The ability to instantly transform an interior space into an exterior space is a luxury most of us can only dream of. If you’re on a budget, perhaps your solution is to use a series of French or sliding glass doors to achieve the feeling of an airy transitional space. But if you have the cash, Air-Lux Technik AG just released what might be the most luxurious option possible: descending windows.
Usually, opening an enclosed space to the fresh air means your window panel or door needs somewhere to go. Traditional windows might slide or pivot the movable pane out of the way, but that usually means there’s still a visual barrier. To open up the space completely, disappearing panes are the way to go. With the new Air-Lux descending window, you can open the whole entire width of the window, with the pane lowering into a slot in the ground.
No fixed elements are needed for the window to slide in front of, and when they’re open, no threshold is visible. Whatever your floor material, the company can disguise the top of the window so it’s barely noticeable at all. Another benefit to this system is you can have a maximum open area of up to 25 square meters (or 269 square feet), a very generous size.
These countersunk windows are both completely retractible and 100-percent leak-proof thanks to a unique air sealing system incorporating a circumferential inflatable ring. Seals adapt to the moving sash element and close the gap between the sash and the fixed element to make sure no rain, wind, or noise can penetrate the space when it’s closed. A concealed gutter drains rainwater through a drainage opening. The opening and closing process is smooth and silent, too, according to Air-Lux. The lowered window rests on a supporting structure connected to a counterweight and operates with an electric drive. You just push a button to operate it.
Is there a catch — aside from the price? Kind of. Installation requires a technical room beneath the space where the descending window is installed. This space will house the control unit, motor, drive shaft, and counterweight and needs to be accessible for maintenance work. This is also how you manually access the descended window if the power goes out and you need to close it.
If your home already has a basement, that part will be easy. Otherwise, adding this system will be an even more expensive undertaking. Prices, by the way, are only available by contacting the company, which you can do at their website. Or maybe just add this product to your fantasy home accoutrements list alongside that glass-bottom infinity pool and a secret car elevator that descends below your driveway.
To complement the descending window, you might want to check out the Air-Lux pivoting door. It uses the same inflatable ring seal to protect against the weather and can be as large as 16 feet high and 10 feet wide. Both the Air-Lux pivoting door and descending window won the German Design Award 2020 for Excellent Product Design — Building and Elements.