Behind the Scenes: Behind the Glass


We have been focused on all things doors this month here on our blog, and I just had a designer call me to ask about putting our metal behind glass .  A timely question, as I want to take you behind the scenes of “On the Rocks”, our recent project which is featured in this month’s Feb-March issue of Interiors Magazine.  Indeed these are metal panels behind glass, in an elevator. 

 Jeffrey Bruce Baker, the architect and designer of this modern home in Atlanta, needed to satisfy the safety requirements of Georgia’s fire code in elevators, so he needed something between the glass and the elevator to provide that security and meet those stringent requirements.  I’m so glad he came to me as this has been of my favorite projects from start to finish! 

Jeffrey and I met at a cafe several years ago, where I showed him a few samples of my work over some amazing pastries.  That cafe in Atlanta, The General Muir and Jeffrey are now MUST visits for me on any trip I make to Atlanta!  We became fast friends, and Jeffrey’s incredibly creative mind started spinning with ideas almost immediately.  Jeffrey wanted these panels to be a a functional and unique eye catching element in this residence from the both the exterior and the interior.  At night, it lights up in a spectacular way. The flickers of light, shape and movement are as stunning at night as they are during the day from the inside.  I wish I could share the sensation of going up and down in this magical elevator, but it’s really something that needs to be experienced in person. I designed the pattern so that it would vary in density from top to middle to bottom as one went up and down….never a dull moment and always a unique visual experience. 

The design was completely custom, a pattern personally meaningful to the home owners who own a whisky company. I happily took on the design challenge, researching whisky, the colors, shapes and emotions it evoked. Yes, taste too.  It takes me a while to actually START my design work, and this is an integral part of my process, getting in the mood, and being in the right frame of mind.  I cut lots of clippings, researched the company, explored their logo, listened to interviews with the CEO, and tried to get a feeling for what they might want want in their own home. I sketched, painted, printed, and I presented Jeffrey with three story boards, different titles for each idea, “Chilled and Distilled”,  “On the Rocks” and “Aged to Perfection”.  I love that my initial drawing file name, “On the Rocks” carried through all the way to publication in Interiors

“On the Rocks” is a design that reflects the way glasses clink on a bar counter.  I liked the way they randomly gather in clusters, almost conversing, yet some are on their own. The way the ice cubes form interesting negative spaces in the glasses, the tension between the smooth amber colored whisky, the harsh edges of ice, and the loud noises of a bar.  The hard geometric shapes and the delicacy of the round glasses. This is all reflected in the final pattern.  

The panels are laser-cut in our standard 11 gauge 1/8” steel, and powder coated in a Tiger finish that is suitable for exteriors.   We knew this would be getting a lot of direct and indirect sun exposure so intentionally selected and extra durable powder.  Many may think thinner gauge would be better behind glass, and that may be fine for some situations, however it’s helpful to keep in mind that there is actually very little price difference between a thinner gauge and our standard 11 gauge thickness. We selected 11 gauge as our standard thickness because it is quite sturdy, and also creates more dimension. Otherwise, why bother using metal?  

The laser cutters were EXTREMELY skillful, and patient. This was a very tedious pattern. It helped that I got to work alongside my RISD friend and colleague, Lisa Perry, who now owns a very high end metal fabrication company with her husband in the Northeast.  Lisa had my back and was a constant liaison (and voice of design sensibility) between me and the technical programmers.  They’d say, “Annie, you can’t have a radius less than .020”.  I’d beg, they’d stand firm, we’d try, I’d push, we’d fail, and eventually we got it.  

So this is the long winded answer:  Yes, you can use our metal panels behind glass.  You can put them in doors, elevators, cabinetry and more!