A Glass Act?



REHAU’s innovative Crystal Polymeric Glass surface material is making waves in interior design circles as a stylish, durable and practical replacement for glass in both residential and commercial developments. This NBS BIM compliant product is being sold through a creative partnership with Inspired Surfaces, a company dedicated to supplying architects, specifiers and designers with specification-led interior products.

We spoke to Inspired Surfaces’ commercial director Simon Branston to find out more:

What is Crystal Polymeric Glass?

Crystal Polymeric Glass is an exciting surface solution which offers architects and specifiers a glass substitute for any interior design space. This ‘smart glass’ is available as a composite with matching edgeband for a seamless zero-joint finish for use in kitchen, bathroom and bedroom interiors, with typical applications including façade panelling for carcass furniture and interior wall panel cladding. It is also available in a slim direct surface solution, which is great for splash backs and shower wall enclosures as well as feature walls. 


What are the advantages of using Crystal Polymeric Glass compared to conventional glass?

While the look of the two materials is almost identical, polymeric glass has many unique properties that glass doesn’t. For example, Crystal Polymeric Glass can be fabricated onsite using conventional woodworking tools, it is 50 per cent lighter than glass and 10 times more break resistant, so handling and durability is improved. The product also has cost benefits as it is a third more economical than glass.

Crystal Polymeric Glass is now included in the National BIM library isn’t it?

Yes, that’s right. We are working to BIM Level 2 and have created BIM files (Revit and IFC) for the Crystal Polymeric Glass surface material to ensure that architects and designers can include this product in their BIM process, right from the outset of a project. We are also compliant to the industry Nation Building Specification (NBS) with BIM. We are working with RIBA Continuing Professional Development for the Crystal Polymeric Glass product line.

BIM isn’t yet a requirement for interior products – why did you feel it was important to ensure Crystal Polymeric Glass was BIM-ready?

I think BIM helps to deliver a more complete visual representation of a building, and is a useful platform to showcase both interior and exterior designs, so it was important for us that Crystal Polymeric Glass could be included in these visualisations right from the word go.  As well as ensuring any potential issues are picked up early doors, we have found that BIM allows us to pass on valuable information to the construction team on a project to help them better understand the material’s properties, its installation and handling requirements and also how it should be maintained.


Tell us a little bit more about your creative partnership with REHAU

I first came across REHAU at a trade exhibition in Germany in 2015. They had a fantastic stand which was attracting a lot of visitors and it had a real buzz about it. I saw the Crystal Polymeric Glass on the stand and knew it was something that the architects, designers and specifiers we work with at Inspired Surfaces would want to see. Working in collaboration with REHAU we now have a creative partnership whereby we promote and educate our clients on Crystal Polymeric Glass solutions, and ensure the product is used in the best way to maximise its unique qualities and benefits.

How do you support the clients you work with?

We are a solutions-based business and value the relationships we have with our architect, specifier and design clients.  As such, we have a dedicated in-house team for our clients providing technical knowledge, mock ups, fabrication guidance and tips on how to get the most out of the products we offer. If a client is interested in a Crystal Polymeric Glass solution, we ensure it’s the right material for what they are trying to achieve and advise on the best way to incorporate it into their designs for exceptional results.

For more information, visit www.inspiredsurfaces.com

Crystal Polymeric Glass is also listed on the RIBA  product selector, NBS Plus, NBS National BIM Library and the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA).