What is Laminated Glass?
Recently, I was talking with a few friends of mine who work for various A+D firms. We were talking about decorative architectural glass when I was surprised that they weren’t fully filled in on laminated glass. The questions ranged from glass thickness to interlayers to opacities, all the way to what is laminated glass.
Chances are you see laminated glass every day, you just don’t know it. Most, if not all windshields are made using this process. Remember that time you took a baseball bat to someone’s windshield and it took a lot more effort than you expected? In most cases laminated glass is used as safety glass like bulletproof windows and storefront displays. When the glass is broken, it shatters, but doesn’t fall apart.
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But how does this pair with design? I’m sure you can figure out the safety aspect, but what is laminated glass? Laminated glass is made by sandwiching an interlayer, usually Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB), between two pieces of glass. That’s what keeps the glass from falling apart when something goes crashing through it. But what if you could put something else in there too like color film or natural textures like wood? Anything is possible when you really get down to it.
Checking out the services of a glass fabricator like FGD-OSS for some inspiration, you start to find features and services you can include with laminated glass. As long as the glass faces are flat, they are good candidates for lamination. A couple weeks ago, I saw two back-painted pieces of glass sandwich a pieces of metal to create a double sided, magnetized, glass whiteboard. How cool is that? Once you get going, it ends up sounding like an intense Starbucks drink order: I’d like to order Laminated Glass with Acid Etched, Mirror Backed, and Color film with Fabric Interlayers, using Fluted Textured Rolled Glass, please.
Knowing the full potent power of laminated glass is a pretty exciting tool to have in your design drawer and after seeing a few completed projects, it really drives the point of what you can do. I believe its functioning art at its finest by mixing safety and style. The glass is a blank canvas that you fill with interlayers that integrate with your project style that echoes your vision.