Glass is a material which has truly stood the test of time; it dates back at least 5000 years and has a huge number of uses.
Thames Contracts have found that many companies in and around London, including Edgware, Hitchin and Hertford, are still making glass partitions an integral part of their office refurbishments or fitouts. Here we look at the history of glass, how it is made, and some of the key advantages glass partitioning offers the modern-day office.
How Glass is Made
Sand (silicon dioxide) is mixed with waste glass, usually from recycling collections, soda ash (sodium carbonate), and limestone (calcium carbonate) are heated in a furnace to extreme temperatures.
The soda helps to reduce the sand’s melting point, which saves money during the manufacturing process, while the limestone ensures that the product will not dissolve in water. The material is then allowed to cool down and can be shaped into virtually any form.
The History of Glass Manufacture
The first glass objects can be traced back to 3000BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Glass blowing, which helped to kick-start the manufacturing process, was mastered by craftsmen in Syria and dates back to the First Century BC.
The advent of industrialisation means it can now be mass-produced by pouring the material into pre-set moulds for glasses and bottles. For flat sheets, it is poured onto a vat of molten tin metal, or floated, to make flat sheets of glass for windows. This process was invented by Sir Alistair Pilkington, of Pilkington Glass, in the 1950s.
You can add other chemicals to the process for different types of glass; for example, iron or chromium compounds will give the glass a green tint. Frosted glass is created by taking a sheet of clear glass and sandblasting it with an abrasive material, or acid etching, where the pane is treated with an acidic or caustic substance. Both these techniques make the glass translucent; it will blur images on either side, but still allow light through.
Glass, rather than a solid wall, will ensure maximum levels of natural light. Studies have shown that workers perform more efficiently when there is plenty of sunlight in the workplace. Sunlight also provides essential Vitamin D and improves people’s mood.
It also helps to save on your lighting bills – as dark dingy offices require more light fittings and heat to make the space comfortable to work in.
Glass is also a quality, durable material which will last for a long, long time. It also rarely goes out of fashion, so you shouldn’t need to replace it. This means it will also help reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
A Flexible Fit
Open plan offices have been extremely popular in recent times because they encourage friendliness and collaboration on the office floor. However, there are certain times and areas where privacy is necessary; for example, during confidential meetings, such as appraisals or where sensitive information is being shared.
Unwanted or annoying noises can also be an unproductive factor if everyone can hear everyone else. For example, if the staff canteen or breakout area are not separate from the main working area, the ambient noise of kettles, people chatting or eating may irritate those trying to concentrate.
This is where glass partitioning comes into its own; you can create separate areas very quickly, and they can be used for relaxation or for specific projects. Frosted, toughened, soundproofed or switchable glass can give additional levels of privacy.
Saving You Money
Particularly in the more desirable office locations, such as central London, where space is at a premium, larger office premises can be prohibitively expensive for some companies. This makes it important to use every bit of office space as effectively as possible.
If you use glass partitioning, you can adapt your office space to fit different needs. By doing this, you may be able to use a smaller office more effectively. Depending on the size and layout of your new office, you may also be able to take the glass panels with you in future, saving you an additional expense.
Stylish and Modern
Using glass partitions in your office will give it a stylish, contemporary feel. Glass also makes offices seem more welcoming because you can see virtually everything that is going on, unless you use tinted or frosted panes.
Glass helps to create the impression of space as well – partitioning can make the office seem bigger than it really is, which can be important if you are trying to impress guests or clients.
It also perfectly complements all modern office furniture and décor. With frosted glass, you can have stripes or bands to add an additional visual point of interest. Equally, it is also possible to incorporate text or a company logo onto it.
Thames Contracts have installed high-quality glass partitions in many offices in and around London, including Edgware, Borehamwood, St Albans and Edgware. The partitions can be supplied either on their own or as part of one of our full-scale office refurbishments or refits. Follow the link above if you would like to have a free, no-obligation quote to discuss your office fitout needs.