From the Field: Illuminating a Glass Portal in NYC

GPI Design collaborated on a mock-up and then installation of a backlit recycled glass entry portal for a commercial office building in New York City. We are backlighting a dense recycled glass with significant natural variance and texture, which means that our backlighting solutions have to be responsive and flexible. The light blending strategies constantly changed from initial concept to mock-up to actual installation. Here is a peek into the process:

When we received the glass sample, the GPI team tested the recycled glass in our office – lots of trial, error, and creativity during this process!

Creative Process Reviewing a Glass Lighting Design Project

Diffuser pieces were handcrafted and allowed for addition/subtraction according to the characteristics of the glass.

Handcrafted LED Lighting Diffusers to Blend Light

For the mock-up, we coordinated with the glazing and metal contractors to finesse the system and detailing. The pieces were assembled as a mock-up panel for the design team to review.

Fabrication of Backlit Recycled Glass Mock up Panel

With the mock-up complete, it all goes back to the drawing board… the architect, lighting designer, GPI, glazing contractor, general contractor, and electrical contractor are marking up the shop drawings with the final details based on what we all learned through the mock-up process.

Backlit Glass Panel Design Drawings Review

Even with an extensive development process, after full installation in the final environment, the lighting still needed to be balanced and tweaked based on each piece of glass and the ambient conditions.  The GPI Design team spent five days on-site making those adjustments.

Layers of Backligting for Glass Panels

The final lighting result (surrounding finishes still in progress) – illuminated recycled glass portal that wraps from wall to ceiling.  At over thirty feet tall, the backlit glass is a celebration of the entry sequence and a beacon for visitors. Look for this lighting installation when you are near Times Square in NYC!

Backlit Glass Entry Portal Design

Update: Completed project photos