Designers are always looking for new ways to make a building hip. They want their new structure to stand out and catch people’s attention. Of recent, glass blocks have made their way into the building scene. Instead of using these objects in a conventional way, such as a translucent wall or window in a bathroom, they are beginning to be used in commercial structures. The IDEO workshop has added some pizazz to these simple glass blocks. In experimenting with new technology, IDEO has created LED glass blocks. Instead of stacking the glass blocks on top of one another to create a surface, cables that hold small LED light chips are placed behind a glass wall and create a grid like structure. By using this technology innovative designs and structures can be made.
At the present time, the practicality of using glass blocks as an entire façade structure is not likely to happen. The LED glass blocks must be the outer shell of a structure with a stable inner part. Also, the depth that the LED lights are placed from the inner wall will change the frequency that the light bleeds into other blocks. Moreover, this structure is an addition to the façade; therefore, it costs extra in labor, materials, and energy used to power the lights. Though not completely cost efficient, LED glass blocks can come in various sizes and colors. Also, a matrix can be created with the grid of cables that power the lights. This means that certain blocks can be turned on and off to relay certain text, pictures, or signage—at an 8-bit-like level.
Some may argue that this application of glass blocks and LED lights is tacky, but it looks fun. If fun and interesting is what you’re looking for then great, this is it.