Polyvision Glass


Imagine a beautiful window or large spans of glass in your home.  Now imagine flipping a switch and that glass immediately clouds to a translucency giving instant privacy but still allowing light glow through it.  This is a reality with a new glass product that uses liquid crystal molecules with electricity.  Glass can be made translucent or opaque, not allowing any light transmission, with this new glass technology.  No shutters or fussy drapes need apply!  How fantastic for all those modernists out there who love the idea of a glass house, but hate the idea of ‘no privacy’ or cluttered drapery.  This glass material is being used currently in many healthcare applications and office building, but hopefully will become more affordable and readily available to residential applications.




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Channel Glass


Channel glass is a translucent, U-shaped, cast glass wall system that is self-supporting.  Why is it different than a traditional storefront or glazed wall?  Because of its U-shape, which can create a depth between 8”-20” in the glass wall, channel glass can provide great thermal performance, privacy and a self-supporting wall system.

Channel glass also creates a beautiful translucency of light while also providing complete privacy and a very modern profile.  Today the options are endless for the levels of light translucency and opacity as well as shades and colors of the glass itself.

Cast glass is made by pouring molten glass in a mold to form a particular shape before it is cooled and released.  Cast glass is one of the oldest methods in glass history, with early vessels dating to the 15th century BCE.

More often seen in commercial or institutional buildings today, perhaps in the future it will be more frequently used in residential and private settings.  Until recently Channel Glass was usually found more in Europe but its availability in the USA is becoming more prominent through Bendheim, www.bendheimwall.com and Pilkington glass systems www.pilkington.com/products/bp/bybenefit/glasssystems/profilit/

Profile_of_a_channel_glass_-_Piccolo_Texture profilit_2SCAD-4

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Brick Symphony

India brick 2

Masonry is one of the oldest architectural materials — its small module allows the designer a huge range of creative choices.  Options of color, size, texture and placement, are some of the many choices a designer can make.

In New Delhi, India, Anagram Architects pushed the creative envelope of masonry by creating a brick wall that seems to undulate and rotate from the most common brick.  Through the use of computer modeling and weeks worth of meetings between architect and masons, a breathtaking load-bearing wall was created.  The typical sized brick in India is 9”x4.5”x3” which is used here with a common cement mortar.  The visually complex pattern creates voids allowing for ventilation.  This building was constructed for the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre.

When a common material is used in a new or creative manner a higher level of materiality and artistry is created.  Combined with a tight budget and creative minds these architects designed an urban piece of architectural art.  Check out MFD2 for more details and all of the technical insight.






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Copper in Singapore

Copper Singapore

This 7,879 square foot home is both beautiful on the inside and the outside due to its material choices.  The design concept was conceived from 9’ x 9’ cubes that have been carved away to create pocket courtyards or spaces where the landscape meshes with the interior.  The interior which is clad in stone, concrete and wood, acts like the luxury interior of a jewel box.

There is some obvious material love going on.  The copper-cladding has a bright aqua patina which makes a unique elevation.  A patina is an oxidation process on the surface of metals which changes its color and texture. Here it is actually a pre-patina’ed product and not naturally aged.  Copper is a lightweight, durable metal and acts as a great heat barrier.

However copper is not what I find most compelling about this house, rather it’s the use of materials inside, and the relationship to the outside, and the way the form carves space.  The lines where the interior meets the copper gives an interesting and visually rich view. The house is located in Singapore and was designed by K2LD Architects in 2009.

the copper sing2


the copper sing3

all images © Jeremy San

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Materials for Design Blog

I love modern design.  I love beautiful materials.  I learned, in architecture school and as an architect, that it is the thoughtful use of materials, in talented hands, that gives us the beauty of modern design that I so admire and appreciate.  This passion has led me to searching for and writing about the best examples I can find.

This weekly blog will post on everything from houses to furniture to fabrics, even cars and useful products – anything that uses beautiful materials for modern design.

First post coming on February 7th, 2014:  “Blue Copper House in Singapore”

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