Full-colour glazing

Glass is one of the most practical and versatile construction materials, and it can also be one of the most colourful, as Scott Sinden, Managing Director of glass processing expert ESG Group, explains.


As a colourful building material, glass has some distinct advantages. In the built environment, we most often use toughened laminated glass such as ESG’s Tufflam. Toughened laminated glass is usually created by laminating two sheets of toughened glass together with a PVB (PolyVinyl Butyral) interlayer. This is safer and more durable than toughened glass alone as, if it becomes damaged, the interlayer will hold most of the small granular fragments in place, reducing the risk to people from falling glass. Toughened laminated glass is also lighter, stronger and more structural than monolithic glass of similar thickness.

We introduce colour in two ways. In many applications, a solid colour is needed, and this is provided by back-painting the glass. This can be matched to any RAL colour and, because the back of the glass is painted, is hard wearing and scuff-resistant, making a long-lasting decorative feature, especially in areas of high foot traffic. This can be seen at Tottenham Court Road tube station in London, where this back-painting technique was used.

For a more translucent effect, we use a Vanceva coloured interlayer, which allows light to pass through, and bathes the surroundings with coloured light. Using combinations of coloured interlayers on different panels, a highly decorative effect can be achieved.

Colour can be added as a single block, or we can introduce intricate designs. Detailed logos and images can be added in the interlayer, or painted onto the reverse of the glass panel, so you can control exactly how much colour and light you allow in your design. Whichever method you choose to implement, the glass will last for many decades, bringing a long-lasting, welcome burst of colour to the built environment.

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