Lighting: Flat Glass Panels


The glass is the light.

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Don’t let the gorgeous design distract you – the light emitting glass known as Planilum created by French design firm Saazs and Saint-Gobain Innovations differs from any lighting you’ve seen before.

For one, the light seems to be both drawn on the glass and living within it.

For another, it’s expected to last for about 20 years since the electric cathode is not in contact with the light’s gasses as with a normal bulb.

Instead, electricity applied to the base of the glass runs through transparent conductive layers which excite the plasma gas trapped in layers of glass. Then phosphorus painted on the glass reacts to the plasma and creates a glowing and diffuse light.

While warm, the light is not hot to the touch.

That means a coffee table, shelf or wall can be a room’s light source, according to Saazs designer Tomas Erel, making Planilum a “new generation of lighting.”

“The little points of light we all know will vanish,” Erel said. “Surface light will take over.”

The Planilum lights turn on and off instantly and are currently a bit more efficient than neon – without using mercury or losing brightness over time, according to Erel.

Saazs’ One — the four-foot tall panel featuring rows of donut-like radiating light circles pictured above — costs €2,500 Euro, or about $3,600 U.S.

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