Focus is on comfort right now. Take a look through current architectural and décor magazines, and you’ll see signs of it everywhere. Warm colours, diffused light, natural materials. The reign of stainless-steel kitchens and bathrooms seems to be over, and no wonder. It’s well known that in stressful times people gravitate toward gentler, more comfortable material environments that foster a sense of well-being. With the economic and political insecurity of the last few years, plus that small detail of a global pandemic, designing for comfort is trendier than ever. Acid-etched Starphire® glass is an ideal fit for this more humane aesthetic.

What’s so special about Starphire® glass from Vitro Architectural Glass? It’s an ultra clear low-iron substrate without the greenish tint inherent to regular “clear” glass, so it transmits a cleaner, purer light. Add a full surface acid-etched finish, and the colour of the glass – or rather, lack thereof – becomes even more apparent. It’s the perfect blank canvas for architects and designers. Furthermore, this glass delivers true, bright daylight without any glare. Let’s look at a few of the ways that architects are using this adaptable material.

Clear, Contemporary, Comfortable

With home décor shifting into warmer palettes, designer interests appear to be moving away from   aqua-tinted glass. Cool hues like blue and aqua tend to cancel out the cozy look of earth tones and colours in the red to yellow range, which makes the overall effect appear muddy and dull. Conversely, low-iron Starphire® glass fits seamlessly into its environment and does not dilute the overall palette. It’s the designer’s choice for comfortable contemporary interiors.

Acid-etched finishes on Starphire® glass open up even more possibilities. The etch adds opacity to the glass and reduces surface reflection, which makes this a fantastic base for colour treatments like laminates or back painting. Mirrors, counters, cabinets, accent windows, tabletops and many other focal points can benefit from a dash of just the right colour. Left bare, acid-etched low-iron glass is an ideal option for classic opaque applications like shower partitions. That’s because it gives a neutral look that won’t interfere with the colour palette of the room.

Enlightening the Public Sphere

Light flow is a key concern when designing for public environments. After all, the quality of light is a major part of how people feel in a space. That’s why it’s so important to use high quality glazing in public and commercial buildings, especially when they’re meant to make a good impression. Vitro’s Marketing and Innovation Director, Nathan McKenna, notes that architects will insist on Starphire® for gathering areas like lobbies and atriums, even if the rest of the building uses standard clear glass. It’s also popular in luxury settings like pools, spas, museums, and cultural hubs – in short, anywhere that ambiance really counts.

Tour des Canadiens 2

Neutral Starphire® glass with an etched mirror finish provided the perfect blank canvas for the design team at Humà Design + Architecture. Building upon this neutral base, they were able to creatively incorporate light into their vision for TDC2. Read more in our blog post, Acid-etched Mirror in Interior Daylighting Design.

Skylights are a particularly good fit for low iron glass, since they call for thicker lites which exacerbate the green tint of standard clear glass. They’re also a good place to choose an etched surface, which will cut the glare from the daylight streaming in, yet still allow the skylight to fully illuminate the space below. A low iron product like Starphire® with an acid-etched finish is the perfect choice for a skylight that will bathe the space in pure, glare-free light.

Acid-etched Starphire® glass is also popular in schools, hospitals and other public institutions, largely due to its light-optimizing capabilities. The etched surface eliminates glare while maintaining high VLT levels. This helps structures to meet daylighting requirements for health and educational institutions, and contributes to the occupants’ well-being. Additionally, privacy and security concerns in these facilities make opaque acid-etched glass a particularly apt solution.

Amazon Campus

Expressive design with glass certainly isn’t limited to interiors. Architects NBBJ selected Starphire® glass with a Velour finish for the striking orange fins of Amazon’s Day 1 high-rise. The colourful accents are in keeping with the project’s overall concept, which seeks to build a sense of neighbourhood identity rather than just a structure. In response to the local community’s desire to see colour, each of the campus’ three towers features accents in different colour schemes. The sunny orange fins on the Day 1 high rise take advantage of the blank canvas provided by Starphire® glass with an acid-etch Velour finish. This neutral substrate with its matte surface shows off the ceramic laminate’s true, warm hue.

You can read more about this project on our blog post, or on NBBJ’s website. Discover the site’s signature biodomes in this case study from Vitro.

​Low-iron, high value

Architects and designers use acid-etched low-iron glass in a multitude of ways. However, with all their variety, these contexts speak to a few essential values. Here’s what you’re choosing when you specify acid-etched Starphire® glass.

  • Well-being. Enhance human comfort by delivering the purest daylight possible, without any glare or greenish tinge.
  • Quality. Starphire Ultra-clear® low-iron glass is the clearest, purest glass on the market. When you use acid-etched Starphire®, you show the world that you mean business.
  • Design. Do justice to your creative vision by displaying the true hue of back painting, laminates, and interior surfaces.
  • Security. Acid-etched Starphire® glass offers privacy in sensitive settings, without sacrificing VLT.

Acid-etched Starphire® glass an added-value product that is best suited to projects that prioritize design and human well-being. When you specify acid-etched Starphire® you commit to quality, clarity of design, and the purest light possible. As McKenna observes, “Some people want the best, and this is the best.”

Tips from the experts

Here’s how get the most benefit from your acid-etched Starphire® glass, according to Vitro’s Marketing and Innovation Director Nathan McKenna and Walker’s Director of Products and Business Development, Marc Deschamps.

  • For the purest effect, use low-iron glass for all lites in an insulated unit.
  • If you’re working with laminates, choose an ultra-clear product, since regular laminates often come with a yellowish tint.
  • Acid-etched finishes are a great choice for back painted and laminated glass. The etched surface reduces reflections and lets colour really stand out.
  • Exterior applications are also good candidates for an acid-etched finish. This type of finish is easy to clean and withstands wear better than untreated glass, so you can enjoy the full effect of your low iron glazing.
About Vitro Glass

Vitro Architectural Glass, part of Vitro, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:VITROA), the largest company of its kind in the Americas, manufactures a range of industry-leading, energy-efficient products such as Solarban®, Sungate® and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glasses at U.S. plants in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California; Salem, Oregon; and Wichita Falls, Texas. Committed to sustainable manufacturing processes and products, the company also operates one of the world’s largest glass research and development facilities in Pittsburgh and four residential glass fabrication plants in Canada. Upholding the values of “Together, We See Further” across the architectural, automotive and containers markets, Vitro strives to realize the power of partnership to ensure that projects meet or exceed ever-evolving sustainability expectations as well as glass requirements.

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