Stained glass gets a sleek, 21st-century update

The new glass panels, by the Bouroullec Brothers, aim to capture the impression of different colors and light in everyday life, using abstract shapes.


Can you capture impressionistic ideas of light and color as an abstract shape that changes its appearance depending on how you look at it? That’s what French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec aimed to do with their new glass collection.


Their Oblique & Chevron collection—created for architecture glass maker Skyline Design—is a futuristic update of the classic stained glass windows from medieval times. But instead of using lead and religious imagery, the two brothers used a computer algorithm to transform their inspiration—the “sensation of light and colors” in everyday life—into abstract patterns.

[Photo: © Studio Bouroullec/courtesy Skyline Design]
According to Core77, they started by taking photos of things around them at different times of the day. Then they took a selection of eight photos and processed them with a custom computer program that Erwan Bourellec developed. The software extracted an average color from the photos. It also chopped the photos into a geometric pattern.

Then the designers added an extra layer of translucent gradient color to the glass. The darker lines act like the lead in old medieval windows, breaking the base color. At the same time, they have small variations in their geometry and color density, which interact with the base color layer to create infinite, apparently random variations of that hue. You can see how this works here:

[Photos: © Studio Bouroullec/courtesy Skyline Design]
The collection, which is intended to be used in the interior design of everything from lavish offices to hotels to homes, has four versions, each with its own geometric pattern: Chevron Fill, Chevron Stroke, Oblique Bold, and Oblique Regular. Each of them are available in different colors: sea (blue), pond (graphite), forest (green), and bark (brown).

The prolific designers have a love story with glass and crystal. They recently built Swarovski-encrusted LED fountains at Paris’s Champs-Elysées.

About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.