Eight smashing ways to let in light – best in class: glass ceilings

Tired of those endless glass wall options? A glass ceiling can be a discreet alternative

HD Glass ceilings Hotel Andaz Munich

HD Glass ceilings Hotel Andaz Munich


Best in Class 1

There are many ways to let light into a room. While there are endless glass wall options but one of the most discreet ways is to insert a glass ceiling. Light flows in but you don’t have to compromise on privacy. Concrete Amsterdam’s latest hotel project, Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor, takes the idea of a roof light and turns it into an art installation. The style is set out the get go with this lobby, which has been designed to reflect, like a kaleidoscope, the modern culture of Munich – a mix of tradition, as seen in the diamond-shaped ceiling treatment whose timber and high-gloss anodised metal pattern was inspired by the Bavarian flag and technology, seen in the pair of screens that flank the back-lit panels and reflect the Munich sky. concreteamsterdam.nl; hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/germany

Best in Class 2

HD Glass ceilings Buns and Buns Covent Gdn
HD Glass ceilings Buns and Buns Covent Garden.

Coloured glass ceilings is currently trending. You see it in new bars, cafes and oodles of Instagram feeds. New York and London-based architecture and interior design practice Michaelis Boyd’s recently completed the Covent Garden-based Buns & Buns, which features large panes of amber and barley sugar shades adding real warmth to this glasshouse within the area’s well-known glass houses. While the idea is gorgeous it is likely to get stale as fast as the confections being sold here, so a cheap yet chic way to channel this look at home is try Purlfrost’s conservatory coloured reflective glass film, an adhesive sheet of vinyl that you can buy online. It comes in three different opacities with gold, copper and rose tints especially alluring although it doesn’t supply the vibrancy of the yellow and oranges pictured. It costs from about €32 per metre, ex-delivery, and is available by the metre or cut to size. Underfoot are Tierras Triomix designed by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina that costs about €428 per square metre from Tilestyle. michaelisboyd.com; purlfrost.com; tilestyle.ie; bunsandbuns.com

Best in Class 3

HD Glass ceilings Roche Bobois
HD Glass ceilings Roche Bobois.

If you fancy a sweeping curved glass roof above your head then specialists Architectural Aluminium – who did all glazing on the new Central Bank, North Wall Quay and the Mespil Hotel – is the place to go. Gerry Halton, its contracts director, suggests using a mix of steel and aluminium for the frames and a high-performance glass in the panels. Such a made to measure job will cost about €5,500 per sq metre on a minimum area of about 25sq m, so a total of almost €140,000. The Roche Bobois furniture, pictured, features Edito, corner sofa, €7,030, and matching armchairs, €1,970 each; Majordome side tables, from €650 each and a Drop coffee table, €3,170; an oval Equinoxe rug, €4,550 and a Cactus lamp with marble base, €2,420.  roche-bobois.com/en-IE/

Best in Class 4

HD Glass ceilings Lutetia Hotel Paris
HD Glass ceilings Lutetia Hotel Paris.

For centuries the glass roof light has been used to bring light into stairwells and/or dark rooms. In the more decorative salons panels of stained or leaded glass were used to create a focal point. In Paris, the Bar Josephine at Saint Germain Hotel Lutetia recently unveiled its historic glass roof, whose existence had been hidden under construction and is now beautifully ornamented with transparent, dreamlike frescos by contemporary artist Fabrice Hyber. Lead artist Bianca Divity says this type of ceiling would look fantastic in screen printed transparent enamels especially with the light behind, which would cast the colours on to floors below. Such work, as a bespoke safety glass unit, toughened and/or laminated double glazed unit would cost in the region of €1,500 per sq metre, ex VAT and installation. biancadivito.com; hotellutetia.com

Best in Class 5

HD Glass ceilings Taka Architects. Photograph: Alice Clancy
HD Glass ceilings Taka Architects. Photograph: Alice Clancy

Pavement lights, once prevalent throughout Dublin’s city centre, have been used by Taka Architects to wash with light the interior of The Blossom Tree Cafe in St Patrick’s Park, the gorgeous green space to the side of St Patrick’s Cathedral. “They give a nice quality of light, at multiple points, a dappled effect, that is different to what you get from one big slab of glass. The light is more diffused as the glass used is much thicker and is cast rather than rolled sheets of glass, explains Cian Deegan.

You can see historically refurbished examples on Prince’s Street North, Dublin 1, along the side of the GPO. Deegan says the firm never uses them on residential builds because it is very difficult to get the insulation values required under residential building regulations.You can expect to pay about €1,500, ex VAT, for the glass, which sits into a steel surround, and measures about 1m by 1.5m in size. This price is supplied and fitted, within the greater Dublin area and also depends on location and logistics, says Dermot Moran of Lucan-based The Glass Block Company. UK-based Luxcrete is another supplier. taka.ie; glassblockco.ie; luxcrete.co.uk

Best in Class 6

HD Glass ceilings Rilox Ireland
HD Glass ceilings Rilox Ireland.

A decorative idea gaining traction in high-end residential projects is the retractable roof that, when the mercury rises sufficiently, opens to create a real outdoor room. If you’ve sipped a cocktail in the new street garden to the rear of Cafe en Seine on Dublin’s Dawson Street or in the beer garden at Opium, Wexford Street, you may already have admired the work of Rilox Ireland. In a domestic setting a panel 5m long by 3.5m wide with solid glass sides and bi-fold doors, using aluminium and thermal glass, will cost in the region of €35,000, ex VAT. The structure pictured is about twice that with although the price doesn’t necessarily double the price, says its MD Jim Leahy. riloxireland.com

Best in Class 7

HD Glass ceilings Plastic House. Photograph: Paul Tierney
HD Glass ceilings Plastic House. Photograph: Paul Tierney

A glass roof in a bathroom is a really smart way to bring in light while maintaining a real sense of privacy. This wet room, by Architecture Republic, now Urban-Agency, for a villa style cottage in North Strand, Dublin 3, in an award-winning property called Plastic House, was completed almost a decade ago. So how has it worn? Owner Patrick Davern explains that in lieu of glass he chose glass-like polycarbonate, an affordable industrial material usually used for factory roofing that offers good insulation. It is one of the best features of the house, he says. “In direct sunlight lasts about 10 years and then takes on a yellow tinge. Mine is not as pristine as it was. I have to clean it a lot.” Pilkington Glass fabricates a self-cleaning glass that is another, more expensive option. urban-agency.com; pilkington.com

Best in Class 8

HD Glass ceilings donnybrook Fair Pac Architects
HD Glass ceilings donnybrook Fair, Pac Architects.

Pac Studio designed this timber and glass roof structure for Donnybrook Fair, Malahide. Principal Peter Crowley loves the ever-changing shadow patterns it creates on the floor and wall surfaces.

“The natural warmth and grain of the timber structure provides a great contrast against the man-made perfection of the glass sheets whilst the timber also helps absorb sound which would naturally rebound off the glass surfaces,” he says.

The timber structure also provides shading in terms of heat, which he says is something that would be a concern in an internal environment. The glu-laminated timber structure was fabricated and installed by Cedarlan in Cork. The frameless folded glass canopy and support system was manufactured by Limerick-based Curran Aluminium. pacstudio.ie; cedarlan.ie; curranalu.ie

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