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The History Of Glass In Architecture

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Glass was discovered, seemingly by accident, nearly 4000 years ago and has since evolved into one of our most used and most revered materials. It was only 2000 years ago that the manufacturing of glass progressed to being able to create sheets strong enough to be used as windows and architectural features. Today glass is used in everything from revolving doors to skywalks and interior partitions and is one of our most striking architectural materials with a fascinating history.
Glass In Architecture

The Beginnings of Glass in Architecture

When glass was first used in architecture and construction, the limitations of masonry and weaker building materials meant that its prominence was restricted to small windows. With developments in construction, this began to change and by the Medieval Era glass started to be used as more of a decorative feature than simply a way to let light in. The trend for tall, stone Gothic churches facilitated the use of elaborate glass windows made up from fragments of coloured glass and depicting striking biblical scenes. These windows related the stories of the bible to an illiterate populace and spurned the architectural trend of searching for transparency, luminosity and weightlessness through glass.

The Next Big Step in Glass

It wasn’t until the 19th century that glass in architecture took its next significant step forward. Before this time, the manufacturing process itself restricted the use of glass to only small sheets, which is illustrated in the prominent use of cottage pane glass and intricately divided windows in 18th century architecture.

The introduction of iron and other materials during this time meant that glass could take on a whole new role in architecture. Thanks to the materials now existing to hold it in place, coupled with the new ability to mass produce large sheets, the possibilities for the use of glass in construction became nearly limitless. Architects began to experiment with things like conservatories and entire walls of glass that were held together by high trussed steel arches and finger fixings. The Crystal Palace constructed in 1851 represents the most ambitious glass architectural projects of its time – a construction made up of 300 000 sheets of glass.

Glass in Architecture in the 20th Century

Architects use of glass continued to evolve throughout the 20th century although most of the larger, ambitious projects were confined to large office buildings with massive budgets. The idea of transparency and dematerialisation was dominant during this time and architects the world over tried to use glass to create ‘honest’ buildings that focussed on a sense of light and space. One of the biggest changes during these years was the move away from seeing glass as only the material for the openings within a structure, but rather as the material for the structure itself. Glass skins became the challenge to tackle whereby a thin steel structure literally supported skyscrapers of full glass walls.
The Fagus Factory in Germany was one of the first buildings to employ this technique. This urban shoe factory was designed by Walter Gropius in 1911 and used a thin steel structure to hold up a full glass fa├žade to meet the client’s brief of an attractive outlook.
One of the greatest feats in glass architecture in this century is the new Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan which is set to open its doors to the public in early 2009. The steel sphere of the planetarium is an 87-foot structure which can accommodate 585 people. What’s so breathtaking is that is seems to float in the centre of a breathtaking glass cube.

Using glass in architecture has certainly come a long way from its start. As structures like the Hayden Planetarium are constructed, limitations fall away and glass architecture takes on a life of its own.

Glass in Architecture Today

Constant innovations in glass and building materials continue to increase the possibilities for the use of glass in architecture and today have resulted in some of the most spectacular buildings imaginable. Lightweight, strong plastics, new cladding materials and fixing technologies have allowed for even more experimentation with glass and has enabled architects to translate many of these styles to work in the domestic environment and not only in corporate skyscrapers. Other innovations in glass have also enabled it to become less of a building material and more of a design feature in homes across the globe. Glass is now stronger and safer than ever, allowing it to be used anywhere from roofs to staircases and interior walls – glass is no longer just for windows and the occasional sliding door.

Other innovations in glass have made it possible to fully utilise glass as a building material and prominent feature in domestic homes. Before, architects shied away from a fully-fronted glass home as the heating and cooling bills were astronomical and were only practical in an office environment. With new innovations in double-glazed glass, thermal insulating glass and solar control glass, this problem becomes less of an issue as the glass itself helps to regulate the temperature inside.

Another drawback of abundant use of glass in the home was the need to keep it clean. Glass roofs, conservatories and high walls were often avoided due to the time or cost involved in their cleaning. The advent of self-cleaning glass has helped to reduce this problem, encouraging and allowing for new innovations in the use of glass in domestic architecture. Self-cleaning glass utilises a special coating that reacts with sunlight to break down and loosen organic dirt that is then washed away by the rain. This same coating prevents the water from settling and streaking, rather encouraging run off, leaving the glass naturally cleaner and clearer. This allows architects the freedom to use glass for any exterior that their creativity can take them and has left us with some of the finest architectural uses of glass yet.

Why Stained Glass Products Make For an Ideal Gift?

