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Role of Glass in Automotive Design Synthesis: Functional and Aesthetic Aspects

2001 / G.D.Liamadis


Due to the continuous technical progress of glass as a material, designers are now able to make increasing use of transparent areas in automobiles. Glass plays a key role in the synthesis of automotive forms, determining the relation between full and empty space, or the contrast of light and dark areas. Due to its sleek, highly reflective surface, glass further emphasizes the form of the car, through the reflections of light and the surroundings on panels. Extended glass surfaces are perceived as a styling element related to advanced automotive technology. Size of windows, not only indicate the typology and character of the vehicle in terms of styling, but also determine driver and passenger’s perception of internal space, speed and safety. While use of small glass surfaces creates close, protective interiors and robust exteriors and make cars look and feel more safe, quite the opposite may be thought of as a safety feature. Indeed, by incorporating extended glass surfaces, we enhance driver’s visibility, thus achieving an increased perception of speed and therefore we reduce subjective safety feeling, making drivers more responsible in terms of their own risks. In addition, increased eye-contact with pedestrians and other motorists, tend to make drivers more socialy aware and sensitive regarding the consequences of their actions. Car interior is neither an exclusively private nor a public space. Different degrees of privatization of car interior space can be achieved due to variable opacity (electrochrome) glass. Furthermore, glass is starting to perform many more functions: defrosting windscreens with incorporated radio aerial, heat-reflectant glass and coming soon anti-intrusion and water-repellent glass. Taken into account that it can also now be moulded in increasingly complex forms, glass is expected to allow designers a even more freedom in synthesis of automotive forms, thus enforcing its role in car design and styling. 

International World of Glass, vol. 2, September 2001, pp.202

  Role of Glass in Automotive Design Synthesis: Functional and Aesthetic Aspects