Volume 46, Issue 6 - July 2011

A special section of USGlass


Carving a Niche
Decorative Glass Products Find Their Place During NeoCon 2011
by Ellen Rogers

When it comes to interiors, NeoCon is one show where the design community can find anything and everything. Companies involved with decorative glass have also found a place within the halls of NeoCon to showcase their products for the interior design community. This year’s event, which took place June 13-15 at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, was no exception.

Color and More
Gardner Glass featured new options with its Dreamwalls colored glass. Vice president of marketing Mandy Marxen explained that with new water jet technologies, the company can now offer custom tiles in addition to its custom color possibilities.

“We can take a CAD drawing and create the tile in any desired shape,” she said. “We’re offering a new world of opportunities.”

Imagery on glass is another popular trend and Arch Aluminum and Glass showcased its Visual line, which includes printed interlayers. Jon Johnson explained the company offers both ink jet as well as thermally transferred printed options.

Cristacurva took glass from translucent to opaque with its new privacy switchable glass, which David Reed said received a lot of interest.

“Visitors are intrigued that the glass can go from translucent to opaque instantly with the flip of a switch,” said Reed, who added that designers who stopped by were also interested in visually appealing items, such as the company’s new digitally printed glass products. Reed said they chose to feature samples specific to Chicago, including an image of the skyline and one of the Blues Brothers.

Guardian Industries officially launched its InGlass product line for interiors, including its partnership with Joel Berman Glass (see at the end of this page).

“This is the first time we’ve packaged everything together,” said Diane Turnwall, market segment director of interiors for Guardian. “We’ve had a lot of interest in the website, which allows you to see different product combinations.” As an example, the company also showed a switchable glass product constructed with one of the Berman textured glass products.

Educational Opportunities
As decorative glass continues to grow as a popular product for design, so, too, does the need to keep the architectural community educated about these materials. With this in mind, the Glass Association of North America (GANA) hosted an introduction to decorative glass forum, which took place as part of NeoCon in Chicago.

“Our intent with this NeoCon seminar was to educate the interior designers on the vast array of glass options they have inside for buildings,” said Ashley Charest, GANA account executive. “We certainly know that all 40,000 NeoCon attendees could not be at the seminar, so GANA is also in the process of converting this educational seminar into an online version.”

The seminar, which is accredited by the American Institute of Architects and was presented by Steve O’Holloran of ICD High Performance Coatings, provided information on various design and application possibilities using decorative glass; how different types of decorative glass are made; and tips on specifying different types of decorative glass.

The presentation focused on four categories of decorative glass:
• Coatings and colors;
• Etched/frosted;
• Heat formed; and
• Laminated glass.

Beginning with coatings and colors, O’Holloran looked at several glass types, such as silkscreened, digitally printed glass and painted/backpainted glass. While the many different processes can afford a wide range of color choices, O’Holloran said it’s still the basics that are most popular.

Tiles in Style
Offering several new decorative glass tile options, Crossville featured its new Ebb & Flow line.

“It’s primarily glass that’s accented with natural stone,” explained Laurie Lyza, director of marketing. Lyza said the line includes nine color and stone families and is an “affordable way to get the look of exotic materials.” The tiles can be used in many interior applications.

Taking glass from the wall to the floor, Walker Glass featured its new glass flooring.

“We’re showing translucency and the opacity with this glass floor,” said Marc Deschamps. “It has the anti-slip properties as well as the combination of opacity and translucency, which also provide privacy. So this is a glass that’s about design as well as performance.” Deschamps said the glass has been tested to both ASTM 1028 as well as ANSI B101.

The flooring is available with a dot pattern, but Deschamps said Walker will be launching others in the future, all available under the Walker Traction line.

Current Openings
On the more traditional glazing side, both Nanawall and Panda Windows and Doors also took part in the event.

“Twenty-five to 30 percent of what we do is interiors,” explained Todd Kilstrom, sales manager with Nanawall. “Commercially and residentially, designers often have a niche with the owner and can help influence the buyer to go with certain products.”

Noting the trend to bring the outdoors in, he added, “Chicago is also a big area for that.”

For Panda, Chicago-area designers can visit the Merchandise Mart year round and see the company’s products, as they are featured in the showroom of their dealer Bentwood of Chicago. Cooper Buranen, a sales representative with Panda, said the showroom opened in February.

“People can still come back after the show and see our display,” said Buranen. “And there is a huge design community in Chicago.” The showroom features Panda’s aluminum lift and slide system. Buranen said it can be constructed with most any type of glass, from custom art glass to tinted glass as well as security glass.

Plans are already in the works for NeoCon 2012, which will again take place at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Guardian Debuts InGlass Market Segment
For years decorative glass companies have taken to NeoCon as a venue to showcase their newest products for the interior market. The show is not one, however, where you’d typically find a primary glass manufacturer exhibiting. But this year Guardian Industries chose to debut its new InGlass business segment during the show. The new segment was created to provide the design community with a complete package of tools and products for their interior projects-using glass. From backpainted and patterned glass, to its new line of Berman Glass editions, Guardian is taking a strong step toward reaching the interior design community.

The company says InGlass brings together Guardian’s entire interior product line to allow designers and others the opportunity to experience the variety of glass in one place. The portfolio allows interior designers to choose from a variety of interior glass options that can not only make a design statement, but also offer performance characteristics, such as comfort, safety, energy conservation, reduced maintenance and more.

Diane Turnwall, market segment director of interiors for Guardian, said the launch saw a lot of interest from those attending NeoCon.

“This is the first time we’ve packaged everything together,” explained Turnwall. “And the response so far has been really positive.”

Also part of the InGlass segment, Guardian announced its new partnership with Joel Berman Glass Studios, through which it will be producing the Berman Glass editions line of glass textures. The partnership was created as a way to bring the glass textures to interior designers, products and glass systems manufacturers, as well as glass shops as a quick ship/“ready-to-wear” program. Guardian will produce these Berman Glass editions at its Richburg, S.C., float glass plant.

Joel Berman is excited about the partnership and said since his company is small, working with a large company, such as Guardian, will help make their glass accessible on a wide basis. Some of the benefits Berman noted are that the glass is readily available, well priced, well made and high-quality.

“Plus, Guardian’s distribution model is something we could never do on our own,” said Berman. “This is a wonderful collaboration.”

Ellen Rogers is the editor of Decorative Glass magazine, a USGlass magazine sister publication.


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