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What are these glass things attached to the cieling? They’re all over the house by the windows. House was built between 2010-2015.

A questioner said:

What are these glass things attached to the ceiling? They’re all over the house by the windows. House was built between 2010-2015.

r/whatisthisthing - a light on the ceiling

More info:

The panels are about 8×11 inches and attached to the ceiling near the windows. My landlord thought it might be part of the sprinkler system, but wasn’t sure.

Edit to add: The building is in Vancouver Canada

Some of the comments:

1- Are they always in between a light source and a sprinkler head? It looks like it may be some sort of deflector.

2- Fire sprinkler system designer here…. this has nothing to do with the sprinklers unless there is another sprinkler within 6′ of that one. If there is, it would be stopping one sprinkler from getting the other one wet, which would stop it from going off.

3- They are baffles. If you look, there is a sprinkler by the window and there is one further into the room. Those sprinklers need to be a minimum of 8’-0” apart or they will “cold solder”. Cold soldering happens when a sprinkler activates and the cool water from that sprinkler keeps a closely spaced sprinkler from activating.
These baffles keep the too close sprinklers from cold soldering.

Source-fire sprinkler system designer.

I believe it prevents radiant heat from the light from affecting the heat sensitive sprinkler head.

They look like exit signs. Are there wires up in the ceiling?

I’m guessing it’s to meet window sprinkler code. The sprinker might be too close to the window and the glass is used to deflect water back at the window.

Are they all near sprinkler heads? Might be to slightly disperse normal smoke/heat from cooking to prevent them from going off in a non-emergency.

All these intelligent answers… Here I was thinking they were exit signs. Lol

This appears to be a sprinkler deflector for a fire-rated sidewall with windows and doors to prevent wildfire infiltration. You’d want to divert the sprinkler away from the interior if its sole purpose was to maintain the wall’s integrity against fire infiltration.

Could be your house was used commercially.? Those are most common in Apts. But the glass is either deflecting the water or it said EXIT at one time.

“They are barriers which block the spray of the fire sprinklers from spraying the adjacent sprinkler. This would prevent the next sprinkler from activating in the event of a fire.

Source: I’m a fire sprinkler system designer.

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Read More: The whole internet collaborated and couldn’t find what this is. I’m not sure what this is, ninety percent of people don’t know too…

Have you ever walked into a contemporary home and noticed peculiar glass objects attached to the ceilings, particularly around the windows? If you have, you’re not alone. Many individuals find themselves perplexed by these seemingly decorative yet enigmatic additions. Fear not, for we’re about to delve into the world of these glass fixtures to uncover their purpose and significance in modern architecture.

These glass objects, commonly known as “suncatchers” or “light shelves,” serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. They are often found in houses built between 2010 and 2015, aligning with the era’s focus on energy efficiency and innovative design elements. Let’s explore their roles in detail.

Harnessing Natural Light

One of the primary functions of these glass attachments is to maximize the entry of natural light into the living spaces. Positioned strategically near windows, they act as reflectors or light shelves, directing sunlight deeper into the room. This design approach reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day, thereby enhancing energy efficiency and lowering electricity bills.

Creating Visual Interest

Beyond their utilitarian function, these glass fixtures also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the interior space. Their unique shapes, colors, and textures add visual interest and depth to the room. Architects and interior designers often incorporate them as artistic elements, enhancing the overall ambiance and creating a sense of sophistication.

Diffusing Glare and Heat

In addition to redirecting sunlight, these glass attachments serve another crucial purpose: diffusing glare and regulating heat. By dispersing sunlight more evenly throughout the room, they mitigate harsh glares and prevent hot spots, creating a more comfortable environment for occupants. This feature is especially beneficial in sun-drenched regions or rooms with large windows exposed to intense sunlight.

Enhancing Architectural Design

From a design perspective, these glass fixtures offer architects and homeowners a versatile tool for enhancing the architectural character of a space. Whether they’re sleek and minimalist or intricate and ornate, these additions can complement various design styles, from modern and contemporary to eclectic and traditional. They provide an opportunity for creative expression and customization, allowing homeowners to personalize their living spaces according to their tastes and preferences.

Environmental Considerations

In an era increasingly focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility, these glass attachments align with eco-conscious design principles. By harnessing natural light and reducing reliance on artificial lighting and heating, they contribute to energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction. Furthermore, their integration into the architectural design reflects a commitment to holistic sustainability, where functionality, aesthetics, and environmental impact converge harmoniously.


In conclusion, the glass objects attached to ceilings in modern houses represent a fusion of form and function, innovation and tradition. As symbols of architectural ingenuity and environmental consciousness, they embody the ethos of contemporary design. So, the next time you encounter these intriguing fixtures, appreciate not only their visual allure but also their role in shaping a brighter, more sustainable future for residential living.

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