WHAT IS DALLE DE VERRE?Dalle de Verre literally translated means Pave Glass. We know it better as slabs of glass, but Slab Glass also refers to glass blown into a box and then the sides cut apart, so Dalle de Verre is often referred to as Concrete Windows. Concrete windows, how do you see through those? Well, concrete is the original method of constructing Dalle de Verre windows, where chunks of glass an inch (25mm) thick were set into a concrete matrix. Thus Dalle de Verre windows were born.
Windows were constructed from pieces of coloured or clear glass hewn or cut from slabs of glass that are 1” x 8” x 12” in size. The slabs were cut into appropriate sizes and shapes for the windows either with a band saw, or with a traditional glass cutter then broken over a special anvil. The sides and one face may then have been facetted with special hammers.
Once the glass is cut it is then laid out on a sheet of acetate. Then the glass pieces are bordered with wood battens to the size of the required panel. Then we add either copper (or steel) reinforced concrete or resin which is poured in between the dalles to fix the glass together. This produces some fabulous windows with stunning lighting effects that are as much about the negative areas of the resin/concrete matrix as they are about the sparkling glass pieces themselves. As way of examples of this, above in the banner are some closeup shots of Dalle de Verre windows in the Sacred Heart church, Ilkley, Yorkshire.
DALLE DE VERRE - WHERE CAN IT BE SEEN?Well, so far David has located over one hundred places, mostly churches, around the country where you can see Dalle de Verre. He is setting out to visit these places, photograph the windows and, get as much information about each of them as possible to compile a book on the subject. We have been asked to quote on repairs to windows in two churches in the south of England.
WHO MAKES IT?In France the Atelier Loire (set up by the famous Frenchman Gabriel Loire) are still making Dalle de Verre windows, check out their website. Or have a look at this, one of Gabriel’s masterpieces, or this. Also try Victor-Loup Denaiu for some stunning creations.
As well as these studios, I am documenting what has been made and installed i the UK. Before long we shall be making Dalle de Verre again in the UK. As we start making panels they will be shown here. If you are interested in Dalle de Verre, do get in touch and we can talk about it’s viability for your project.