Volume 43, Issue 6 - June 2008

News Now 

New Names, New Focuses, New Products; All the Talk of the AIA Convention 

There was speculation among exhibitors at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, held May 15-17 in Boston, that the state of the residential building market, rising gas prices and other factors limited the number of traffic on the show floor. On the other hand, several exhibitors found attendance to be substantive. Paul Daniels, vice president of sales for Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence, said he had seen a substantial number of architects at the booth who do high-end residential work. “That must be the part of the market that is doing better,” he said.

Several companies had news to share with (potential) customers, rather than new products. 

For example, just prior to the show Pilkington had announced a proposed investment of around $100 million to its float glass facility in Lathrop, Calif. The plant, which currently produces float glass products, will be upgraded to produce a wider product range, including on-line coated glazing.

“This is a nice marriage between how we process the glass and how we manufacture the glass,” commented Rachel Hepner, Pilkington marketing and communications manager, during the show. 

Hepner also noted that the investment will make the 46-year-old facility “greener” than it currently is. 

If approved, site construction activities will commence in the fall of 2008.

For those attendees who asked “what’s new?” at the ACH Glass Operations booth, the answer could easily have been: “what’s not?” Now known as Zeledyne (see May 2008 USGlass, page 16), the company is focusing on bringing closer together its three brands—Versalux architectural glass, automotive glass as original equipment for vehicles and Carlite, the automotive aftermarket glass.

“There was a lot of autonomy,” commented marketing manager Cindy Coulter. Now, she says, the focus is on “one direction, one vision, one mission.”

Top among new products on the floor was the offering of new building information modeling (BIM) services (for more on BIM, see the May 2008 USGlass, page 36). Several companies used this opportunity to promote their BIM offerings. Norcross, Ga.-based Kawneer Co. Inc. was giving demonstrations of its new BIM program in its booth. Kolbe Window and Doors of Wausau, Wis., also promoted its 3D window models, launched to offer architects “more flexibility” in the tools they have available. 

With regard to products, many exhibitors were tantalizing architects with new decorative glass offerings. 

Donald Press walked attendees through a number of Schott’s new decorative options, including the company’s Moodglass® decorative panels, which sandwich designer fabrics between two lites of AMIRAN® anti-reflective glass, and its ColorTherm™ insulating glass units. 

Viracon has increased the number of standard silkscreen patterns available, from 3 to 14.

“By offering them as standards, it offers [architects] design flexibility,” commented Viracon’s Rich Voelker. 

The exhibitors at NGI Designer Glass Inc. were showcasing custom services in coloring, acid etching, sandblasting and other decorative techniques. They had found that architects were asking for more than just their aesthetic products, but also engineering services. The complete package was an increasingly important consideration, they noted. 

Green, sustainability and energy were certainly all big messages at the show. 

Oldcastle Glass had a noticeable take on energy in its booth. The booth showcased the many architectural uses of its products, including an electric information strip powered by the company’s photovoltaic panels.

Sustainability was very much on the mind of Joe Erb, product manager, in the combined Lauren Manufacturing/Edgetech I.G. booth. “We want to move this green and sustainability message.”

Greg Header, president of Solar Innovations Inc., explained that he had come prepared to address the green aspect of the company’s skylights, glass doors and sunrooms—but was only offering that information upon request. Header expressed concern about “over-marketing” the green message, adding that architects and other customers are being inundated with green information.

Certainly architects were surrounded by the green message, but it showed no signs of slowing with this show.

Only time will tell if these trends remain prominent during the 2009 AIA Convention, scheduled for April 30-May 2 in San Francisco. 

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