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Glass Is Redefining The Built Environment. Here’s How


In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected the incandescent lamp. To house the filament of his now universal lightbulb design, which would eventually pave the way for electric light in the home, Edison used glass developed by Corning. 

Glass has come to shape every aspect of modern life. It gives people something to drink out of, a screen to interact with technology and eyewear to help them see better. But it also has a direct impact on how people experience physical space. The material elevates interior spaces with clarity and color, provides a durable solution that allows light to enter an otherwise secluded area and helps buildings integrate a digital communications infrastructure to adapt to an increasingly connected world.  

Breaking Tradition

When Corning’s researchers and engineers came up with the concept for Gorilla Glass, they were thinking about the future. The team wanted to introduce a durable solution that would modernize the user experience. At a thickness of 0.5 mm to 2 mm, the specialty glass is lightweight and damage-resistant. Its touch capabilities and surface can help consumers navigate the digital landscape. The glass’ physical durability translates to a more abstract experience. 

While Gorilla Glass was initially used for consumer technology and mobile devices, it is now helping architects design buildings that appeal to the modern tenant. Corning recently teamed up with Elevecture, a New York City-based laminating company to install Gorilla Glass solutions that enhance interior spaces with lighting and clarity. The result is a more colorful and creative space, giving architects the freedom to transform walls with traditional materials like wood or concrete into a modern interior solution. 

In addition to enhancing design creativity, this glass helps buildings become more sustainable. Gorilla Glass contains no heavy metals and boasts a lower carbon footprint compared to a plastic alternative. It also provides buildings with more access to natural light, which saves energy and associated costs.

“The tenants really enjoy these spaces,” Newmark Knight Frank Executive Managing Director Eric Gural said. “Tenants really want more light anywhere they can get it. The clarity of the glass really does a great job. We’re going to continue to design things to bring light into these spaces.” 


Communicating Through Glass

Glass has also had a hand in shaping the modern office. A growing trend toward corporate wellness activities has led to a demand for creative design and access to natural light, but glass has also changed the way office tenants stay connected. 

Fiber optic wireless solutions, which support digital connectivity infrastructure in densely populated environments, use glass technology to transmit light from one end of a wire to another. Created by drawing glass as thin as human hair, this type of solution supports higher bandwidth and promotes digital experiences in the modern built environment.

Corning’s Optical Network Evolution product has provided a solution to meet a growing demand for connectivity. By creating an optical fiber-based infrastructure, this solution provides a backbone for a building’s digital network. 

As building owners and managers prepare for a tech-driven future, they are turning to a new set of enhanced solutions to activate and modernize their space. As new technology continues to redefine the real estate landscape, glass will be the constant force driving innovation forward.  

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Corning Optical Communications. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

This story is Part 3 of a larger series that explores the future of connectivity in the built environment.