Friday, 12 February 2016

To choose a special gift for your loved ones, can become a difficult task at times. With millions of gifts available online and in stores, one would have imagined that selecting the right gift is a trivial task, but what if you wanted to gift something rare or unique? Something which is not too common and by gifting which you could truly convey your love and regards for the recipient. Well, if that is the case let me suggest to you to look for stained glass gifts, which are not only beautiful and affordable but also unique. But before we talk more about gifts made from glass art, it would be good idea to know a little bit about this material itself.
Stained Glass Products
The first traces of stained glass usage have been found in the archaeological diggings of the Egyptian civilization, dating back to as early as 2nd century B.C. But mass use of stained glass in construction started happening only around the 5th and 6th century in Europe and Mid East Asia. Initially though, this kind of material was used primarily in churches and in other religious structures. It was only around the 10th century that artisans from Europe and Central Asia started to experiment with stained glass as an artwork. New techniques like glassblowing, fusing glass, lamp working and sand crafting were developed to take the craftsmanship to an even higher level. No longer was glass art limited to colored church windows but, sculptures, miniatures, designs and patterns were now being developed. Over the last centuries glass art has become a creative medium in itself and has become extremely popular. 
But glass art products are expensive!
Not really. Thanks to advances made towards the start of the last century, the cost of making this glass has come down considerably. Raw materials are easily accessible to the artist, as is, the knowledge of the craft. With a lot more artist now working in this medium, the price of stained glass products has become much more elastic. Yes, these products do come with a premium attached but, that is because of the high amount of artistry involved. One has to keep in mind that an art work is not a bulk factory produced product but rather the final outcome of an artist's creative process, which involves, the conception of a design, carefully hand crafting that concept into the art work and finally refining it.

Reasons why glass artwork gifting is effective.
As described above stained artwork gifts are not only artistic but also unique. When someone receives a art gift they immediately realize that you have chosen for them a unique piece of artistic expression rather than a mundane factory produced item. They will understand that even though you could have easily chosen from the millions of gifts out there in the marketplace, instead you have selected a unique hand crafted gift for them. Also, it's a usual standard practice for glass artists to attach a certificate of authenticity when they sell their products. This certificate is essentially a document of declaration by the artist that the artwork is original, unique and with no replicas. This adds further value to the gift because when the recipient of the gift sees the certificate, he or she will know that not only is this gift rare but also the only one of its kind ever made.
Choosing a gift made of stained glass has also become easier today. A lot of gifted and skilled glass artist now sell online and with a few clicks you can order your gift. And, there are a lot of product categories to choose from. Today, you can easily find a stained glass table lamp, dinnerware, jewelry, household product, figurines, amulets, candle stands, decorations, boxes, sculptures and much more. They are affordable and can be delivered easily.

Final thoughts on glass artwork gifts.
Gifting is both an art and an inexact science in itself involving aesthetics, emotions, affordability and an opportunity to show how much you care for the other person. With this article I have suggested that the next time you are looking for gifting something special and unique, include gifts made from stained glass in your search. The very first step to that would be, to just go online and explore the wonderful world of stained glass gifts.

Practical Things to Consider Before You Rent an Office

Friday, 23 May 2014

Regardless of whether you are a new business trying to find a space that fits your growing needs, or perhaps an established one in search of a better space, there are a few key factors you will need to consider when making your choice for a rented office space. Here are few of the practical things to consider before you rent an office:

Contract Length
The contract length may well be a significant element when deciding whether to rent an office or not. If you are a new business with an uncertain future, then it’s not advisable to tie yourself financially with something you might not be able to afford 12 months down the line.

What amount of space do you need initially, and do you feel like needing more space in near future? When it comes to space, you will likely never have enough for a business that is constantly expanding. When seeing offices available in the market, make sure there is extra space available on the premises for your business to expand.

You will need to figure out the amount you will pay in utility bills, if the deal you are getting is not all-inclusive. Figure out the money you will need to pay for the utilities and factor in this cost when considering moving to offices that have all- inclusive deals. For businesses that need to use a lot of gadgets and computers, power bills might go atrociously. Therefore, it might be a much better option to choose a property that is offering an all-inclusive deal.

The location certainly affects the image your business projects to the market and the clients you would like to sell your products or services to. If you manage to find an inexpensive office in a posh locality, then this will make your clients think that you are a recognized business that is doing well. This is something that is necessary for startups that are yet to get in touch with good clients.

Is there a parking space available? This will not be a huge problem if the majority of your staff uses public transport, but if you are planning to expand your business and anticipate having clients visiting your office, too little parking space can certainly be a problem.

