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
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
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
“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.
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
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;
• 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
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
“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
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.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.