by Peter J. Davey
Frank Lloyd Wright expanded upon Louis Sullivan’s notion of “form ‘follows’ function” with his statement that “form ‘and’ function should be one.”
Most of us are aware of the many functions of window films. Solar control and security films insulate windows and improve a building’s energy efficiency, reduce nuisance glare on monitors and television screens, provide UV protection against fading, and fortify windows for added safety and security.
While these films predominantly address function, a wide variety of architectural and designer films are available that speak to form. Currently trending and increasing in demand, these films are manufactured to enhance interior space as well as the exterior aesthetics of commercial and residential buildings.
Architectural and designer films offer an economical way to reinvent interior environments. From subtle to dynamic, a plethora of options are available to improve the ambience of interiors, to creatively display company logos and signage, or to update an aging decor.
Options are available to enhance the aesthetics and privacy of conference rooms, waiting rooms, lobbies, verandas, partitions, entrances, railings, shower doors, and lavatory windows. Any expanse of glass is a potential palette for an installation of architectural or designer films. Additionally, you can tailor the amount of privacy you desire without sacrificing light you require.
Designer film options vary and include textured, patterned, opaque, or translucent films. Lines, dots, patterns, rice paper, gradients, frosted, matte, or metallic — pretty much anything you can imagine is available in an architectural or designer film. Consider an etched glass look or the ability to die-cut a custom design for a unique statement — without the permanence or expense of actual etched or cut glass.
In addition to designer films for interior aesthetics, there are high-performance architectural films available for perimeter windows as well. We have all driven past tall buildings with unsightly windows displaying haphazard drapes, blinds, and clutter. Comparatively, we have driven by others that present a mirrored or reflective appearance that complements these buildings’ design. Architectural window films have been installed on the windows of these buildings.
Bronze, amber, silver, and other options are available to provide an attractive uniform look while significantly improving the building’s overall aesthetics and property value. Installed by professionals, these commercial films also help reject heat, reduce glare, and block damaging UV rays that fade fabrics, floors, and works of art while helping to increase their life and vibrancy.
In addition, they improve the safety and security of a building and its occupants. Knowledgeable window film representatives should provide specifications relative to a film’s performance and strength. You will want assurances that the specific film has been vigorously tested in the field and that it meets industry standards for impact- and tear-resistance.
Choose a manufacturer and dealer that have experience and longevity in the field. An authorized and commercially certified dealer will help ensure a quality installation and the support of a robust warranty on the product. Rely on a manufacturer and installer that have expertise in adhesives to help provide a proper, accurate, and durable application to a variety of glass substrates.
As with any investment, a bit of research will serve you well so that you can bring your creative ideas to life with confidence. With the help of professionals, you can sit back and enjoy both the form and function of an installation of architectural or designer window film.
Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc., a 3M Authorized and Certified Prestige Window Film Dealer, located in Foxboro and Boston.