l
by Ellen Rogers  
urved glass has seen a lot of developments over inated or any combination of the processes.  
the past decade. These projects can be a visually Working with curved glass, however, can mean a number  
attractive detail for both interior and exterior of fabrication and design challenges not seen when working  
applications. While applications such as curved with flat glass.  
C
glass handrails are becoming more common, their design,  
Bissett says because the majority of the products his com-  
fabrication and installation can still pose challenges. These pany produces are bespoke, almost everything it manufac-  
projects require communication and coordination with the tures is unique,“which in itself generates challenges as the  
design team to ensure a successful result. As Patrisia Yanez, variables are infinite.” However, he adds the company does  
product development leader with Houston-based Crista- have parameters it can work within, such as overall size,  
curva, explains,“The beauty of the curved glass is quite ex- bend radius, drop, thickness, etc.  
tensive, and we work hard to make the design come to life.”  
According to Yanez, the challenges in fabricating curved  
Her company isn’t alone.Others in the industry agree that glass include design development, fabrication capabilities  
having an active role in curved glass applications can be the and installation.  
key to achieving success.  
“Since everything primarily depends on the project re-  
quirements and specifications, common challenges can  
be how complex the design is in achieving certain radii  
New and Improved  
Curved glass is no longer simply monolithic. In fact, it’s of curved pieces and meeting special tolerances expected  
seen a tremendous amount of advancement. Today it can be above and beyond ASTM industry standards,” she says.  
incorporated into many types of fabrication processes for a  
Chia-Ling Yuan,northeast regional technical advisor with  
Guardian Glass,points out that another consideration is that  
The uses of curved glass have evolved in all aspects of the the target geometry of the glazing must be consistent both  
range of performance and aesthetic capabilities.  
industry, from curved monolithic glass or curved laminated with the processing capabilities of the project fabricator and  
glass to special, complex curvatures with holes, shapes, ce- the physical limits of any implemented low-E coatings or  
ramic frit patterns, and [now] digital printing on curved other glazing treatments.  
glass,” says Yanez. “It’s also available in oversized formats,  
“In coordination with the supplier, the low-E coating lo-  
with a great variety of low-E glass for exterior applications.” cation may need to be adapted in order to help assure the  
She says her company invests in new technology just about coated surface is not contacted by equipment during bend-  
every year,“always thinking how we can provide the most in- ing operations,” she says. “Reflective curved glazing with a  
novative technology to all of our clients with their projects.”  
concave geometry as viewed from the exterior should be  
Headquartered in New Zealand,Glasshape is also a curved carefully reviewed in order to help ensure concentrated glare  
glass fabricator.  
“Having invested significantly in people and technology,  
issues are reliably avoided.”  
Working closely as part of the project team can help en-  
we have the ability to offer a huge degree of options to our sure success.  
clients,” says Andrew Bissett, strategic business develop-  
“As early as possible, fluid coordination across the project  
ments and design manager, explaining that they have ca- team can be very helpful in developing a common under-  
pabilities for two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional standing of the glazing design objectives, primary technical  
(
3-D) curved, tempered or annealed, digitally-printed, lam- considerations at play, and priorities represented by each of  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | February 2017  
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Curved glass can provide visual interest to a variety of  
interior applications, such as the staircase balustrade  
installed in the Zorzi Builders headquarters.  
the prospective glazing design options,” says Yuan, adding  
implementation of full-size glazing mockups.”  
as the coordination advances, we strongly recommend the  
Yanez agrees and says her company likes to be involved  
with the design team from the beginning of a project.  
This way we can specify the products according to the  
production capabilities of each, and we can say comfortably  
that we comprehend the extent of the project,” she says.“We  
are always up for a challenge and are open to being creative  
and looking for ways to achieve or develop what the design  
team is looking for.”  
Shared Knowledge  
Experts agree that one of the best ways to tackle some  
of the challenges that come with curved glass is to provide  
plenty of information and resources that can help guide the  
design process.  
An automotive dealership is just one type of  
application that can benefit from the visual interest  
provided by curved glass. Glasshapes provided this for  
an Audi and VW dealership.  
continued on page 44  
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February 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
43  
i
continued from page 43  
of our finished product. It’s essential that the raw materials  
we incorporate are of the highest quality. If any of the raw  
materials should fail within or after the manufacturing pro-  
cess, this can be a costly exercise to rectify.”  
