That "fishbowl" conference room problem
Rarely does a week go by that we aren’t asked about view control for a conference room with one or more glass walls. During the design process a glass wall can seem modern and a good idea however, in practice conference rooms are at times a place to project or display sensitive information or great ideas that your company is not ready to share. Usually such conference rooms are located in view of the main reception desk or adjoining a hallway. During a meeting, when there is movement on the other side of the glass, every eye will catch the movement in their peripheral vision and cause the head attached to it to turn. It’s not that your presentation isn’t riveting or that the information isn’t important, it’s just a natural reaction due to human curiosity. One can imagine the effect over time on the efficiency of your organization’s meetings. A good retrofit solution to this is to install a translucent but not transparent window film which offers privacy and a sense of separation between the spaces. These are available in varying opacities, styles and designs. They can be custom cut or printed to any design, drawing, photo, color or image you can conceive, even helping with your organization’s branding and corporate identity. Such an installation can not only give the privacy that you want but help to keep conferees attention on what’s happening inside the room. The film can allow a great deal of light to pass through the glass transmitting that wonderful natural daylight, however they can also diffuse the light and eliminate details from being transmitted. Most such glass conference room walls will be floor-to-ceiling or nearly so. The simplest and most cost effective of this type of installation we perform on this type of glass is a horizontal band of high visible light transmission frosted film, installed so that there is clear glass both above and below the frosted area. This lets in even more light than a floor to ceiling film installation, yet still allows people outside to see that the room is in use. Office safety personnel would then be able to see enough from outside to make sure everyone is safe on the other side of the glass. In this way it’s not a complete separation as with a solid wall between the spaces. Clear borders of an inch or two at the sides of glass are an option to reduce the visual separation between spaces. An individual outside the room would have to stand with their nose to the glass to be able to follow details inside the room, making themselves very obvious. Such frosted films usually mimic sandblasted glass but have advantages that sandblasted or chemically etched glass lack. Etched or sandblasted glass can retain oils from hands or other sources give them a mottled appearance which can be difficult to clean. Also, should the requirements for the space in question change, professionals can easily remove the film to restore the glass to clear again, rather than replacing sandblasted or etched glass. Another idea for that conference room glass is to turn it into a large whiteboard. A film can be installed that makes it suitable for dry erase markers, giving you more real estate in which to ideate that next big breakthrough. With your goals and ideas for your conference room in mind, a film professional can be a partner to help you leverage that space.