Imagine a high-tech glass that you could change from transparent to frosted with the flick of a switch… You could use it for home windows (eliminating the need for blinds), for store fronts (at night), and even for bathrooms (requiring users to stretch for a new level of trust in technology). Although Privacy Glass is not in common use yet – the technology has actually been around for quite a few years, and there are many stunning examples of this smart material in use all over the world. French company Saint-Gobain produces an “intelligent” glass called Privalite, which can be switched from an ordinary-looking clear glass to a foggy-looking frosted glass by running an electrical current over a polymer liquid-crystal film sandwiched between two plates of glass.

Apparently the Koolhaus-designed Prada flagship store in SoHo, New York, utilizes privacy glass in the dressing rooms. I’ve been to the store on several occasions, but I’ve never quite made it as far as the dressing rooms (bloggers can’t afford Prada), so I have yet to see this in the flesh. Fortunately New Yorkers don’t need to be well-heeled to see Privacy Glass in action. Inhabitat reader John tells us that there is a more accessible (and fun) implementation of privacy glass, right around the corner from the Prada store, at Bar 89 (89 Mercer Street in NYC) “The bathroom doors do the trick and are tripped by an infrared censor. The bar is ok, but the bathrooms on the mezzanine are worth a stop.” {Thanks John!}

Privacy glass works according to the principles of polymer liquid-crystal optics. The laminated glazing comprises two sheets of glass, either clear or tinted, and a liquid crystal film. Both faces of the film are covered with a transparent, electrical conductive coating. When the glass is switched off from its special power supply, the liquid crystals are randomly scattered and diffuse light in all directions. By switching the glass on, the crystals line up and reorient themselves, turning the SGG PRIVA-LITE glass totally transparent. Switching from the non-transparent state to the transparent state is almost instantaneous and can be repeated as often as desired.

For more in-depth information on privacy glass, check out HowStuffWork’s article on Smart Windows >

According to the above article, this smart glass technology could potentially save billions of dollars on heating, cooling and lighting costs by being installed into traditional residential windows. Bring it on!

+ SwitchLite
+ Privalite
+ Landmark Glass

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  1. mattoxc4m April 1, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I was watching a documentary about the US Gov.t secrets. The smart window was being used then. Yes, a fogging window. In case of war the top officials would go to a “crisis” room to make major decisions. If someone needed privacy to take a call or meet with specific individuals. They could fog the windows instantly for privacy. They didn’t say how the fog was produced…It could have been steam for all i know. But the concept was the same…I thought that was cool.

  2. Polytron May 9, 2011 at 5:21 am

    To see our innovative Polyvision privacy glass, please visit, or write email to shelly (at) polytron (dot) com (dot) tw.

  3. aleecia October 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I am really interested in this.. Please email me.. I am from Malaysia

  4. oldirvor November 13, 2009 at 5:49 am

    I am really interested in this product. And I would like to sell this stuff in Uzbekistan. My contacts:

  5. Dr. Wang January 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    A new generation of liquid crystal film, 3G Privacy Film or NPD-LCD, for switchable window industry is available now. This breakthrough makes great improvements in reducing haze in transparent state, lowering driving voltage and extending lifetime. 3G Privacy Film has haze-free or ultra clearness, very low driving voltage (20V) and extremely long lifetime (more than 80 millions times of on-off switching). The Films are also used in TV and for film LCD. Please visit website at or for detail.

  6. charles swamp January 18, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    who sells in the Dallas Fort Worth area?

  7. Laszlo December 6, 2007 at 11:32 am

    We would like to distribute smart glass products in Hungary. Anybody interested?

  8. miguel December 5, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    intrested in glass to be used as a screen and as a blackboard to write on to be installed in Mexico city

  9. Manoj November 30, 2007 at 11:30 am


  10. panchal chetan November 20, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    i chetan panchal from india , we are selling the glass all over india,
    we interested in your product. we want to start marketing for switchable glass.

    with best regards
    panchal chetan .
    (kunjalo art’s)

  11. Chiefway November 8, 2007 at 1:58 am

    To see the integration of Smart fim and Touch panel
    Please visit:

  12. Chiefway September 28, 2007 at 2:50 am

    Smart Film can be directly attached to glass and adjust light under electric pressure to switch between transparent and nontransparent. Smart Film helps you to change the properties of film on demand. Smart Film can be used as Electric Curtain, can rapidly transform from clear to frosted, turning a see-through conference room wall, building glass wall, nursery room into a visual barrier. Combine with project, Smart Film can be projection screen and electric whiteboard. The thickness is only 0.7mm. Smart Glass is easy installation and maintenance. Please contact us for more information~ /

  13. info September 2, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    in response to inquiries about manufacturers and distributors of privacy glass:
    Inventive glass is the Canadian distributor (located in Vancouver) of smart privacy glass from NSG Japan. You can find more information in the companie’s website:

  14. sandra August 26, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Please I need more info. I’m renovating an a partment and I would like to use glass as part of the inside walls

    thank you,

  15. Frank August 6, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Hello Linda
    you said, you are manufacturer of glass and film. How can I contact you?
    I need urgent glass panels for different clients.

  16. Will July 26, 2007 at 2:03 pm


    I found a supplier in the US. Here it is: Liquid Crystal film laminated between glass that utilizes a low electrical current that, with the flip of a switch, is either completely clear or opaque. For privacy, sunblock, effects, etc. Starting at $185 sq. ft.

  17. Robert Gelfand July 18, 2007 at 3:51 am


    I live in Vancouver and am currently renovating my house. I am interested in some of the applications of this product. Do you have a showroom or office/warehouse where I could come look at it and get some ideas where I could use it?

