charing cross dichroic glass work

BLOG: Dichroic Glass for Exterior Artwork

Introducing Exterior Glass Fins

There are good reasons for using dichroic glass in exterior contexts. Glass is, by nature, a dynamic medium, responding to changes in light. But, dichroic glass, particularly when exposed to sunlight, responds in an extreme way to changing conditions and shifting angles of light. The colours of the dichroic glass move as your angle of incidence changes in relation to the glass. Thus, every fin has a slightly different colour.

This can be seen in the dichroic glass fins below, where the colours of the glass shift for both interior and exterior during the day as sun's position changes.


interior dichroic glass work on charing crossroad

Seen from the outside the fins shift from purple through to green. And, from the interior, you can see them shift from blue through to gold (see below).


exterior dichroic glass work on charing cross road

A developer, maybe anxious to create a slightly neutral environment and might shy away from such dramatic effects, particularly on the interior of a space. But experience has shown me that commercial and public buildings often benefit from having a strong branded statement. An assertive building can reflect the aspirations of the tenants, who want a site that will be more dominant in its environment.



Sovereign House, Public Art Project: Dichroic Glass

The glass fins at Sovereign House, Leeds, are 18m tall and range from 600mm wide to 1200mm wide being narrow at the top at one end and narrow at the bottom at the other. There are only two matching shapes throughout the glass. It is a strong statement.


sovereign house, use of dichroic glass


Residential “Public Art”- Dichroic Glass Project

lyde green community centre with dichroic glass work

The project below is entirely different. This is a piece of ‘public art’ set in the midst of a 4000 unit residential development. Ten dichroic glass fins emerge from the facade of Lyde Green Community Centre. Again, the colours change as the sun moves across the sky, but always the image of the nearby lake and the surrounding trees remain visible on the glass.


dichroic glass work on lyde green community centre

This type of public art is becoming less common as local authorities needs escalate. Due to budget cuts, the need for public art has shifted towards a greater need for bus shelters and other vital facilities. This seems sad. Good quality public art is a way of adding favour and vibrancy to our environment, preventing it from being endlessly repetitive. The secret of an economy is to keep money moving around the economy. The savings do not benefit anyone, they just diminish opportunities.



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