A functional reception certainly gives you an edge, especially if you wish to impress clients visiting your office. When you have someone to meet and greet people visiting your office and re-directing inbound calls, then meetings can run a lot more smoothly and people working in the office do not need to be bothered about letting people in and out of the office building.

Meeting Room
A meeting room might be needed if you would like conduct meetings at a place that is away from the reach of your employees. This allows you to focus on the work at hand and communicate easily, without any distractions. A conference room can also be useful for conducting in-house meetings with employees or conducting interviews. So consider having some extra space for meeting room when evaluating office spaces available for rent.

Read the terms of the contract carefully and find out what applies and what doesn’t. If the lease agreement mentions certain things that you possibly will not need, never hesitate asking the property owner to reduce the rent.

Office Space in Myanmar - Helping Businesses Reach Their Maximum Potential

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Renting an office space in Myanmar allows you to enter the emerging market in the country. Surveys show that the demand for office space in this particular nation has significantly increased. With this, you can find business towers in various cities in Myanmar and there were residential properties which have been turned into offices for rent.

Office Space in Myanmar - The Costs and Other Important Facts

There are various office towers in the country, including the FMI Center, Centrepoint, and Sakura Tower. On the other hand, the York Center in Yangon is another sole-purposed office space for rent in the country. It is a premium office space known for setting standards and meeting the needs of small businesses and multi-national companies. The cost of rent depends on the size of the office space. You can rent an office space in Myanmar at $100 per square meter. Keep in mind that the average rental fees for office space in the country have increased for about 50 percent in 2012 due to the increasing demand of serviced offices. In Myanmar, there are sole-purposed commercial office space buildings and world-class business towers which allow you to choose an office space based on your budget and specific needs. For instance, you can choose an office location or address which is convenient for everyone. There are offices for rent located in Bahan, Mayangone, or near the Yangon River. On the other hand, you can also find fully-furnished offices in Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay.

You can find a well-located office space in the business districts of Myanmar for $15,000 per month. On the other hand, if you want a cheaper serviced office, you can opt for $800 or $1,000 every month. The cost of office space also depends on the business address and location. When renting a serviced office, in most cases, you will be required to pay at least one extra month security deposit. The property agent is also given an additional month commission.

 Renting an Office Space in Myanmar

There are various reasons why businesses choose to rent a Myanmar office space. When you choose a sophisticated office for rent in the country, you will have an office which is equipped with modern facilities and amenities in order to help your business, specifically when it comes to its daily operation. In most cases, office space buildings have covered parking spaces, a staffed reception area, a highly reliable internet connection, 24-hour security services, and many more. Despite of the increasing rates of Myanmar serviced offices, small business owners and large companies still choose to rent an office space in the country.

Indeed, the increasing number of serviced offices in the country has resulted in a competitive real estate industry in both commercial and residential sectors. If you are looking for an office for rent in Myanmar, you can select a specific address, location, a set of facilities and amenities, and a monthly rate. You might be surprised to find expensive office spaces, however, there are office space service providers who offer an office for rent at an affordable price. If you want, you can go online and search for a Myanmar office space which suits your needs. Regardless of the size of your company, renting an office space in this particular country can help your business reach its maximum potential.

History of Bohemian and Waterford Crystal

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Since its inception centuries ago, crystal giftware has been the epitome in gift giving and showing appreciation to a friend or loved one. The combination of a beautiful crystal set along with a bottle of wine or champagne is a practical and easy gift solution that has withstood the test of time. The brilliance in simplicity has allowed crystal gifts to stand the test of time and remain as popular as ever. Bohemian Crystal and Waterford Crystal have become synonymous with crystal giftware and have established themselves as the two leaders of this time honoured tradition.
The production Crystal
Bohemian Crystal

The production of Bohemian Crystal began as a result of the abundance of natural resources found in the countryside in Czechoslovakia (formerly known as Bohemia). Bohemian glass cutters discovered potash combined with chalk created a clear colourless glass that was more stable than glass from Italy. It was at that time when the term Bohemian crystal emerged for the first time in history to distinguish its qualities from the glass coming from other places. This unique Czech glass could be cut with a wheel.

Bohemia became the breeding ground of expert craftsmen who artfully worked with crystal. Bohemian crystal became famous for its excellent cut and engraving. They became skilled teachers of glass-making in neighbouring and distant countries. By the middle of the 19th century, a technical glass-making school system was created that encouraged traditional and innovative techniques as well as technical preparation.

