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If Rainbow Brite Had An Office, It Would Look Like This

See the shining light.

It’s not an optical illusion–the glass inside the creative media agency Canvas Worldwide‘s new Los Angeles office does change throughout the day. Like a visual mood ring, the iridescent expanse changes its gradient sheen depending on the time of day and the angle you see the glass. If Rainbow Brite were an account exec, she’d request this for her office.

This visual effect is thanks to dichroic glass, a material that interrupts light waves. The physical effect is called “thin-film interference,” which is why soap bubbles and oily puddles sometimes have a rainbow sheen. Light hits one side of the film and is reflected at a different angle, changing the color our eyes see. 3M produced the glass finishes that created this brilliant rainbow effect.

The architects at A+I–the same firm behind Squarespace’s monochromatic N.Y.C. office–used color as a metaphor for Canvas’s brand. Most of the 36,000-square-foot office in the Silicon Beach neighborhood, in west L.A., is austere, and the vibrant glass is offset by a white box, which represents the blank slate of each client coming to the firm. The jolt of color from the glass represents the creative energy Canvas brings to its work.

“The [office] was conceived as a space where the content and imagery of [clients] could take the foreground, but would always be seen through the active shifting energy of Canvas,” Peter Knutson, A+I’s director of strategy, says. “To this end, the dichroic glass offers reflection of and transparency to the activity within the space but through an ever-shifting dynamic veil of color.”

[Photos: via A+I]

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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