A Final Bow to BAU
It’s amazing to me that more than 150,000 individuals involved in construction attended the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Vegas and, at the same time, more than 250,000 similarly situated individuals attended the BAU (Build) construction show in Munich, Germany. I have been writing about the show quite a bit these last few weeks. Today, I want to focus on the trends in doors and windows at the show.
Halls B4 and C4 were the focus for doors and windows of all types, as well as locks, fittings, access and sunshade systems. Here are some of the notable European trends most likely to make their way across the Atlantic in time for the next IBS Show:
- Triple Glazing No Triple Threat: The use of triple, and even quadruple, glazing in residential homes was not considered extraordinary. Many of the systems I reviewed offered these options as easily as we offer double-pane glazing in the states.
- Come Home to Curtainwall: In higher-end residential facades, that is. The use of curtainwall is starting to expand from only the highest priced homes to other residences—still affluent and custom, of course, but not nearly at the same level.
- Lock It Up: The biggest trends were in security. Specifically, from the use of biometrics for access to buildings (a fingerprint match or retina scan in multi-unit housing) to the stylishness of some locking systems to the newest ways to secure all glass doors, BAU had a lock on lock design and aesthetics.
- Doors as Artwork: Beautiful doors and door hardware in abundance permeated BAU, including some innovative use of new materials, such as decorative glass that looked more like artwork with an exit sign above it than a door.
- A Pretty Shading Deal: Many window lines offered blinds encased in glass as an option. Such offerings were not unusual, as the “sandwich with glass for bread and blinds for meat” has become commonplace.
- Hardware Beyond Compare: No one does hardware like the Europeans. Some designs were works of art, others factories of function. Others were playful for specific applications, but all of them were quite spectacular. I found myself saying, “why can’t we get that here?” about the hardware more than any other product category.
- Let’s Twist Again: Tilt-and-turn windows are in style again – but with new variations on the theme. I saw a window where the twist-and-turn function was controlled electronically on the window handle—you could press a button to determine how the window would open. I also saw newer designs that were more horizontal than vertical, designed for clean residential lines and multi-family housing.
- Shh! It’s a Secret: New door composites that sported major new performance capabilities were on display … but no one was willing to talk about what exactly those composites were. “It’s proprietary,” “It’s still in testing,” “It is not widely available yet,” were familiar refrains.
- If You are Not Part of the Solution…: In this case, I saw new solutions to decades old problems of locking all-glass doors in an aesthetically-pleasing manner without bending down. Done.
- Energy Efficiency? No-Brainer: Emphasis on energy efficiency was not particularly heavy, because … well… just about all the fenestration products I viewed were very efficient. “We could not sell them in Europe if they weren’t,” said one supplier. “There is no choice.”