In the second half of the 19th century, Bohemia looked to the export trade and mass-produced coloured glass for shipment all over the world. Pairs of vases were produced either in a single colour of opaque glass or in two-colour cased glass. These were decorated in thickly enamelled flower subjects that were painted with great speed. Others were decorated with coloured lithographic prints copying famous paintings. These glass objects were made in huge quantities in large factories and were available by mail order throughout Europe and America. They were not considered fine art but provided inexpensive decorative objects to brighten up ordinary homes reverse glass painting was also a specialty of the Czechs. The image is carefully painted by hand on the back of a pane of glass, using a variety of techniques and materials, after which the painting is mounted in a bevelled wooden frame. Glass artisanship remained at a high level even under the Communists because it was not considered as ideological threat to communism.

This continued standard of excellence has allowed the products to maintain is reputation as a premium in gift ideas for centuries. With the unique characteristics of Bohemian glassware along with generations of experience in glass cutting, each piece has a reputation for creating a lasting impression. The true value of a present is how highly regarded the recipient holds their gift after time. There is no greater example of that then when not in use, Bohemian Crystal almost always finds its way to the centerpiece of any display cabinet and creates a lasting impression.

Czechoslovakia produced many fine glass cutting experts. Few would be as influential to this craft as Charles Bacik. Charles would grow up in the midst of this tradition and learn the secrets to fantastic glass cutting and crystal ware to open numerous factories specializing in this field. However, as his factories were being taken over by the Communists following WW2, he immigrated to Ireland. In 1947, in partnership with a Dublin gift-shop owner, Bernard Fitzpatrick, he started Waterford Glass. In 1950, the company was in financial difficulties and he ceded ownership to the Irish Glass Bottle Company. He continued to work for the company as a manager until 1974 and as a board member until 1984. Under his leadership and direction, Waterford crystal would become one of the undisputed leaders in crystal gift making.

Waterford Crystal designs, manufactures and markets an extensive range of crystal stemware, barware and giftware for distribution throughout the world. In recent years, Waterford has built upon its reputation as a leading source of prestigious tabletop and gift products by expanding into several new businesses. Significant expansions into tabletop and gifts have occurred with the launch of the Marquis by Waterford. This initiative reflects the company's commitment to creating prestigious products whose classic designs transcend time.

Waterford Crystal today has very strong links with its illustrious predecessor. There is the same dedication to the purity of color, to the same design inspiration and to the same pursuit of highest quality levels possible. The traditional cutting patterns made famous by the artisans of Waterford became the design basis for the growing product range of the new company.

Waterford Crystal, today, is one of the leaders of premium crystal and create superb handcrafted crystal stemware, giftware and lighting and are designed and manufactured to the highest standards. People who are lucky enough to have experienced Waterford Crystal simply regard it as the best for self and gift purchase.

The question of deciding between Bohemia or Waterford crystal is irrelevant. Both companies have built a reputation based on products that are the results of centuries of craftsmanship and adaptation to new technology and methods to ensure the customer is receiving the very best glassware available, and the consumer simply can't go wrong when picking either.

The Dangerous Illusion of Danger

Monday, 13 January 2014

We are raising a generation of children afraid of the mall.

Last week I found myself in an odd dilemma, the kind faced chronically by busy working parents of multiple children. I had a drama rehearsal after work until almost 6 p.m., needed to meet some coworkers for an after-work meal to show support for an ailing friend, and had to get my daughter to her year-end soccer banquet at 7 p.m. She was expected to bring a “white elephant” gift that she had not yet purchased to this banquet. (My wife was left to manage the other two kids’ schedules.)

To kill so many birds with so few stones, I needed to drop my daughter off at the mall across from the restaurant where I was meeting my coworkers.

“You’re gonna drop me off? You’re gonna leave me at the mall... by myself?!?” she asked with near-panic in her eyes. Yes honey. You’ll be fine.

“But… it’s dangerous! Something bad could happen!” she said. “Why can’t you go in with me?” Because I’ll only have a short while to visit with everyone, sweetie. If I’m in here 15 minutes with you, I might as well not even stop by over there.

“But… I could be kidnapped!” Much laughter from an insensitive father.

I spent a significant portion of my childhood alone in a mall. I walked or rode my bike (one mall was more than 15 miles away) almost every weekend and sometimes during the week. Never once did I find myself in any kind of trouble. When I was six, my mother would hand me two dollars and send me to the arcade -- they had these places in the mall where it was just a collection of video games, and the games only cost a quarter -- and tell me to meet her back at a certain spot at a certain time. No cell phones, just a wristwatch and a set time.

A few times, I had to ask someone at the information booth to page my mom. I remember one time being very scared because she was late… but I never got abducted to the best of my knowledge.

