Backlit marble and gluing on glass
Backlit stone materials
We can briefly define backlighting as the application of a source of light to the rear of a stone material, which taking advantage of the translucency qualities of some materials (onyxes in particular) creates scenic effects that enrich and increase the value of the setting where this solution is applied, offering to the designers a further expressive instrument for the employment of natural stones.
FIG.1: Some of our realisations.
But this oversimplified description should not be misleading: as a matter of fact, to obtain excellent results it is necessary to have a great experience in the field, together with a deep knowledge of the lighting systems’ technical characteristics and of the stone materials which are going to be backlit. There are some technical/aesthetic features yet that could mortify the effect we want to achieve, causing poor results in comparison with the prestigious and exigent settings in which these solutions are normally employed; we can summarise them in the following points:
- Little translucent selected materials
- Scarce rear space for lighting lodging
- Lighting homogeneity
- Slabs’ size
- Slabs’ anchorage systems leaving marks
If we want to obtain a correct backlighting effect and avoid the above-listed problems, there is not a unique project solution, even if we consider the economic factor, since each realisation has got its peculiarities; in some cases, mainly employing onyx, a simple neon light, combined with a light diffusing Plexiglas, is sufficient to achieve the desired effect.
But there are also projects in which it is necessary to opt for more elaborate solutions, particularly in the presence of big vertical walls. In this case the optimal solution would be that pictured in FIG.1, that is to say the gluing of the stone material onto glass slabs (a technique about which we are going to write in the next section) and the integration of special LED panels, shaped expressly to have the same size of the slabs, by means of bonding.
This solution represents nowadays the point of arrival for backlighting applications and it allows to solve all the above-listed problems:
- We can make almost every kind of material translucent, by means of an effective thickness reduction
- Panels can be very thin, up to 20/25 mm thick
- The LED adheres completely to the surface and guarantees an optimal lighting quality
- Using glass as a support (it can also be tempered glass), large-sized slabs can be realised, reducing breaking risks
- Anchorage systems will be directly connected with the LED panels: they will not be visible and leave any sort of marks.
Our Company places at the customers’ disposal the expertise we have developed in these applications, searching for the most suitable technical solutions, taking into account all the project’s peculiarities (including the economic ones) and guaranteeing always high quality results.
FIG.2: Compound panel with Bianco Carrara marble glued on glass and integrated LED system (working on the right).
Marble’s gluing on glass
As previously mentioned, stone material’s gluing on glass slabs can be a rather effective method to solve the problems which emerge from the necessity of realising backlit elements, thanks to the stone material’s thickness reduction which increases marble’s translucency and to the possibility of realising bigger and more resistant panels, with a supporting structure composed by glass slabs.
Backlighting is not the only employment of marble’s gluing on glass, it is a most suitable solution also in the following fields of application:
- Partition walls
- Interior design items
FIG.3: Example of a marble panel (5 mm) glued on glass (12 mm).
During the realisation of panels made up by marble glued on glass, some elements should be taken into account which are determinant to obtain a product responding to the requirements: obviously it will be necessary to know the characteristics of the marble’s type we want to employ, particularly its translucency degree, for it will determine its thickness (in case of very dense materials, up to a minimum of 3 mm). Whereas employing onyx, a greater thickness should be considered, because its excessive reduction can determine, especially in the case of backlighting, a flattening of the visual effect which will deprive the material of its depth.
Another main point is the glass typology, which will be determined by the final employment of the panels and their dimensions. Big panels require obviously thicker glass slabs, which can also be glued; moreover, if the panels are destined to public areas or we want to provide a guarantee of greater safety, the employ of tempered glass is highly recommended, a more resistant material with no shattering in case of strong impact.
A further information we should add, considering the many variables, is the thickness range regarding this panel typology, which goes from a minimum of 8/10 mm (5 mm glass + 3/5 mm marble) to a suggested maximum of 25 mm.
FIG.4: Disks made with Orange Onyx on glass, with a cm 250 diameter look at the project
FIG.5: Mock-up of a partition wall made up of book match Onice Grey Pearl, glued on glass.