Architects Guide to Glass, Decorative Glass, USGlass

Don’t Trend on Me

The amount of change in the world, and the pace at which it occurs, continues to amaze me. Take trends for example. Trends are no longer things, they’re actions. So here’s my top five list of what’s “trending” in the glass world of the future:

1 – Acoustical purity: As restaurant critics begin to rate the amount of noise in the establishments they review, and concert halls start to publish their acoustical ratings, we can see how important noise, or the lack of it, has become. This new emphasis will be true in the glass industry, as well. The importance of acoustical ratings, and acoustical glass products, will continue to grow. It’s a trend that must be listened to.

2 – Looking over the edge: New technology and new machines have brought with them new ways to edge glass. Look for glass edging to become almost an art form in the future. And watch for some combination of technology and machines to create circumstances where custom edges become more the norm than the exception.

3 – A glaring issue: Publicity about buildings like the “walkie-talkie” building in London, or others that have melted traffic cones on the street, have led to increased discussion around glare. I recently attended a symposium about the subject and was fascinated to learn how highly scientific the study of glare actually is. The variety and depth of glare matrices astounded me. There’s even a four-level scale to define glare in layman’s terms. Glare, it seems, goes from being imperceptible to perceptible then disturbing to intolerable. I was heartened to see, however, that the most “clearing” example of glare run amok was the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Those of you who know the building know that metal, not glass, was the culprit. But glass glare itself will be a new item to be evaluated and mitigated in the future.

4 – “Watson” glass: This glass trend is named in honor of Watson, the computer IBM created that can perform human functions, including play Jeopardy on TV. It can think within human context. And that’s exactly what glass is going to do in the future. Glass will adapt to the environmental conditions, as well as to the desires of its owner. It will change based on conditions and feelings of the day and will be controlled by the user. Got the Monday morning blues? Log in and your glass will, too.

5 – Privacy please: The need and desire for the ability to block out Wi-Fi and other electronic media has advanced as quickly as the need to use Wi-Fi and other electronic media. Nearly 25 years ago, I visited a primary manufacturer outside of this country who must remain nameless. I was taken to a small room in which a radio and television were on. My host explained how there were many types of “rays” in the atmosphere that send signals and other information. This technology was used for good, of course, but it was also used to spy on U.S. embassies and other secure locations around the world. My host then took a box made completely out of glass that was open on one side and covered both the TV and the radio. Both went dead. The signal was interrupted and could no longer reach its intended targets. I often think about that demonstration in our current completely digital age. Expect glass that will stop Wi-Fi and other technology on command.

How trendy!