Customer project 65 - Illuminated glass block wall feature in bathroom

This project, by Edinburgh-based architect David Douglas, was conceived, specified and executed in not much more than a week, and we're very impressed by its simplicity and effectiveness.

David was a self-confessed fibre optic novice when he first approached us but he'd realised that fibre optics offer an excellent way of introducing light into sealed, inaccessible spaces. He wanted an inexpensive way of illuminating a void in a bathroom wall, and after some discussion we decided that our sparkle fibre - "cracked" sideglow fibre normally used in sensory kits and chandeliers - would offer a suitable effect.

David had already realised that lining the recess with a mirror material would enhance the illumination, and we judged that a 100 watt halogen light source would provide sufficient light.

So, we made up the sparkle fibre harness to 3 metres to allow the light source to sit in the loft above the bathroom. There were 72 strands of the sparkle fibre in the harness.

A tangle of optical fibres will distribute light evenly behind a wall of glass blocks
The 72 strands of sparkle fibre are woven into a spaghetti of a jumble to produce an even light across the whole of the void. The flare on the right hand side reveals the presence of the mirror behind the fibres.

"The result is stunning /delightful! with the changing colours-mixing thru the already coloured blocks," says David.

"I spent a while lacing the fibres in a random spread using 2 discrete holed fixing strips & then interweaved spaghetti-fashion the fibres individually," he explained.

"A regimental arrangement shining thru the blocks would not have worked so well, and the backing mirror helps greatly," he noted.

Even before the glass blocks are fitted the illuminated fibres produce an intriguing effect.
A mixture of two types of glass blocks - clear and opaque - in two different shades produces this charming effect.
In the top photo the blocks have yet to be installed. The glowing "tail" can be seen heading up to the light source in the loft above. In the bottom photo you can see the dramatic finished result. The blocks - clear and opaque - both have a bluish tint, but David left the colour wheel installed in the light source and the different colours interact interestingly with the coloured glass. Click on the two images above to see different shades.

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