Stories from my past were not a comfort to my daughter. I shrugged, I gave her some money and told her it would be a therapeutic and healthy experience to learn that the mall was not a monster that devours solitary children, nor were kidnappers lurking around every store corner.

When we arrived at the soccer banquet, I relayed this conversation and experience to the other parents. They were horrified at I would drop my child off -- ("strand her!") -- at the mall for an hour. I honestly thought some of them might call DFACS on me. “Different times!” ... “More dangerous now!” ...
"What if something awful happened???"

If you get annoyed when people use facts to counter irrational fears, then stop reading.

An estimated 100-130 kids are kidnapped by strangers every year. Less than 7 percent of those are abducted in stores or malls. That’s nine mall(ish) kidnappings a year. In the whole country. Nine kids taken from roughly 48,000 shopping and strip malls every 365 days.

Your child is many times more likely to be stolen from her own bedroom. (By someone you already know.) Kids die from pool drains at three times the rate they are kidnapped. And don’t get me started on handing a 16-year-old keys to the car. Our normal lives are much more dangerous than we want to believe, so we focus our fears into places we pretend we can control. The mall. The ocean. The amusement park.

We allow our fears to be dictated completely by peer pressure.

When exactly did every minute of a child’s life become a ripe opportunity for the scene from “Pet Semetary” or “Silence of the Lambs”? When did we begin defining good parenting by how many utterly irrational fears we can instill in our children, “for their own good” or “for their safety”?

I have a dark theory. I believe we teach our children to fear other people to make ourselves more important. I believe we want to believe we are surrounded by dangerous people to feel better about the kind and decent people we are.

"Trust is bad, my child. You can't trust people. Just trust me on this."

We wonder why so many modern parents hover. It’s because we’ve as a culture convinced ourselves that, beyond our eyes or earshot, our children must be regularly knocking on death’s door. All that talk about the value of grit, resilience, overcoming failure, learning self-reliance... none of that is worth a dead child!!

If you are a parent fighting these fears, worried that you can control the fate of your child by merely stopping them from swimming in oceans or shopping in malls, make an appointment with a therapist and, in the meantime, read this article about growing up unsupervised. Then watch this great TED video about “Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kid Do.”

And remember what William Wallace (and Walt Whitman) said: "Every man dies, but not every man truly lives!" What kind of life are we going to allow our children to live?

Epiphany #5

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I have bad news for all of us.  Our dreams and nightmares are not interesting to other people.  It hurts to discover that, I know, but I know that it is true because other people's dreams and nightmares are not interesting to me.  So I'm saying what others won't, even as they commit to the tedium of hearing your rebelling of your sleep's highlight.

Sad, isn't it?  Because what is more meaningful to us than our dreams, especially soon after we dredge ourselves awake, still half-drunk on those dreams?  But they were so real, we say.  But only to us.

Told to someone on the outside, who cannot generate the palpable emotions of having lived the dream in one's unconsciousness, dreams are tedious and improbable.

How does that differ from any other fiction, you ask?  Well, imagine this.  In dreams that we are told by others, we know the characters involved, and we know that those people can't possibly do what the dream says that they did.  In fiction, we are in the writer's world, and when he or she holds the reins, we are far less skeptical about where the story goes.

But what about prophetic dreams, you ask?  Prophetic dreams, like all dreams, have lost their urgency, once Carl Jung and other dream-masters who put so much stock in dreams were replaced by the current understanding of dreams as common sense physiological reactions to the brain's attempts to process the stimuli of the day's events and information.

Though I would add to that, when is the last time that someone told you a prophetic dream ahead of time?  I don't mean to suggest by that that I don't trust prophecy after the fact.  But anytime some tells me that he or she had a dream about something that then happened, it is always after the event. I wonder if a more general dream becomes more specific in the rebelling when it is connected to an actual event that took place.

There are two exceptions to my "disinterest in other's dreams" theory.  The first is if your dream is funny/outrageous/sexual.  I mean, sure, if it makes for a good anecdote over a beer or if it is just so crazy that it needs to be told, then, sure, I'm all in, unless you start trying to make it mean something.

The second, of course, is if I am in your dream, then I very much want to hear about it.  I always want to know what I am doing, wherever I might be, and I doubt that you are much different.  That I have surfaced in your underground thoughts only makes me richer, and as long as there is the slightest chance that I will come up in your dream again, then I will hear the whole damn thing.

The only dream that ever meant much to me was, I think, one that the comedian Henny Youngman had.  He said, "I keep having this same dream.  It's about hot dogs chasing doughnuts in the Lincoln Tunnel."  Now, that's my kind of dream!


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