Yanez says her company has almost 40 years of experience  
specializing in curved glass and has excellent relationships  
with suppliers, which is important for successful projects.  
“We constantly work with their products doing the nec-  
essary testing, which helps us ensure that the products can  
be curved without any issues. This is important so that we  
can present warranties and guarantees of the final product  
to the client with satisfactory measures,” she says.“We take  
this very seriously and follow our in-house program of glass  
review with our internal engineering and quality teams on  
a regular basis.”  
Yuan adds, “Our technical teams offer contacts, prod-  
uct data on the bending flexibility and surface placement  
requirements of our coatings, coordination to help facil-  
itate the pursuit of glazing compositions most consistent  
with the design objectives and technical needs of project  
applications, as well as availability to provide onsite sup-  
port to our customers in the bending process.”  
She adds that Guardian certifies all of its customers that  
hot-bend its coated glass to conduct these processes. “And  
these fabricators are available to provide project teams with  
The use of curved glass also provides a wow factor in high- key considerations and parameters related to the integration  
end residential applications. Glasshapes, for example, of bending with other fabrication operations.”  
supplied products for this frameless, curved tempered  
glass balustrade.  
Sharing information and ideas with others who work  
with curved glass, such as architects and designers, is  
also important.  
Bissett says given his company’s 30-plus years of  
Yanez says her company offers a number of resources,  
glass-bending experience, combined with a number of pro- such as technical guides.  
prietary calculators they’ve developed, “[we can] evaluate  
“Within these guides one can find the type of the  
very quickly whether or not a particular design is going to product, the capacities with their minimums and/or  
cause a challenge to us. Additionally, we have a number of maximums, along with indicating in which type of appli-  
different bending and tempering capabilities, both 2-D and cation the products are used most commonly,” she says.  
3
ing the limitations to what we can do.” technical questions that our clients may have. We have  
-D, that allow us to tackle a huge variety of projects, reduc- “Our staff is trained to provide answers to the various  
Yanez adds,“Making curved glass today is extremely com- a great team of technicians who are available to analyze  
plex because most of the projects bring a distinctive vision and review each one of the projects ... We also provide a  
on the part of each architect and designer.  
tolerance guide … indicating at all times how we comply  
It is very important to communicate effectively the pos- with the quality of our products.”  
Bissett says his company has a variety of information,  
sible realities from the design development stage to avoid  
unexpected issues or disconnect further down the line. calculators and product performance tables they provide  
Sharing our knowledge and expertise with our partners on to clients and architects, as well. “And because the ma-  
each project is the key to success.”  
Suppliers also play an essential role.  
jority of our products have to meet a number of interna-  
tional standards, we have to test and have our products  
We rely significantly on our suppliers to provide us with certified on a regular basis. This ensures the information  
quality raw products and go to great lengths to ensure what is correct and that our products are fit for purpose.”  
we use in our finished products is of the highest quality,” He adds, “As part of our service, we also provide onsite  
says Bissett. “The majority of our products require a great digital measuring of as-built structures, which helps to en-  
degree of process and labor in order to meet the standards sure that what we produce is going to fit.”  
44  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | February 2017  
www.usglassmag.com  
FACADES FLOORING COUNTERTOPS  
Honed or Polished  
Available in 12mm, 18mm, 30mm thickness  
Flat or Bent  
New Opportunities  
Moisture and scratch resistant  
As companies f nd new and innovative ways to fabricate  
and produce glass, and architects challenge the limits of  
possibilities, the options for using curved glass will also  
grow.While these developments may bring challenges, they  
also bring opportunities.  
“Don’t be afraid of using or specifying curved glass,”says  
Bissett. “Tempered glass is extremely durable and strong,  
and … curved glass is more aesthetically pleasing when  
compared to f at, faceted panels.”  
“It’s a form of art,” Yanez says. “It’s taking simple, clear  
glass to another level, with great design that’s special in its  
own way.” n  
Performs like stone  
Made of glass  
E l l e n R o g e r s is the editor of  
USGlass magazine. Follow her on  
Twitter @ USGlass and like USGlass on  
Facebook to receive updates.  
Find out more: www.pulpstudio.com/products/stoneglass  
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