Being that I was always in the textile manufac-  
turing business, I’ve resisted the temptation to  
allow others to do our work for us, because they  
don’t have the same expectations of quality  
standards and a commitment to delivery.  
—Bernard Lax, Pulp Studio  
Bernard and Lynda Lax started Pulp Studio 20  
years ago after spending more than two  
decades in the textile and clothing industry.  
Today, Pulp is a leader in decorative glass.  
46  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
A Lax Approach  
Twenty Years in, Pulp Studio Fashions Itself a Leader  
B y N i c k S t . D e n i s  
in 1996 as a two-person company op- tations of quality standards and a  
That’s how Dave Waterman of Bris- erating out of the couple’s basement. commitment to delivery,” he says. “…  
bane, Calif.-based Mission Glass de- This year, the company is moving its We want to focus on being more proj-  
scribes Bernard Lax, president of 150 employees into a 150,000 square- ect-oriented than product-oriented.”  
ernard is kind of a risk- Well-Dressed Glass  
allow others to do our work for us, be-  
Lax and his wife,Lynda,started Pulp cause they don’t have the same expec-  
taker.He’ll roll the dice for  
you.”  
B
specialty and decorative glass company foot-facility and is projected to do $25  
Lax can still point to his previous ex-  
pertise as a guide to success in his cur-  
Pulp Studio.  
million in sales in 2016.  
Despite the large growth over the years, rent role—and it’s proven to be a  
Waterman would know,as he’s worked  
with Lax on hundreds of projects Lax takes pride in not cutting corners.He formidable formula.  
throughout the Los Angeles-based approaches the market from an interest- “Our concept of what we were doing  
ing angle, calling upon more than 20 from the beginning was never really  
company’s two-decade existence.  
Celebrating its 20th anniver- years of experience in the textile clothing glass-based,”he says.“It was always that  
sary this year, Pulp has estab- industry—the business he and his wife we were creating decor in the same way  
lished itself as a leader in the were in prior to starting Pulp.That’s right, we’d create fashion. I always looked at  
industry.Perhaps it has been a from garments to glass.  
the business this way: You buy a dress,  
leader from the start, taking “What’s truly unique about Pulp is and you’ve got to get a scarf with it.The  
chances and staying ahead of that we still produce all the product way people get dressed is similar to the  
the curve by recognizing ourselves,”he says.“Being that I was al- way you design interiors.”  
trends before they become ways in the textile manufacturing busi-  
Like fashion, trends have changed  
one.  
ness, I’ve resisted the temptation to dramatically since the mid-’90s. Pulp  
went from doing smaller jobs and de-  
signs specific to a more Asian-Japanese  
look to a broad range of trends in col-  
ors, patterns and textures.  
The specialty glazing market, mean-  
while, has spread throughout the country.  
When surf ware and companies like  
It’s a matter of acceptance,” he says.  
Quicksilver first came out, it was very  
centralized in California.Then it moved  
to the East Coast. It took the Midwest  
years, even decades to adopt surf ware.  
Now you don’t notice it.It’s everywhere.  
A lot of architectural components are  
that way, as well.”  
Lax’s experience in the clothing tex-  
tile industry has come in handy in the  
decorative glass sector on another key  
front—logistics.  
Bernard Lax says that from the  
beginning, Pulp Studio approached  
decorative glass the same way it  
approached fashion.  
Manufacturers and suppliers may  
continued on page 48  
April 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
47  
A Lax Approach  
continued from page 47  
have facilities in different areas  
throughout the country to meet wide-  
spread demand. Pulp Studio, however,  
has been able to supply its product effi-  
ciently throughout the United States  
from its lone geographical location.  
When Lax and his wife were in the  
fashion industry, they shipped their  
product all over the country. Upon  
starting their glass business, they were  
able to utilize the carrier contacts they  
gained during that time to build a lo-  
gistical network for their new venture.  
CoInntthieneuaerlyddEayxsp, Paunlpsmioonved from  
the basement to a 3,500-square-foot-  
building and then onto an even larger  
location, eventually acquiring Wilm-  
ington, Calif.-based California Glass  
Bending and its 30,000 square-foot fa-  
cility in 2012.Pulp opened a third facil-  
ity with 8,000 square feet of space in  
2
013, where it produces its switchable  
privacy glass.  
Late last year, the company an-  
nounced it purchased the new property  
in Gardena, Calif., to consolidate under  
one roof. The new facility doubles the  
square footage of its previous three  
combined operations.  
Construction of the facility is under-  
way, and all three operations will be  
consolidated by the end of 2016. “The  
new plant and the type of equipment  
we’re putting into it will take us to a  
whole new level,” says Lax.  
For Pedro Olmedo, the company’s  
vice president of manufacturing,an im-  
portant aspect of the new facility is im-  
proved communication.  
