Glass Industry

Glassdomain Making Its Mark

A West Midland glass manufacturer and furniture designer is breaking into the interior design market with the launch of a pioneering new technology for printing on to glass.

Bromsgrove-based Glassdomain has developed ICON-glass, an advanced form of ink-jet printing which allows a digital image or pattern to be transferred to glass.

Glassdomain - which plans to officially launch the innovation at next month's London Design Week - has already received over 300 enquiries about ICON-glass after showing prototypes at an exhibition in March.

Designer Peter Wardleworth said: "The whole process took about 18 months to perfect, working with a number of partners including CERAM Research in Stoke-on-Trent.

"We've now developed a standard range of photographs and images, but we are able to offer bespoke designs."

Glassdomain was established around two years ago as the design arm of established firm Bromsgrove Glass and Windows. It is run by managing director Graham Southall, who runs Bromsgrove with business partner Nigel Bunyan. Together the two businesses employ 65 members of staff.

Mr Southall originally discovered the technology for ICON-glass and then charged Mr Wardleworth to use it to create products that would appeal to the design market.

Mr Wardleworth said: "We've been printing images of wood onto the glass and it produces a similar effect to the high-gloss trims that you find on the dashboard of old Jaguar cars.

"It's a very impressive finish on a material that is recyclable. It could also stop trees from being cut down - so there is a green element to it too."

As well as promoting the product to architectural and design firms, the company is hoping to win an award for their innovation after being shortlisted for the BDI, Industry & Genius Awards. The BDI Awards seek to find the most inspirational examples of environmental, building and product design, as well as collaborations with industry in the West Midlands.

Mr Wardleworth said: "Having been shortlisted for the BDI Awards in 2005, we are very excited about our chances this year.

"Being a shortlisted entry last time round was a great boost to our business, and a real inspiration, especially after witnessing the high standard of work our peers produce locally.

"ICON-glass is a real breakthrough for the interiors market, and we expect it will shape the future of our business - we are really excited to find out what the judges think."

Established in 1989, this is the tenth time the BDI, Industry & Genius Awards will be held, with the November awards ceremony taking place at Millennium Point, hosted by Tony Robinson.

The BDI Awards are sponsored by Birmingham City Council through its EQUAL: The Last Mile programme. Other sponsors include The Royal Bank of Scotland, Rider Levett Bucknall and AWM's NetInfinity initiative.

The awards have six "Product & Genius" categories; jewellery/silversmithing, ceramics & glass, luxury products, interior products, industrial design and digital design. The six "Places & Genius" categories are architecture, landscape, conservation, urban design, green design and interior design.

Source: The Birmingham Post