The cabinet shop I work in has been contracted to produce a lot of
weird booths, bars and stuff for a new restaurant. One of the things
that the designer has requested in the bar design is glass blocks with
fiber optics embedded in the epoxy.
Any suggestions? This lady doesn't really care if it is feasible or
not, she just wants it to look the way she is thinking of if.
If it were me, first thing I'd do is call up the shop and make an
appointment. Maybe get my hands on some mock-ups and prototypes.
Maybe there's a different way to get the same end result and without
some physical trying it out, you'll never know. So, make her come down
and actually see what it is that she's requesting.
IMHO that's a tired, out-dated, overdone, idea. A much better idea is to do
a "bubble wall". 2 sheets of acrylic (~3" apart) curved to follow the bar
shape (block curves never look good nor do the mortar joints! Acrylic can
be curved and invisibly seamed - and has great transparency if desired!).
Between the acrylic is water with bubblers installed at the bottom. The
bubbles add a very nice movement to the wall and they pickup and reflect the
light very well. By controlling the air flow and cycling the light color
different moods can be achieved and the look is never stagnant.
Another option I've looked at (but ultimately didn't spec) was to put
"beads" in the water and then instead of "bubblers" mini jets are used to
circulate the beads. The jets blow the beads up and sideways, then as they
float down they're blown back to the first jet and they just continually
circulate. This is a very nice, slow peaceful look but since the beads move
in a circle (really more of an oval) they're best used in a panel where
bubbles (which float slightly "zig-zag" up) can be used where an unlimited
panel size/shape is desired. Also, the circular bead motion can be slightly
hypnotic, though in the bar kneespace this would be ok, I wouldn't recommend
it for a back-bar. Go with the bubble wall (mirror the back of it increase
the "depth") on the back-bar, glass shelves with bottles in front of it, and
you've got a very nice look. If desired, you could even cut cost by not
doing the bubble wall in the kneespace (if the bar will be primarily
obscured by patrons) and just go with lit acrylic to simulate/match the
bubble wall back-bar. Depending upon the overall design of the space, you
can even wrap posts with bubble wall and have the bubbles go floor to
(Also note, because the water does not have to support aquatic life,
maintenance is very minimal)
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