: a highly sought-after employee perk.

A survey administered by the HR advisory firm ‘Future Workplace’ found that natural light and views of the outdoors outranked other perks. People would rather have better views and more natural light than onsite cafeterias and fitness centers! While the demand for wellness-based designs continues to grow, workplace design trends are shifting away from being private and enclosed to collaborative and open. Glass makes both wellness and collaboration possible.

Using Glass for More Functional Designs

As glass environments become more common, many custom design options are being created to provide the opportunity to get creative with its application. This is giving new buildings the function they need while greatly improving their aesthetic!

Custom glass solutions can reinforce a company’s brand or a school’s colors throughout small spaces or large campuses. Beyond customizing the color of the glass itself, hardware options can also offer a unique solution. From door rails and pulls, to panic devices and new finishes, like matte black, building owners can strengthen brand identity by aligning with the colors in their brand guidelines. But the benefits extend far beyond aesthetics…

Incorporating color into glass or door hardware is a subtle, but especially useful tool, for tough to navigate commercial buildings such as schools and hospitals, where people visit often but may be unfamiliar with the layout of the building. Using different colored glass doors, and partitions can offer more sagacious wayfinding navigation through a space, leaving out the unsightly signage or floor maps we’re used to seeing in hospitals or parking garages.

Designers can also make use of shaded or frosted glass as a clean and sophisticated way of creating private spaces without closing off an area entirely. A real-world case would be conference rooms or individual offices where these features can increase privacy for potential confidential conversations, while keeping the natural and open feel of the overall space.

Glass plays an increasingly important functional role in building security as well. In older designs, glass was utilized as a security feature by allowing visitors to be seen through doors and walls. Today, electronic access control (EAC) solutions are actually able to incorporate security software and seamlessly integrate into glass openings for enhanced protection, beyond line of sight.

Is Glass a Feasible Design Tool?

From onsite gyms to meditation rooms, many employers are seeing and investing in the health and wellness of their workforce. This includes using the design of the space as a way to improve the human experience. Through glass, architects and business owners are given the power to create more dynamic, human-centric environments.

By incorporating more glass into your designs, you can invite light and fluidity into your spaces, while also establishing separate rooms without sacrificing the collaborative feeling that today’s workforce demands.

When it comes to design and functionality, the extent of decorative options and customizations should not be overlooked when thinking through the workplace layout. The desire for bright, open spaces will continue to rise. Through innovations in the glass industry, architects and builders are able to make their design aspirations come true! And beyond design and aesthetic, glass can be customized and enhanced for security and natural light to increase safety, productivity, communication and improve the overall workplace experience.

If you can’t already tell, we think that a more strategic use of glass is the way of the future. But what do you think? Let us know!