Most of the clients we work with at Cantifix are in the process of transforming their homes, and using glazing and other architectural design to infuse a sense of personal character to their property. Along with design, one of the other ways may people will make their space unique is by displaying a collection of art - but with this comes a challenge: ensuring your artwork doesn’t become faded from sunlight exposure. 

This is a problem that has existed for galleries and personal collectors alike for centuries. But as we gain more of an understanding of the importance of natural light, and more of us than ever are flooding our homes with sunlight, it’s more important for the homeowner than ever. Fortunately, we have a solution: innovative glazing.  

How sunlight makes things fade

Many of us know that if we leave something brightly coloured on a windowsill, over time, the colour on the sun-facing side will start to fade. Book covers, ornaments and more are all at the mercy of the sun - and when it comes to artwork, understanding why daylight seems to burn away all the colour on a piece is important.

This desaturation of colour takes place because of what is known as ‘photodegradation’. Essentially,what happens when the sun comes into contact with paint is that the particles of pigment lose their ability to hold onto their colour - as the UV rays of the sun come into contact with paint, it gradually becomes paler and fades over time.  

How photodegradation works

While many of us may not have thought about it, this is, in fact, a chemical reaction. The molecules of every dye or paint pigment contain what are known as ‘chromophores’ - put simply, these absorb most of the spectrum of light that hits them, but reflect back a smaller wavelength: this reflected wavelength is the colour we see. 

Over time, exposure to ultraviolet light rays (such as those from the sun) causes the chemical bonds in the pigment to break down, meaning they are able to reflect less of their specific wavelength of light, making the paint look paler. Certain shades and colours are more prone to this (such as reds, yellows, and oranges) and some types of dyes and paints fade more easily, including watercolours, because they reflect less light back in the first place. 

Heat and air are also important factors in this - photodegradation is actually a type of oxidation. When the chemical reaction between UV light and a chromophore takes place, it's the presence of oxygen in the air that causes the molecules in the paint to become unstable and decompose. Heat makes this process happen even more quickly.  

This isn’t ideal for a painting kept in a conservatory, bathed in sunlight, in the warm!

How to prevent photodegradation 

Traditionally, there have been a few ways you can ensure your paintings don’t suffer at the hands of the sunlight, but most of them involve some form of compromise when it comes to displaying them. 

The primary method is simply making sure your artwork isn’t exposed to sunlight at all - or as little as possible, at the very least. This involves hanging your most delicate or precious pieces in areas away from windows or skylights. Other options include closing blinds or curtains during the brightest and warmest parts of the day, or even rotating your collection to ensure one piece doesn’t remain in the sun too long or often. 

While these methods will make a difference, there’s a fundamental problem - they require compromising on where you display your art. But there’s a better solution… Solstice Glass. 

How we’ve solved it...

If you don’t want to compromise on where you display your art, and want it to feature prominently in an area with lots of natural light - such as a glass extension - then the answer could be as simple as choosing the right glazing for your property. Whether you’re extending or renovating, the choice of the glass you use in your installation can make all the difference to the longevity of your artwork. 

Cantifix have developed Solstice Glass: our first ever glass offering designed to enhance health and wellbeing - but the technology we’ve employed to make Solstice Glass unique also offers a huge benefit to those with artwork they’re keen to protect. 

Why Solstice Glass?

Solstice Glass filters out specific UV rays - blocking those that cause the most harm, and maximising those that offer the greatest benefits - and in doing so, providing a protective barrier between the most damaging rays of the sun and your precious artwork. 

Solstice Glass has also been designed to carefully regulate heat gain and loss, which ensures spaces don’t warm up too much, and helps you to create a climate that isn’t hazardous for the delicate layers of paint on your pieces. 

What this means for the homeowner is that you aren’t limited - both in where you can display your artwork, and in how you can extend or improve your property. The other benefits of Solstice Glass are multitudinous, but when it comes to UV damage, this is the perfect architectural solution - you can flood your interior spaces with light, and shine a focus on your favourite paintings and artwork, free of the concerns of photodegradation. 

Solstice Glass also offers a host of other benefits, including optimised access to the specific rays of UV light that most benefit our wellbeing, ensuring we remain productive, focussed, and positive throughout the day. If you'd like to find out more about Solstice Glass, click the link here. 

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