In designing a new Amsterdam flagship for Chanel, envelope-pushing Dutch firm MVRDV was determined to turn a historic townhouse into a modern storefront without completely wiping out the character of the original architecture. Their answer? Durable glass bricks that replicate the original terracotta brick facade. As Dezeen reports, the glass bricks are held together by high-strength glue and proved "stronger than concrete" during testing.
While an impressively elegant solution, the glass bricks weren't exactly easy to make. Developing the bricks apparently took six to 10 experts everyday for a whole year to figure out, a process that also involved high-tech lasers, lab-grade UV lamps, and milk ("its low transparency made it useful during the leveling of the bricks," according to Dezeen.) Still, it's no doubt a valuable—and beautiful—experiment in advancing the use of glass, a 100 percent recyclable material.