Birgit Horn, Director glasstec
Birgit Horn, Director glasstec

glasstec 2014, the international trade fair for glass production, processing and products, is set to take place October 21-24 at Messe Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany. Thousands of visitors from around the world take part in the event which encompasses nine halls—roughly the equivalent of nine U.S. convention centers each. Not surprisingly, a lot of effort and planning goes into developing and managing the trade fair. Birgit Horn, director glasstec, Messe Düsseldorf, spent time talking to™ about the plans for this year’s staging and what attendees can expect.

Q: What’s the focus/direction this year’s event is taking? In other words, is there a certain message you want attendees to take away?

A: This year, glasstec will be the hotspot for the entire glass industry, and will offer innovations in every sector. “Discover the World of Glass” does a fantastic job of describing glasstec’s aspiration as a world-leading international trade show. The special show glass technology live offers a peek at the future of glass over the next several years with its exhibits, making it a characterizing element of every glasstec. This year’s motto is “Intelligent Glass,” which includes applications from various areas, such as intelligent building envelopes, façade + energy (solar), innovations in glass, and glass design and interior decoration.

Q: What are some trends in architectural glass attendees can expect to see and/or learn about in different sessions?

A: Within the areas I just mentioned, there are complex geometries in façades using curved glass. There are also new technologies for the visual design of glass used in buildings, including digital inkjet printing systems, which allow even extremely large formats to be printed with any imaginable motif in high quality, or laser subsurface engraving of glass, which creates fascinating effects. Or the subject of glass illumination, for example, where using integrated LEDs allows architects to give buildings a unique visual impact, even in the dark. Thin glass is another important trend. Overall, sustainability is the key theme, and within this context, energy efficiency is still on everyone’s mind.

Q: What can attendees expect this year that will be unique compared to past years?

A: One of glasstec’s trademark features is its comprehensive supporting program, which has been expanded even further for 2014. In the immediate vicinity of glass technology live, visitors will find the “Façade Center” along with the “Professional Center Glass + Façade.” One new feature of the Façade Center is the efnMobil from the European Façade Network. Here, students, along with the University of Applied Sciences in East Westphalia-Lippe, will create façade models live and offer façade consulting.

Q: There are many people in the U.S. glass industry who have yet to have the opportunity to attend glasstec. What is the one thing they would be surprised to know?

A:Even if they are familiar with the numbers, I hear from glasstec newcomers over and over again how impressed they are with the size and especially with the internationality of the event. After all, exhibitors from more than 50 countries come to Düsseldorf, and roughly 60 percent of the visitors are from abroad. A total of 86 nations were represented at glasstec 2012. Another thing that surprises many visitors is that numerous machines and systems are presented here in operation. We are able to do this without a problem thanks to Messe Düsseldorf’s excellent infrastructure.

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know?

A:I highly recommend that everyone who has decided to visit glasstec, as well as those who are still undecided, take a look at our website at In the “Industry Guide” area you will find a wealth of information on exhibitors and on the topic groups of the supporting program for the core target groups Mechanical Engineering; Manufacturing, Processing, Finishing; Crafts; Architecture + Construction; Windows + Façades; and Solar.