  18. Paul June 25, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    I am a distributor in North America, but can ship this product anywhere in the world. Custom sizes and glass thickness are available, and cost ranges between 700-960 USD per square meter (FOB Vancouver) depending on your quantity. A remote control is included. This product is suitable for a wide variety of residential and commercial applications.Please email me your exact dimensions and qty, and I will send you a quote and technical specs.

  19. linda June 20, 2007 at 3:43 am

    we are a manufacture of this kind glass and film

  20. arturo May 24, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    that product is available in mexico?

  21. frank May 9, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Such glass is available for example from interpane in Germany, under the name ipaview CF. You can find further information under
    As i have learned, the actual transparancy is produced by a manufacturer in Korea.
    Since we do have a lot of inquieries regarding such glass, i really would like to know the name of the actual manufacturer.
    Can someone help?

  22. Kevin April 23, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Has anybody had a problem with this sgg- priva-lite glass getting a hot spot burn mark ?

  23. teesha March 12, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    hey.. graeme you said that this product is avaliable in the UK, can you name a few companies who sell it? or anyone with informationon this product??


  24. mansc March 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    hi, great article!
    i am looking for this product for a hotel project, can anyone tell me where i can find the manufacturer?
    is there any factory set up in china, taiwan or korea? somewhere in Asia?

  25. Jen March 9, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I am trying to find companies that sell this glass in the usa, if anyone can help!!

  26. Graeme March 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    This glass is certainly available in the uk although it is very expensive, you’ll be lucky if you can find a supplier who is selling this for less than £1200 per sqm! That’s just for the glass and probably wouldn’t include the fitting costs. The glass is generally toughened glass with the LCD film either applied externally or the better and more common option the film is laminated in between 2 layers of toughened glass – very durable!

  27. teesha March 3, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    hi, im a uni student in NZ’s University of Auckland studying architecture, and one of our courses requires us to find out about new technologies and how they can be modified and used in different applications. Are there any other web sites which feature this super smart privacy glass??

  28. Vincent Mitchell February 28, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    I am very interested with the smart glass. How durable is the privacy glass? and can it change to shades of color instead of the frost effect.

  29. Gary Tay February 22, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    I had seen a Privacy Glass installation in which when turn On, it affected the plasma displays. I heard that there was a problem in that when you look into the room through the LCD Privacy glass, the modulation of the glass to keep it clear, creates hum bar effects at the 3×2 wall. Did you ever hear of such an effect? To my knowledge, Privacy glass is operated by applying 220V 50Hz mains to it, and so it likely has a 50 or 100Hz shuttering effect… then appear to have a hum bar. The glass LOOKS clear but is actually cycling clear/opaque at mains frequency as the applied field to its LCD sandwich reverses with the main voltage applied.

    Do you know of such cause? Your comments and suggestions are greatly welcome.

  30. Gary December 23, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    I wondered if available in U.K

  31. Gary December 23, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    Is this Glass or Perspex / Clear Plastic??????????????

  32. MARK YOUNG December 5, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Have been looking for this product to come down in price it is still out of reach for the average housebuilder

  33. Harish Mehrotra November 6, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    I am interested to know more about ‘Privacy Glass’ technology, costings, sources, business opportunities.

  34. Bill Anderson November 2, 2006 at 6:52 am

    I was wandering, If I want to buy your product, How to make the best deal?
    I am currently stayed overseas, in Jakarta(Indonesia)

  35. Simon Berglund September 13, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    I am an early adopter of pretty much everything and I was looking at this smart glass as an alternative to curtains when I moved in to my new house. The price at this stage is astonishingly high – $A14,000 ($UD11,000) for a 3m x 2m window. Needless to say, some nice blinds were chosen instead.

  36. Frank September 11, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    Good stuff! But it would be most helpful to give readers an idea of real world prices on many of the very interesting, and innovative new designs and technologies.

    Many of these kind of ideas are often far too costly for affordable housing!

    I’m hoping as part of your future articles you will provide same. Thanks. Keep up the good work !

  37. Neale September 7, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Wow.. it must have been over 6 years ago when I first found electrochromic glass on the cubicle doors in the (unisex) toilets in a bar in New York. You’ve finally answered my puzzle about what happens if there’s a power cut or some sort of electrical failure?

    Funny how we’re only concerned like that when in town… when out camping, no one seems to care!

  38. Judy September 6, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    In addition to the LC glass, there are electrochroomic glass for SAGE and suspended particle decvice (SPD-Smart) glass from Research Frontiers, both in the USA.

    The SAGE glass is available now in Velux skyights, and the SPD glass will be available for use in the automotive market beginning in 2007; when that demand is satisfied it will be available to the architectural market.

    Both these glasses differ from LC in that they have clear and dark states; they do not diffuse the light. The significant difference between them is that the electrochromic glass is clear in the off stae, and its speed in changing to dark depends on the size of the glass involved.

    SPD glass is dark in the off state, requiring a very small amount of electricity to lighten it, which it does almost instantaneously when the voltage is supplied. It also lightens evenly over the entire glass surface, whereas electrochromc glass darkens from the edge of the glass inward.

    More information on the two glasses can be found at these sites:

  39. Rich July 28, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Don’t know how old this article is but I was just looking out of interest of putting it in my house instead of blinds and I noticed you said Prada stores had the glass. In the UK the less expensive Ted Baker in Mancheser, uk also applies the use of this glass to thier changing rooms. I wonder roughly how much it costs though.

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