The Designer’s Canvas: Glass

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For centuries, architects and designers have celebrated glass as a portal for natural light to flow into buildings. Now, thanks to a significant advancement in digital technology, glass can serve as the “canvas” for almost any type of art imaginable.

An innovative, digital, direct-to-glass printing technology known as Alice® allows custom, multi-colored artwork or images to be permanently printed on glass quickly and cost-effectively.

Why the name Alice®? Well, NYC’s own GGI — the first glass fabricators to make this technology commercially available — named its direct-to-glass digital printer Alice after the novel “Alice in Wonderland.” They want their clients to use glass as a way to explore the outer limits of imagination.

GGI, Harlem
Harlem Hospital Center

New Yorkers already can see Alice ® at work in the Harlem Hospital Center, which features an award-winning mural glass facade. There, 429 individually printed panes of glass make up a historic mural depicting the migration of African-Americans to the United States, from slavery through the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harlem Hospital facade is viewable from its corridor, which adds an entirely different dimension to this artistry – lighting. Hospital visitors looking out onto the street scene will see Alice’s handiwork. It’s stunning, day or night.

The grand work of Alice® also can be seen at the Juilliard School in New York, New York University Law School, and the Brant Arena in Ontario.

GGI, Brant
Brant Arena, Ontario

But beyond the monumental work Alice® can do, the technology also can work with smaller objects like table tops, public art in lobbies and foyers, or signage and donor boards. Text, logos, lines, dots, custom designs, illustrations, photos and any other type of image can be printed on glass for either interior or exterior designs.

Extremely detailed work is a breeze, too. Alice® prints in thousands of colors, an infinite number of opacities on virtually any type of glass, and at resolutions greater than those needed to print high-end fashion magazines.

Kaleidoscope, Green/Teal Collection

From a design standpoint, this technology means there is almost no limit to the selection of images, colors, patterns and simulated textures a designer can use. The bonus is that Alice® can do all of this at an extremely reasonable price point. By digitally inkjet printing the images onto the glass, the system eliminates the need for a different screen for each color used in the image, as is required with silk-screening. The printed images can be produced in sizes from 12” x 12” to 110” x 169.”

Alice ® has quickly become one of the company’s most requested technologies, as designers understand how the technology brings glass to life, and inspiration to design.

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