Design Notes Archive

A Fresh Look at Glass

A Fresh Look at Glass

As we launch our new collection of glass tiles this month, we wanted to celebrate a group of bathrooms that exemplify the beauty of this sleek modernist material. In developing the collection, we did a deep dive researching decades of contemporary spaces, including wildly colourful ceramic ones and streamlined utilitarian ones, that all proved as valuable sources of inspiration. There was a soft, aquatic tone of glass that came up again and again, however, like that in the glass tiled bathroom of midcentury photographer, Ezra Stoller. His black and white images of buildings like the Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater made him one of the era’s most sought after architectural photographers. A visionary, it turns out in both film and design, as he collaborated on his home with prominent architects Abraham Geller and George Nemeny in 1948. The restored house sold for £1.8M in 2020 and includes an expansive glass tiled wet room in this misty hue with a central shower that drains right through the floorboards. 

We were also delighted by the glass-tiled bathrooms that interior designer Vicente Wolf is known for. In his book, The Four Elements of Design, he connects the dots between water and these designs. “I’ve always seen water as therapeutic,” he notes. “The water-inspired spaces I design serve as restorative oases. Their main purpose is to wash away the cares of day.” It’s no surprise then that his protégés, designers Tina Ramchandani and Maureen Winter McDermott, were inspired to envelope a beachside bathroom with watery glass tiles, left. The pair, who each have their own firms today, spent five years working for Wolf and collaborated on this project. “There’s definitely an ode to Vicente,” say McDermott. “We used a lot of glass tile working with him and this house has water views that we wanted to bring in.” They did just that using a serene sea green hue, with large scale glass squares on the walls and a smaller mosaic on the floor. Crisp white furnishings, including polycarbonate lampshades and a motorised solar window shade, give the room a spa-like air that’s both soothing and functional. “We wanted it to feel very relaxed and I think it also translates like an ‘80s gym bath, which we were also inspired by,” she notes.     

Spa-style serenity was also a key driver for architect Katherine Chia in designing a glass tiled bathroom for a family’s Manhattan apartment, centre. Embracing the calming power of repetition, a uniform grid of Veneto glass tiles run from floor to ceiling, mirrored medicine cabinets reflect a pair of glass doors opposite, and the angular Cube tub by WetStyle is echoed in the floating sink. The result is a pared-down space devoid of clutter that feels instantly restful. There’s also just something incredibly peaceful about the way light bounces off glass tiles. It lends real depth to even the palest colour and almost seems to glow, even when it has a matte finish and even without the benefit of natural light.

When it comes to minimalist spaces, few names are as associated as British architect John Pawson, who designed this residence, right, that interior designer Mica Ertegun was later tapped to decorate. We can’t help but notice that the palette of seafoam and yellow, cut by the earthiness of a honed-limestone sink, is strikingly similar to a still from the upcoming movie Maestro. That image appears in the Editor’s Letter of this month’s American Vogue and features a young Felicia and Leonard Bernstein, played by Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper, embracing in a similarly coloured tiled bathroom. The movie won’t be released in theatres until the end of November (and then streaming on Netflix in December) but we will be keeping our eyes out for this scene when it does. The thoroughly modern looking bathroom could very well be fitted with glass tiles or translated into them in swimming fashion if ceramic. And if this hint of colour has whet your appetite, you’ll be pleased to know that our own collection of glass tiles is rife with vibrant options—blues and greens of course but also pink, red, yellow, lilac and more, 25 hues in total.  

Photos: Jacob Snavely, Joshua McHugh, Peter Estersohn