When it comes to room dividers, interior screens and even patio doors, the Crittall door trend seems, at least this time around, to have lasting appeal. Yet when something becomes a design classic, it’s a two-sided piece. On the one hand, choosing Critall doors becomes a shortcut to a certain beloved aesthetic for your home – on the other, when you see them everywhere, they start to lose their charm…
However, where this familiarity for an interior design trend like Crittall doors begins to breed contempt, you enter a space where interior designers and architects begin to look for alternatives to reintroduce magic into their plan. Right now, I feel this magic of a modern interpretation of stained glass.
Stained glass isn’t the rarest material to find in a home, after all it’s probably as synonymous with Victorian era front doors as it is with church windows, but how designers approach this traditional craftsmanship focuses on modern color combinations and shapes.
The idea of a stained glass screen or room divider may conjure up images of a wild, maximalist home, but with this fresh take on the idea, designers are using these colorful elements as focal points for neutral spaces to create a balance that makes them bold. stained glass ideas seem less overwhelming.
From ultra-modern spaces to homes with rustic charm, here’s how stained glass is being embraced in new ways in interior design.
Luke is an interiors writer and stylist who loves modern and minimal design. While colored stained glass is outside of its usual mandate for minimalist and neutral interiors, here it investigates how this material is being used in modern ways by interior designers.
Resolutely modern Milanese
Madrid designer Patricia Bustos (opens in a new tab) is known for its quirky designs, but the idea for this stained glass room divider came from the owners of this apartment in the Spanish capital. “They work in fashion and they are people with a lot of artistic sensibility and they like to take risks”, explains Patricia. “They loved the mystical and spiritual point it brings.”
Yet, although the brief called for a stained glass window in the cathedral, the couple wanted something modern. “Something new, not a replica, something inspired but different,” says Patricia. Patricia created several versions before landing on this sliding door, inspired by modern Milanese design.
So how does a cathedral window translate into modern design? Traditional religious iconography gave way to Mondrian forms, while color was also at the heart of the material’s contemporaneity. “In terms of colors, they wanted something inspired by [iconic fashion brand] Hermès, explains Patricia. While the rest of the apartment may seem clean, minimal, and neutral by comparison, the stained glass window doesn’t look like a random intervention. “The chromatic scales are the same as those with which we have played in the rest of the house, explains Patricia. “He’s the backbone of the house, but he fits in incredibly well.”
At a glance, this five-story, five-bedroom home on the Balearic Islands may seem like the epitome of a renovated rustic farmhouse, but architects Quintana Partners (opens in a new tab) had an unusual point of inspiration that shows in the furnishings throughout, and even in the stained glass windows that punctuate the kitchen, dining room, and courtyard.
“The building was in a dilapidated state because it had been abandoned for 20 years,” explain architects Benito Escat and Pol Castells. “We had to redo all the ceilings and carry out a deep cleaning in order to find the original floors.” The owners have German-Egyptian origins, so alongside their collection of African art, the space references the German Bauhaus movement through more utilitarian furnishings.
However, the stained glass dividers also refer to the Bauhaus not only through the geometric shapes, but also through this atypical Bauhaus color palette.
Is stained glass really practical?
So can we see stained glass really take off as an alternative to the Crittall door? In reality, it has its limits. At the moment, it’s something that’s bespoke and specialized. For the room divider in the Madrid apartment, Patricia Bustos notes that the Toledo stained glass makers she used had never done anything like this.
Weight is also something to consider. Given the heavy nature of the sliding panels, Patricia’s stained glass doors had to be motorized to ensure they were comfortable to open and close. Stained glass also requires more delicate care and maintenance, while it should be considered that repairing any damage will again require specialist intervention.
However, as a broader trend, colored glass, rather than stained glass in itself, could be seen as a modern way to embrace the trend. From sliding doors to shower enclosures, manufacturers are beginning to offer a niche line of colored glass products for those looking to make a bigger impact on their home’s design. The Sherazade Patchwork screens pictured above, created by designers Piero Lissoni and Suzanne Tick for Glas Italia (opens in a new tab)offer a more practical and modern take on stained glass for those who want to embrace color wherever they can.