Img: Flickr 
Glass is the material-of-the-moment for office interiors; it creates a sleek, contemporary design, while enabling partitioning and –to a certain extent – privacy.  Gone are the fabric-partition screens in ugly greys and blues, or standard dull white partition walls – modern offices are making way for sleek transparent interiors.

The main reason firms choose glass interior walls is for the aesthetics. The partitioning, while not enclosing spaces, still allows areas to appear large and open. Glass is especially effective in small offices, maximising the appearance of the space. Even small working pods for independent working won’t seem enclosed or claustrophobic when surrounded by light and bright glass. Design is the primary factor when opting for glass, with the results in offices of all sizes always contemporary and fresh.

Another benefit of using interior glass is that it allows light to flow through the office. If exterior windows letting in natural light are only on one side or area of the office, using glass allows the natural light to flood through the entire space, not just individual rooms. And natural light flooding in in a workplace is preferred for a better working environment, as opposed to harsh artificial lights which can cause headaches and fatigue.
To reduce glare or any harsh light from sunlight, light-adapting glass is available to create shade and a comfortable, natural light to work in. As our post from earlier this month points out, Arup’s Boston offices use advanced glass and lighting fixtures which adapt to time-of-day and the power of the sun, which promotes a better and healthier working environment.

Glass walls and partitions, being transparent, bring up the issue of privacy. Of course, a significant purpose of the glass is to open up the space, but privacy is needed in an office, for meetings on confidential matters or independent working away from visual or audible distractions.

To create visual privacy, there are different types of glass to go for. Translucent, fogged glass still gives the area a light and bright feel, while still allowing exclusion from surrounding areas. Transparent glass with pattern overlays also have a similar effect, adding a design and branding feature whilst still being a simple way to create a certain level of privacy.

Img: Woodalls Design
If these options don’t cut it, and if your budget allows it, go for ‘switchable’ glass, which electronically changes the opaqueness of the glass with a touch of a button. The technologically-advanced glass will not only provide separation on demand, but is likely to impress clients with its aesthetics and practicality.

For sound-proofing, a sealed glass interior wall of at least half-an-inch of thickness is always advised to provide acoustical privacy, according to Margulies Perruzzi Architects - but of course thicker glass will create more sound-insulation. Adding a sufficient amount of noise-absorbing materials in furnishings will also reduce the risk of echoed acoustics created from the hard surfaces, detectable in the building or potentially through telephones. 

So, with problems that may crop up when using lots of glass in office design, technologies or simple adjustments can make interior glass stylish, space-expanding, and practical. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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