March 17, 2015

We all know what they say about those who live in glass houses, but the ‘glass house’ design trend results in offices that look stylish enough that no-one would ever dream of throwing stones.

The appeal of this style lies in its expansive feel and clean minimalist look. In terms of office layout, it offers the best of both worlds, giving the sense of an open office while still providing adequate partitioning and sound control. With clever installation and design, it provides a sense of spaciousness even in compact spaces. Finally, the smooth transparency of glass allows for the creation of an elegant, modernist appearance. Together, these elements combine to create a sense of wide-open spaces in your office, providing a breath of fresh air for everyone working within.

An example of black frame partitioning with transparent and coloured glass

The Rise of Black Aluminium Framing


The butt-jointed look has been a popular look for glass partitioning in offices for quite a while. This creates the illusion that a single pane of glass has been shaped to contain angular bends. However, it’s actually achieved by joining separate panes of glass with a transparent silicone sealant.

However, it appears that the butt-jointed look may be going out of vogue with the rise in popularity of black aluminium framing, suggesting that contemporary tastes are moving away from a frameless quality towards a more structured look.

Glass partitions with black aluminium framing recall traditional Japanese architecture, specifically Shoji screens – dividers used to partition large open spaces in Japanese homes. These were constructed of translucent paper stretched over a wooden grid.  Simple and symmetrical, their design is at once both modern and timeless. 3 - lowres

Shoji-inspired partition designOffice Fit-Out for Beulah International using black framed aluminium

Case Study – Beulah International


The recent revamp of the offices of Beulah International, a property development firm based in central Melbourne, is a perfect example of this office design trend at its best. Using Criterion Industries’ Platinum 90 partitioning suite, construction project overseers Kovstruct created the clean, modern look the company desired, with meeting rooms and workspaces clearly delineated but not sealed off from the rest of the office.

The black-framed theme of the glass partitions extends beyond this, continuing throughout the design of the entire office. It’s echoed in details such as black wire-framed lamp-shades; a shelf-grid partition containing pot-plants; and coffee tables constructed of glass and black iron, intended to resemble a rectangular prism. The overall effect is one of order, modernity and well-organised space.

Kovstruct’s Managing Director James Kovacevic said, “We chose the Platinum 90 partitioning suite because not only did it deliver the desired aesthetic, it provided a more cost effective solution in comparison to the steel design specified by the client. The steel system proved to be an inappropriate design solution due to the necessity of prefabrication offsite and a lengthy delivery time of 12 weeks.

The Platinum suite certainly ticked all the boxes due to the ease of construction, and an order to delivery time of 5 days.

“By adopting a design that uses aluminum frames and flat bars, we were able to install full height glazed panels, without having to measure/supply/install individual 1200x600mm glazed sections. This afforded us the opportunity to reduce the cost, whilst not compromising on design or aesthetic”, James from Kovstruct said.

“Through the use of Criterion’s Platinum 90 front glazed suite with flat bars, we were able to deliver a visually appealing partitioning design that resulted in a very impressive atmosphere and a happy client!” he says.

 Beulah International Interior, black frame theme

What do you think?


How do you feel about the glasshouse office trend? Do you feel this is the look of the contemporary office, or are you a fan of the ‘frameless’ glass look – or do you prefer something else entirely? Tell us what you think in the comments below!


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