Contemporary & Architectural stained glass is characterised by innovation in design, technique, and use of materials. During the last century, many notable stained glass designers and architects including Henri Matisse, Harry Clarke, Frank Lloyd-Wright, and Marc Chagall engaged with the medium. In the Australian context, Marion Mahoney and Walter Burley Griffin, made significant use of decorative glass in their buildings.
While modernism is apparent in Stained Glass from earlier in the twentieth century, the devastation of European cities during WWII opened a window (literally) for artists, particularly German artists, to reinvent their approach to Architectural Stained Glass. In the UK, the Baptistry Window at Coventry Cathedral, designed by John Piper and executed in 1962 by Patrick Reyntiens, is an absolute triumph of beauty in the wake of destruction.
New approaches in the treatment of the glass itself, for example, fusing of glass, spontaneous glass painting, and the use of materials such as zinc or copper channel in place of lead, can break from the traditional look of leaded windows while retaining the ability to work with natural light in ways characteristic of the medium.