“Banded glass is currently one of the hottest interior trends in glazing. It’s a revival based on late art deco styling reflecting early 20th Century architecture and the look can now be achieved with partitioning.” says Kye Edwards, Business Development Director of National Partitioning brand OCULA™ SYSTEMS.
Manhattan building New York still today boasting Crittall® style glazing
The original banded steel windows were a style particularly prevalent in many pre-war houses in the borough of London and still feature in many commercial buildings in the cities across North America. Over the past 30 years they have been considered rather a dated design and, being associated with single glazing, not particularly energy efficient. But as with many interior trends, they have made a serious comeback in both exterior and interior partitioning glazing in the commercial market. And like many resurging fashions, they have been completely modernised in the process.
Our commercial working spaces are continually changing and the market supplying internal partitioning and doors has reacted well to these changing demands for a more flexible and transient environment. Interior styling moves too and one of the most recent trends has seen an industrial theme, a style of polished concrete floors and grey walls offering a blank canvas for the design. We have seen exposed brickwork, stainless steel featuring strongly, the mixing and matching of old and new furniture alongside upcycling objects. The new trend in banded glazing has ridden on the back of this styling. It reflects early Crittall® window designs, offering plenty of light to a space with horizontal and sometimes vertical bands separating the glass, adding interest as well as being a great safety feature, allowing people to clearly see the glazed partition area. The styling sits particularly well in commercial buildings that originated in the early 1900’s, industrial mills and factories now being regenerated as office space. That said, the trend is also being designed into commercial new build with stunning results. It’s a form of fenestration that’s currently bang on trend.
This banded trend has added even more design choice to partitions, enabling specifiers to truly personalise a working environment to suit both how a specific organisation works and the building it resides within. In fact the wide choice of styles, colours and materials have now made it quite complex to specify partitioning that’s not only visually on trend but complies to acoustic and fire protection requirements. So it’s important to involve the manufacturer and their product design team when specifying this glazing to ensure it is the right product for the job.
Whilst dark grey is currently the prevalent colour option in partitioning, any RAL colour can be sourced; so matching to a scheme or corporate colour way is no problem. To complement these partition walls, both flush glazed and framed glass doors are available in the same styling to continue the banded design. There are also fire screens available to this design, should the project require them.
EARLY TREND SETTER Merchants’ Warehouse, Manchester
The Merchants’ Warehouse in Manchester was an early adopter to this new style glazing. Here the designers specified glazed partitioning with black metal trim to sympathetically integrate with the Grade 11 listed brickwork, case iron columns, timber beams and floors. It gives a contemporary feel to the building with a bold, banded system and flush glazed appearance. The partitioning was used to make efficient office spaces, meeting rooms and seating areas within the warehouse building that was originally built in 1825.
There’s no question that the banded style glazing perfectly suits the theme within an industrial environment framework, but it can equally work, to stunning effect in a modern building.
The banded styling within the partitioning of these modern offices, of IGD, is used as much as a style of fenestration and safety feature, so that one can see that the glass partition actually exists yet the space remains open. It is a more modern working space but works just as well and can be mixed with different glazing styles too. What’s also different from the original pre-war design is the flexibility of materials and styling. There’s now a choice of how wide the vertical and horizontal banding is and the shape of the banding, the colour and whether it reflects a square or rectangular glass panel. Some designers are using the banding to create adhoc patterns to stunning effect.
There is also a choice, with a few suppliers, as to whether the transums are physical breaks in the glass partition (as used in the Merchants’ Warehouse case study shown), so many pieces of glass make up the partition or an alternative option of applied transom trims (as in the Holyrood street & IGD case studies) where the banded breaks are a plant-on decorative finish.
Suppliers to this market also offer a number of door options that compliment the banded glazing; these include oak doors, frameless glass doors, framed glass doors and double glazed flush doors. The latter three can come with or without the Crittall® effect detailing, dependent on the tastes and requirements of the designer or end user.
WORKSPACE OF COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGNERS, Holyrood street, London
A very recent example of the use of banded glazing within a partitioning system can be seen in the centre of London, within the offices of a leading commercial interior design business. And if workspace designers are specifying the system we can be sure they consider it to be right on trend. 20 linear metres of single glazed banded partitioning with drywall integration and flush glazed doors were fitted in this project. Here, whilst the aesthetics of the banded glass were important, so was the level of acoustics and an acceptable level was achieved with 12.8mm acoustic laminate glass that provided 38db for this single glazed broken plan area.
As well as demonstrating the demand for banded styling in work spaces there have also been some brilliant examples of it used in leisure spaces. On a refurbishment project in Westminster banded glazing was used to section a floor with a coffee bar and break out spaces. Providing sleek, well-lit interiors where users could relax or work. So get creative with your next partitioning project and jump on the back of this latest banding trend.