There are so many hot materials in the marketplace right now, but glass is currently dominating the industry.
Glass started being used in the home in the early 17th century, so it's about time it's being utilized for office design. As trends and settings change, the push for glass is everywhere, but why? Glass has many benefits including (but not limited to) attenuating sound and maintaining privacy while letting natural light in. With the urgency to increase productivity, happiness, and health, it seems like glass could be the perfect solution.
Bye Bye Sound, Hello Privacy
When Interior Investments and Gary Lee Partners were working together to update McDermott Will & Emery's offices, it was important to get it just right because attorneys' work with clients that require quiet and privacy. Gary Lee Partners' solution was to install soundproof floor-to-ceiling glass walls that provide access to scenery and natural light, but still maintain the quiet and privacy needed by the attorneys. To perfect acoustics further, there were wood paneled walls covered in near-invisible perforations installed in addition to the glass walls. According to BDC Network, "you need to pay attention to the surfaces, especially when the office design is ‘industrial,’ architects should 'always' specify half-inch glass 'at a minimum,' and seal the joints to increase an office’s acoustical privacy.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, humans in modern cities spend upwards of 90% of their lives indoors. With all of this time being spent inside, it's important to recognize the effects of natural light on human behavior. Studies have already shown that having an increased amount of light can increase productivity as well as happiness in employees and energy savings, but there needs to be balance. Just like having too much darkness in a space can negatively impact the inhabitants, so can too much light. BDC Network reports that, "AEC firms say that more glass in office buildings needs to account for natural light coming into the space, as well as the office’s lighting design. 'They need to work in tandem,' says AECOM’s Shwery. Gensler uses artificial light to minimize the low and high light contrasts caused by daylight streaming into an office, says Reid. At its headquarters, Stantec installed perforated roller blinds on exterior windows and automated interior lighting controls."