Volume 47, Issue 6 - June 2012


The Decorative Glazing Segment
Challenges and Opportunity Ahead
by Ashley M. Charest

When the decorative glazing industry saw rapid growth in the early 2000s, it looked to form a cohesive organization that would be a conduit between industry professionals to engage in big-picture discussions on standards, codes, marketing and education. Within the Glass Association of North America (GANA) the decorative industry saw the potential to collaborate with its fabricating peers and accomplish tasks that it could not start on its own, hence the launch of the GANA Decorative Division in 2007.

Challenges Ahead
With many more ideas for ways to grow the industry underway, the Decorative Division has already completed work on an industry generic glossary and technical documents that highlight key issues and challenges for the decorative glazing industry. Below are thoughts from some of our industry members that discuss what they believe are the biggest challenges for decorative glazing in the coming future.

• “The education of designers of all the many ways they can achieve the look they want is my biggest challenge and obstacle. There are so many choices for them, to say ... get a logo onto their glass. They can paint it, print it, screen it, etch it, slump it, carve it or use a decorative film. And not every method is good for every installation. So the challenge is for us, as fabricators, to figure out how to find our particular advantage and sell it with as much education, possibilities and rigorous data to back it up so that the designers can trust that the glass show piece they envisioned will last as a reality for many years to come.” —Mandy Marxen, vice president of marketing, Gardner Glass Products Inc.

• “As decorative glass continues to evolve into a more attractive and functional material, it becomes more and more relevant to the interior space. One of today’s largest challenges is helping the interior architects and designers understand the possibilities of glass; its versatility and immense benefits. Interior architects and designers need to know what resources are available to understand what’s possible, how to specify or where to source specialty or decorative products. —Diane Turnwall, market segment director, interiors, Guardian Industries Corp.

• “The challenges for decorative glazing have shifted since they started to rise within the market a few years ago. Today, the biggest challenge for decorative glazing is all centered around performance. The biggest aspect being centered around showing that coatings and other materials that comprise a decorative glazing actually perform—as in how they perform in regard to adhesion, color stability, chemical resistance, etc. The second factor is how they can be measured to perform as a whole unit to provide energy performance. Both aspects are being worked on today to bring decorative glazing even higher in use than before.” —Kris Vockler, CEO, ICD High Performance Coatings

• “The biggest challenge is to educate designers and architects on the different types of decorative glazing products available and support their decision-making process with appropriate and complete information on product specifications, constructability and design alternatives. Architects and designers need to better understand the differences in decorative products from a performance and design standpoint to achieve a quality and long-lasting result. As a result, it is important that the industry and its members create and offer relevant education material for both interior and exterior applications.” —Marc Deschamps, business development manager, Walker Glass Co. Ltd.

Here to Help
With challenges comes opportunity, and GANA is here to assist the manufacturers, installers, designers and architects that work on a daily basis with this beautiful and versatile product. Looking for design inspiration? Check on the Division’s website at www.decorativeglazing.com. If you need more specific information, visit GANA at the NeoCon show, or follow up with us after the event.

Ashley M. Charest is the account executive of the Glass Association of North America (GANA).

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.