Switchable glass – the one thing that your office is missing out on, but you never quite realised it.
This latest in glazing technology is sometimes known as smart film, intelligent glass and switchable privacy film. No matter what you want to call it, the product is essentially a standard piece of glass with a big secret. That secret being that it has an adjustable opacity.
What was once an ordinary glass partition can quickly change into something completely different, with just the flick of a switch. The instant transformation takes the glass from being completely transparent, to having a frosted appearance in less than a second. Mind blowing, isn’t it?
Here’s an example to show the effect of switchable glass:
So, what actually is switchable Glass?
An LCD film is directly applied to glass using fuss-free self-adhesive to minimise mess and ensure a flawless finish. By passing an electrical current through the LCD interlayer, the visibility of the glass completely changes state. The system is operated by either a remote control, or a standard lighting switch. Though, sometimes the film can change state automatically – for example, to regulate the temperature or light in a room, it will change state when necessary.
How does it work?
We know what you’re thinking – must be some form of magic trick? Well, there’s no magic tricks involved here, just the use of incredible technology. The product uses electro-chromatic technology to give it the ability to change state easily. This is a scientific idea in which materials change colour once an electrical voltage is applied to them.
This is the way that switchable glass works, as with the simple flick of a switch, or the press of a button on a remote control, an electrical current is passed through the glass which turns it opaque in an instant.
What are the advantages of switchable glass?
The most obvious advantage of switchable glass is its ability to provide privacy on demand. Modern offices tend to follow the on-trend all glass look , which means there’s usually little privacy when it comes to glass-fronted meeting rooms. It could be argued that frosted glass is a better permanent option to solve this issue, but for aesthetics purposes, translucent glass is great for providing a brighter, more open-plan feel to an office. With switchable glass, you get the best of both worlds. A great, sleek looking translucent design with the ability to add more privacy when needed.
Of course, the more common solution to creating privacy in offices or meeting rooms is by installing curtains or blinds. However, these elements can sometimes make a modern office look a little out-dated, with frosted glass being the more aesthetically pleasing alternative.
Following on from the previous point about switchable glass being a preferable alternative to other fixtures and fittings – is the advantage that it’s a far more low maintenance approach to privacy. Just like any other window, door or partition, switchable glass is easily wiped clean and doesn’t have the risk of collecting dust like traditional office blinds would do over time. There’s also no chance of the glass being stained and needing to be replaced if so.
With the use of smart film any ordinary glass partitions, windows or doors can be converted into smart film glass, by simply applying the film carefully to the pane of glass (which we do in our purpose built clean-room facility here at OBG). This means that in order to benefit from the features of switchable glass, there’s no need to conduct any major construction work and create a disruption in the office by installing brand new purpose-built partitions.
It can easily be overlooked that switchable glass actually has more than one major use to it. As well as providing privacy, the product can also double up as a projection screen. Once activated, the frosted glass acts as a solid background for projecting presentations or images on to it. This proves to be a great use in meetings or presentations, when a separate projection screen would otherwise be required. It eliminates the need to purchase a projection screen on its own, therefore reducing unnecessary costs and allowing presentations to be made in a sleeker, more luxurious fashion.
Have you ever thought about how having changeable glass can actually save you money? It can be a way of blocking out direct sunlight from a room, minimising the need to use air conditioning to keep the room temperature cool. Not only does it help to stabilise the temperature of the room this way, but by reducing the amount of sunlight entering an area for a certain period of time, there’s less risk that fabric and furniture placed near windows will fade and have to be re-upholstered or replaced.
Why should you use switchable glass in your office?
Are you a cool, trendy office looking to keep up with the latest design trends of 2017? Or has it been a good few years since your last office fit-out and you’re looking to find a new style? Whatever your situation, if you have an office, you tick all of the boxes. What are you waiting for?
Who else is using switchable glass?
We’ve installed it in many different offices across the UK, and is becoming increasingly popular. There’s a huge buzz about it on social media at the moment, here’s some of our favourite work:
— Dream Glass Group (@DreamGlassGroup) July 6, 2017
— Intelligent Glass (@IntelligentGlas) July 31, 2017
— EB GLASS (@ebglass3) June 12, 2017
— GrayGlass (@GrayGlassUSA) May 5, 2017
— SMART GLASS FILM (@pdlcsmartglass) April 7, 2017