“Even just the half mile [between  
current facilities], it takes a little while  
to go over there and see how they’re  
doing from one place to another,” he  
says.“It takes time. Now, we’ve got this  
big new place,and we can join all of the  
different facilities together. We will  
be able to move products in shorter  
lead times, and to improve communi-  
cation between everyone.”  
Olmedo,who has been with the busi-  
The specialty glass industry requires manufacturers to maintain a highly skilled ness practically since the beginning,  
workforce, something Pulp Studio has been able to accomplish over its two says the upgrade is also a testament to  
decades of existence.  
the Laxs’ commitment to the company  
48  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
www.usglassmag.com  
and its employees.  
I’m proud of Bernard and Lynda,  
because they take risks to do all of this,”  
he says.“They’re always looking out for  
the employees before themselves. …  
For me,this [expansion] is another op-  
portunity to prove myself to them.”  
Waterman says he considers Pulp ar-  
guably the best at what it does,particu-  
larly when it comes to quality of work  
and lead times—two important factors  
for the contract glazier.  
“These are the guys that are going to  
deliver,”he says.“If you want me on this  
job,I’m going to use my people,because  
I know their background and that  
they’re going to get it done.”  
PePuolppsleabBileithy itnodadtvhaencSe coveenr ethse  
years has been due not only to sound  
judgement in the marketplace, but a  
strong foundation of employees.  
A major part of that foundation is  
Olmedo, who started with Pulp when  
Bernard Lax was still putting together  
its first office. He was hired to hang  
doors in the office and began helping  
Lax with glass-cutting.  
Lax says he hopes that attention to  
quality improves in the industry, and  
that interior designers and contract  
glaziers vet specifications.  
“One of the negative things about  
decorative glass is it’s one of those busi-  
nesses of ‘I know a guy,’”says Lax.“And  
the next thing you know he’s subcon-  
tracting to someone who’s subcontract-  
ing to get it made … What ends up  
happening is it creates a path of people  
“It’s a pleasure working with them,”  
he says.“There’s a reason why employ-  
ees like me have been here so long.”  
Pulp Studio has tried to stay ahead of following a train off a cliff.”  
The company didn’t feel significant the curve as the exterior application  
effects of the economic downturn of decorative and specialty glass ThInetnhetboegNinonwing, Pulp was charting  
nearly a decade ago. Lax says the com- continues to evolve.  
pany had plenty of backlog built up,  
new waters and often faced skepticism  
and it was involved in a lot of institu- in one department,I can take those guys that its decorative and specialty glass  
tional work during that time that had and move them to other departments,”he products wouldn’t catch on because  
already been budgeted.  
Pulp saw an approximate 10-percent do a little bit in each department.”  
decline in sales,which was minor in the  
says.“All of my guys kind of know how to they were too expensive.  
As it turns out, there was plenty of  
demand in the market, and that’s only  
grand scheme of things. However, Lax ReWlaatetrimoannsthooikpoSveur chicsefasmsily busi- grown as designers find new and  
says the thing he’s most proud of is that  
Pulp didn’t have to lay off any employ- ness, Mission Glass, in 1997. His father,  
unique ways to use glass.  
“When we started in the specialty  
ees during the recession.  
We truly believe that when people working with Lax in Pulp’s early days,and ple players,” says Lax.“When we came  
come to work for us, we ask a commit- Watermanhascontinuedthatrelationship. out,what we do today would be consid-  
ment of them,and it’s important to give “Over that time, I’ve gotten to know ered something of the Martians. The  
Cliff, and partner Jim Haganey started glass businesses,there were only a cou-  
that commitment back,” he says.“That Bernard very well,” says Waterman, who price we’re charging for specially prod-  
repaid us in spades when we came back will occasionally call Lax with a random ucts, and the products we’re making,no  
from the recession.”  
Talent is a major contributor to the partner of mine.”  
success and failure of specialty glass Waterman says Mission works with creased so has new competition.“When  
technical question.“He’s a good business one had ever seen before.”  
As adoption of specialty glass has in-  
manufacturing,which makes retaining Pulpon30to40projectsayear,fromsmall a lot of our competitors got into mar-  
employees that much more important. jobs that require something as simple as a ket, they actually became purveyors for  
turnover in our plant,” says Lax.“Guys high-end retail and hospitality jobs.  
here who started 15 years ago are still Recently, the parties com-  
We’ve had less than a 5-percent piece of backpainted glass to large-scale, our product,”says Lax.“It started to val-  
idate the classification.” s  
here.The talent pool you have is directly pleted a big job at One Market  
related to the quality that you produce.” Plaza in San Francisco that re-  
Olmedo says employee versatility has quired careful collaboration on  
been a big contributor to the company’s a tight deadline in time for the  
N i c k S t . D e n i s is an  
assistant editor for USGlass  
magazine. He can be reached  
at nstdenis@glass.com.  
success.  
Super Bowl.“That was a very in-  
“Because we do so many different tense job, and Pulp rose up to  
types of specialty glass, if we’re not busy the challenge,” he says.  
www.usglassmag.com  
April 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
49