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What does Colour mean in Fenestration? 

Colour / commercial application Dec/10

          The use of colour as it applies to fenestration has an illustrious history. The technology of stained glass dates back thousands of years. Over the centuries it has been accepted as a method of storytelling, very important at a time before the ability to read was commonplace. Churches created a natural environment for stained glass as they had the means to commission their production.

          The ‘transparent pictures’ reached art status around the time of the Renaissance. The original purpose of stained glass in churches was to ‘sedate light’, create an atmosphere and a calming influence. Leonardo DaVinci maintained that meditation under the purple light from stained glass was ten times more powerful than without the influence of the colour.

Here are some of the things different colours symbolize in stained glass:

          Blue – symbolizes wisdom & loyalty
          Red -  symbolizes courage & martyrdom
          Yellow / gold – symbolizes the sun & spirituality
          Violet – symbolizes justice & loyalty
          Green – symbolizes hope & victory over ignorance

          In this century, coloured glass is used for much more than ‘transparent pictures’. Whole expanses of simple and complex colour are finding their way into our fenestration options.

          Now and in the future we can look to new colourful glass type solar panels bringing in colour… and collecting energy from the sun for our changing world.


This article was contributed by Sylvia O’Brien, president of Colour Theory, a colour consulting firm in Toronto, Canada involved in commercial colour consulting, design and specification for the building envelope.

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