In the field of interior design for corporate buildings, the use of glass has gained popularity over the years in the Kenyan corporate sector. There are numerous types of glass that can be found in the market which ensure there is versatility and flexibility in its use. Many corporate buildings in Kenya are opting to use the unique glass treatment options available for their interiors in an effort to giving their offices an edge as compared to others. Mr Huzaifa Hameed, Director at Smart Glass Industries Ltd, was able to give some insight on the different types of glass that can be used in the finishing and partitions of a corporate building.
One of the popular types of glass used in corporate buildings is frosted glass. This type of glass has been processed to have the appearance of a milky translucent surface. “Frosted glass comes in handy for clients who want to ensure some form of privacy amongst the members sharing the building,” says Mr Hameed. “Due to its translucent surface, frosted glass provides privacy to its interiors while at the same time allowing light transmission thus providing two services simultaneously.”
Another type of glass used in corporate building is the smart glass. This type of glass has been designed in such a manner that it can turn from clear and opaque states on demand and provides unprecedented control over the amount of light, privacy and heat that enters a space. “Many buildings are adapting the use of the smart glass because of its efficiency. Additionally, windows that use switchable smart glass do not need blinds, shades or other window treatments, thus providing unobstructed views for the occupants,” notes Mr Hameed. He adds that some companies even offer effects that can transform glass windows, showrooms and other glass surface into dramatic video displays. “Smart glass is ideal for commercial, institutional, and residential spaces as it can be manipulated into providing unlimited color options, color clarity, and it is extremely durable,” opines Mr Hameed.
Another commonly used glass in corporate buildings is the toughened glass. Toughened glass is glass that undergoes intense heating and stress through which the tenacity and strength of the glass is increased. “Toughened glass can be found in most corporate buildings today. While the glass can be used with a variety of frames professionally installed, many people are now opting to installing the glass frameless within their buildings,” informs Mr Hameed. He notes that frameless toughened doors, and mostly the sliding door types, are widely used currently in industrial buildings as well as schools and even homes.
Fabrika glass is another type of glass that can be used in commercial buildings. Fabrika glass is a laminated glass product with beautiful fabrics encapsulated inside. It is mostly used in a decorative manner to give the building a spark of life. “Fabrika glass is used to create a dramatic feature in interior applications such as partitions, screens, doors, and furniture. When combined with either a back-painted glass or mirrored glass, the overall effect is stunning and is an inspired solution for wall cladding,” says Mr Hameed. “The fabric that is sandwiched between the laminated glass are of a wide range, dependent on the client’s specifications. This can include the use of traditional fabric (kitenge) among others,” he adds.
There is also the decorative glass which comes in several types and shapes depending on the clients’ preferences. Decorative glass is heated glass that is then shaped into different designs. Some of the decorative glass may be stained and some may be clear. Most of the time, decorative glass is used in the main entrance of buildings but can also be used in other parts of a building such as windows and small partitions. “The use of decorative glass satisfies privacy needs in the building and gives the building a unique feel as decorative glass are often statement pieces,” says Mr Hameed.
Other common glasses in the corporate market are the laminated glass and the reflective glass (otherwise referred to as the tinted mirrors). Many Kenyans are wary about using glass products in their buildings and constructions as they are afraid they may be easily destroyed. However, according to Mr Hameed, it is important that Kenyans realize that there are many technological advancements that have made glass a durable product in the construction industry. “While some Kenyans are hesitant to using glass products, most seem to have embraced the new trends of using glass as partitions and doors in commercial buildings,” says Mr Hameed. He adds that the purchase and installation prices are fair and negotiable depending on the pocket budget of the client.
(All photos courtesy of Smart Glass Industries Ltd)