Top 3 Tips for Designing with Backlit Glass Panels

Designing with translucent surfaces, structure, and backlighting is a delicate balance– those are three difficult materials to make work together. There are several methods to illuminate glass panels with backlighting, and chances are if you’re creating a ceiling or wall, then you have little space in which to throw the light. Because glass is a substantially heavy material, throwing cumbersome structural members into the mix further complicates things.

Backlit Glass Panel Columns

Above: Backlit Glass Panels at AED Idea Exchange

Here are our top 3 tips for designing with backlit glass panels:

#1. Don’t disregard structure. Move the flat LED panels in front of all structural pieces in order to avoid casting shadows.  Glass is often used in conjunction with standoffs or steel angles.  Ensure that the lighting elements can be implemented into your chosen method.

#2. All types of glass have different diffusion characteristics. Be sure that your lighting manufacturer can make proper modifications to the lighting fixtures to properly illuminate your chosen glass, or consult a lighting designer that is well-versed in methods to eliminate halos, hot spots, and cold spots. Create a custom mock-up or consult an expert to discuss the optimal dimension between LED panel and glass surface for best light diffusion.

#3. Consider specifying a clear or white glass and use the lighting to provide the color. That way, your client can dial in the exact color desired and use different settings for special occasions.

Backlit Glass Feature Walls Evenly Illuminated Without Shadows

Above: Backlit Recycled Glass Panels at Masdar City

Still struggling with a backlit glass design? Send us your sketches for design consultation or download a case study to see how we detailed the Masdar City project.