MediaGlas allows walls to come alive – MMBQ – Monday April 27, 2015


by Rob Kirkbride

The contract furniture industry has done a good job creating walls for every occasion — walls that can be moved; those that are made of glass and wood; and walls that create glass storefronts. So image walls that acts as a chameleons — glass screens that can change colors and textures, show images, logos or text or project just about anything a designer could imagine.

That’s exactly what Galaxy Glass & Stone’s newly introduced MediaGlas product is capable of. It will be featured at Lightfair International early next month. Consider MediaGlas a screen for the imagination.

All complexity aside, MediaGlas is an architectural glass product designed for use with Traxon and its e:cue lighting and controls. MediaGlas is for use in a wide variety of backlighted LED applications, such as medium resolution image displays and precisely color-controlled light emitting surfaces. MediaGlas is comprised of light-modifying elements that diffuse, disperse and reflect the light.

The combination of light and glass creates infinite appearances and forms and also allows information with text and graphic imagery to be “projected” onto the glass in architectural applications. Since the LEDs are controlled by an e:cue Butler and Action Pad, MediaGlas offers endless variations in color, intensity, directionality and timing. A MediaGlas wall might project a company logo, which can be changed into a holiday display throughout the year. Or perhaps it might just change colors to change the look and feel of the room.

MediaGlas was launched by Galaxy Glass & Stone, a custom manufacturer of architectural decorative glass in collaboration with Traxon Technonologies, a company that makes solid state lighting and control systems. Galaxy Glass & Stone was founded in 1977 by Eugene M. Negrin, and since has become known by the international architecture and design community as a premier custom glass fabrication facility.

Negrin believes glass can be more than a static clear pane, which is abundantly clear with MediaGlas. “It is pretty amazing,” he said. “I have been showing this to architecture and design firms and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Galaxy Glass & Stone has been in the architectural glass business for the last 38 years and during that time, has worked on some of the finest glass projects in the world, most architectural, some artistic and architectural. For example, the New York University research laboratory located in the center for Neural Science features a unique meeting space that reflects its culture of innovation and inspiration. Showcased within is an art project by internationally recognized artist Shuli Sadé entitled Encode/Decode. Made up of three inter-related art pieces, Reconfiguring Memory consists of Encode/Decode, Traces and Remapping, all created by Sadé to serve the Neurobiology of Cognition Laboratory.

Encode/Decode is a spectacular conference table art piece that is the result of a two-year collaboration between Artist Shuli Sadé, Dr. André Fenton, Professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University and Galaxy Glass & Stone. This 15 by 5 foot conference table which weighed in at a half ton was fully fabricated by Galaxy and serves as a representation of the state-of-the art understanding of memory and its expression.

The Encode/Decode conference table is comprised of 32 photographic panel fragments of a single photograph featuring a New York City nightscape. Also incorporated in the photograph are urban and natural visual textures. Sadé digitally removed pixels from the photograph, signifying the stochastic loss and gain of information that is fundamental to memory storage. Architectural elements appear as immunoblots, a biochemical research technique that is routinely used for revealing the molecules that store and regulate memory. Striping in the images resembles the raster displays used to represent electrical discharge of neurons within brain networks.

Galaxy Glass & Stone manufactured the finished table as an inch-thick Galaxy UL Silkglas 500 Custom Laminated Glass Composite that encapsulates the digital film interlayer. The table was constructed in four sections which were assembled and installed onsite. In order to mitigate the uneven distribution of the weight, Galaxy engineered a custom stainless steel, satin finish support structure, which included a column enclosing base, spine and fully welded outrigger arms. The table was then anchored into the concrete sub-floor. Hidden in the base are Wiremold raceways that support built-in lighting as well as power and data outlets. Another notable feature is the highly polished edge work, something Galaxy is well known for within the A & D community.

While Encode/Decode is art created in glass, MediaGlas allows the imagination of the designer to create the art and change it along the way.

“We’ve had a vision for glass for decades, then we saw what was going on with lighting,” Negrin said. “We thought, ‘Hmm, this looks like a very interesting marriage.’ Most architectural lighting designers don’t know what to do with glass and how to specify and most glass designers don’t know much about LEDs. We saw light and glass and realized there could be an infinite number of appearances and forms.”

Still, Galaxy’s expertise is in glass. Traxon brought its expertise in lighting and control to the table. MediaGlas comes in two forms, one with a smaller LED pixel board, which can program color and shape and a larger LED pixel board that can stream video, special effects, signage or verbiage. It creates a nearly limitless language for the designer.

Though corporate projects are a natural — imagine a reception area that can change colors, display information or project a company logo — there is also strong interest for transportation uses like displaying information in airports. Retail and fashion uses abound as well.

“Anywhere you want to add some life; to make a statement,” Negrin said. “It can be gentle or subtle or it can be used to create some excitement. If there was a function after hours (in a space) you can completely change the environment with the programming. It is a glass canvas, if you will.”

You could “repaint” your wall with light every day. Or you could change the complexion of the room with different patters and colors. The use of glass and LEDs could change everything from the look of your office to your favorite retailer. MediaGlas is at the architectural forefront of this revolution.