Volume 48, Issue 11- November 2013

CompanyNews

Glass Gets Bigger, Hardware Responds

An emphasis on the glass, not the metal. Custom designs and variety of choices.

A high-end look that doesn’t break the bank.

These are some trends that providers of commercial hardware for glass doors and entrances see in the future. In many cases, such trends are driven by the broader, overarching movement toward—and emphasis on—a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic, which itself is driving the market toward glass in the first place.

The trend is moving toward larger, heavier glass for openings,” says Jerry Whitcomb, senior product manager for glass and interior solutions at Dorma USA Inc.

“They [i.e., architects and others] want that really wide open space feel,” agrees Emily Paecht, a member of the decorative hardware team for Assa Abloy, parent company of Rockwood Manufacturing Co.

Some large architectural firms are really pushing bigger and heavier, says Whitcomb. While previously the standard was ½-inch, or even 3/8-inch glass, it’s now moving toward the 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch range. That allows for larger openings and better sound dampening, and also gives an overall heavy-duty impression.

Translation: glass is good, and these days, everyone knows it. But what does that mean for the hardware that goes with it? In the context of minimalism, anything that gets in glass’s way should be—well, minimized. To complement those larger glass openings, architects are pushing for “less metal, more glass,” says Whitcomb, adding that a demand for environmentally-friendly applications is also behind the trend.

Equally as notable as the trends themselves, is how suppliers are responding. The premium placed on aesthetics nowadays has implications for glass hardware that go beyond mere minimalism. Value is placed on design elegance, originality, and, of course, recognized quality. Nothing, for example, beats the shine of brass. Right?

Not so fast. Market dynamics at play at any given time are capable of stopping any trend in its tracks. Two particular trends today, in fact, pull against each other in opposite directions: the burgeoning emphasis on a higher-end look, juxtaposed against the post-recession need to watch the bottom line.

A new solution from Bella Architectural Products seeks to corral those diergent trends in order to create a business win for the company. Bella has invested in electrophoretic coating technology so that it can offer a high-end look at an affordable price. The differentiator for this coating is that unlike powder coating, it can be applied at ultra-thin and exacting levels (“within a few thousandths,” as company president Mark Ingratta says). This allows the company to match the looks of the higher-end metals.

“We can coat an aluminum handle to look like stainless, we can coat it to look like brass,” explains Brian Neagle, national director of sales. “You put a nice, thin coating on it, and it looks spectacular.”

his coating technology actually provides some advantages to the real thing. The thin-application technology allows for a variety of options: scratch- and tarnish-resistant properties can be added, and even an antimicrobial coating can be used. The latter coating has been a mainstay for hospital applications for some time, but Bella Architectural’s technology allows the company to deliver the offering to a new market at an affordable price, the company says. That, Neagle hopes, will turn out to be a tempting product option, particularly in an era when recent pandemics have made everyone all the more zealous about good public health practices.

Most importantly, “The cost of brass and bronze continue to go through the roof,” notes Ingratta, and so now the company can give its customers a third option if they want brass but it isn’t within the budget.

Similar to Bella Architectural, for Assa Abloy and subsidiary Rockwood Manufacturing, high end means choice and originality. Rockwood offers an array of options, for example, on pulls—from locks to leather wraps. The company also prides itself on building to order.

“Rockwood can create anything custom, anything unique,” says Paecht.

One such example requested of the company that uses leather: a custom pull incorporating a baseball.

Different companies have different approaches to turning trends into opportunities, but they seem to all agree on one thing: Glass is a good place to be. “Glass hardware right now is just going crazy,” says Dorma USA’s Whitcomb. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of the glass portfolio.”-Carl Levesque

Northern Expansion
Northern Architectural Systems, the wall systems subsidiary of Northern Building Products, has completed its move to an 82,000-square-foot plant in Carlstadt, N.J.

“This expansion is in response to the growth and expected growth in this part of our market segment” says vice president of business development Mike Richards.

In order to maintain its local presence after the move, Northern also opened a sales and customer service group office in Fultonville, N.Y.

“We are excited to bring this operation close to our Teterboro, N.J., headquarters and closer to our home marketplace,” adds president Robert Pecorella.

The Glass Guru Continues its U.S. Expansion
The Glass Guru franchise trained an additional four franchisees during the month of August, bringing the number of new franchisees that have joined the organization this year to 18. The most recent franchise owners have expanded the company’s presence in Arizona, California, Maryland and Virginia.

Patrick Vance completed his initial training at The Glass Guru corporate office in Roseville, Calif., on August 9. Vance has previous experience as a business owner and in the ministry as a pastor.

Another new franchisee is David Levine, of Laurel, Md., who completed his initial training in Roseville. Levin has previous experience in the granite and roofing industries.

In addition, Alex Haliburton is opening a Staunton, Va., facility and Michael Starr will open his franchise in Avondale, Ariz.

Northern Architectural Systems Expands

Northern Architectural Systems, the wall systems subsidiary of Northern Building Products, has completed its move to an 82,000-square-foot plant in Carlstadt, N.J.

“This expansion is in response to the growth and expected growth in this part of our market segment” says vice president of business development Mike Richards.

In order to maintain its local presence after the move, Northern also opened a sales and customer service group office in Fultonville, N.Y.

“We are excited to bring this operation close to our Teterboro, N.J., headquarters,” adds president Robert Pecorella.



USG
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