This month’s selection features innovative textures, soundproofing, and state-of-the-art bonding — bringing glass to a new level of clarity, functionality, and aesthetics. — Elizabeth Zevallos

The Unity series (top and middle), with patterns that can be etched, cast, or colored with a silk screen, is ideal for applications as varied as boardroom walls, partitions, and architectural facades. Transition (above) puts both transparency and texture on the same glass panel, and can be used with almost any Joel Berman pattern.

Three new designs reveal the reflective, innovative style of Joel Berman Glass Studios

For more than 25 years, Joel Berman Glass Studios, a producer of high-quality kiln-cast and pressure-formed glass, has prided itself in its unrelenting aspiration to push the boundaries of this versatile material, both conceptually and technically. Introduced at NeoCon, the company’s latest offerings — Unity, Transition, and Bastoni — do not disappoint, demonstrating the company’s objective in its notably diverse array of styles.

The studio, comprising a cultural montage of team members, has recently opened a dialogue for a new design philosophy that embraces diversity and advocates unity. Spearheaded by glass artist Joel Berman, founder and president, it’s called Design Without Borders. Inherent in its concept is the desire to speak to an ever-confined world, using the universal language of design as a cohesive force. The Unity series, its first manifestation, has a unique pattern and symmetry drawn from the contemplative art of Islam, which itself represents a conglomeration of cultural elements.

“We used the most simple geometric shape that occurs in Islamic art, the hexagon, to extrapolate an algorithm. By distilling it down to its basic design element, we gave a brand-new feeling to an age-old motif,” says Saleem Khattak, design manager. By overlaying the patterns at different scales, the glass reads as a supergraphic from a distance. But close proximity reveals the intricacy of each layer, creating an ordered yet nonrhythmic look.

Equally exciting in its optical innovation, Transition is the result of a pioneering technique in glass casting. It allows a single panel of glass to transition from an embossed textured surface to a smooth, transparent one — a process that was previously thought impossible. “We literally traveled around the world to look for the answer but had no luck,” says Berman. “In the end, it was our own team that figured it out.”

Ideal for health-care and office facilities, this smooth progression from textured to clear glass offers a partially obscured view for privacy, as well as a transparent one for full view, without an awkward break.

Berman’s third new collection, Bastoni (not shown), is a dynamic and textural kiln-cast glass that mimics a random arrangement of falling sticks. Lively and active, the deeply embossed surface has the ability to create energy in flat-glass applications as varied as doors, decorative walls, partitions, and water features.

As for inspiration, Berman explains, “It’s a sum total of who we are that results in what our products look like.” Joel Berman Glass Studios, Vancouver, Canada.

[Reader Service: September 2008 #213]


Stack it up
Named for the technique in which it’s made, the Stax Series by Nathan Allan Glass Studios offers an ingenious way to create feature walls over large surfaces. Slates of glass are stacked and then fused together to generate richly textured solid sheets in sizes as large as 5' x 9' x 1" to 1 1¼2" thick. The clear glass comes in several distinct patterns and colors, and can be further enhanced by an optional mirror backing. Nathan Allan Glass Studios, Richmond, B.C. Canada

[Reader Service: September 2008 #214]


Safe and soundless
The result of an advanced acoustical interlayer system, SilentGlass Technology has the ability to disseminate sound waves created by typically obtrusive noises such as barking dogs, honking horns, amplified music, and roaring airplanes. It transforms sound into heat energy to dampen up to 50 percent of noise within the 1,000 to 3,000 Hz range. Additionally, the tough interlayer adds considerable protection from forced entry. Solutia, St. Louis, Mo.

[Reader Service: September 2008 #215]