Architect Hagy Belzberg, FAIA, used it to transform a bland three-story office building into a Beverly Hills showcase. Weiss/Manfredi used the same material to integrate a modern-looking art center with the traditional brick buildings of a historic college campus in New York City.
So what do these two projects have in common besides their coastal locations? The answer is ultraclear glass made colorful and functional by a new generation of decorative fabrication techniques such as acid-etching, custom-printed interlayers, and specialized glass-printing technologies.
Located on Los Angeles’ famed Wilshire Boulevard, the headquarters for Gores Group, a multibillion dollar global private equity, features a stunning two-layer façade composed of carved limestone and custom-printed interlayers behind slumped glass panels bent from Starphire Ultra-Clear glass by Vitro Architectural Glass. The result—designed by Belzberg and fabricated by Pulp Studio—is a shimmering, multitextured surface that turned a once-monotonous structure into an ever-changing spectacle of color and light.
On the other side of the country, architects Weiss/Manfredi designed a curtainwall featuring three types of custom-decorated glass panels fabricated by Goldray Glass to help The Diana Center, a multi-use arts center at Columbia University’s Barnard College, merge seamlessly into a vibrant urban campus renowned for its classic architecture.
The glass panels on the seven-story façade combine vertical opaque-to-transparent striations acid-etched by Walker Textures on the first surface of Starphire glass with terra-cotta coloring on the second. The panels are set in front of a metal pan, painted bright red, which changes hues throughout the day according to the angles of the sun.
“Producing the right color was integral to creating a unified feeling within a cluster of brick buildings,” said Roxanne Laverty, marketing coordinator for Goldray Glass. “Starphire glass is our most popular type of glass because its transparency enables decorative glass products like ours to achieve full color fidelity.”
Bernard Lax, chief executive officer of Pulp Studio, says his firm also uses Starphire glass for about 70 percent of its production. “We always specify Starphire glass for projects where aesthetic is the driving force to maintain color neutrality,” he explained.
Because its low-iron formulation is ideal for enhancing color fidelity, Goldray frequently uses Starphire glass for specialty projects such as the two-story interior curtainwall it fabricated for the expansion and renovation of Terminal 5 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Using a series of Starphire glass panels finished with Dip-Tech digital ceramic printing technology, Goldray created a long continuous image, inspired by NASA satellite imagery, depicting a traveler’s journey inland from Lake Michigan into the city of Chicago and out to the surrounding cornfields.
“Starphire glass doesn’t have the green tinge you see with conventional clear glass,” Laverty adds. “When we want to ensure the best quality of colors on the digitally printed image, Starphire glass is the obvious choice.”
For architects and interior designers seeking a new generation of decorative glass solutions, Vitro Architectural Glass and downstream fabricators such as Goldray Glass, Walker Glass, ICD High-Performance Coatings and Pulp Studio, offer an ever-expanding range of high-fidelity solutions.