The Global Glass Gathering
If there were Nobel prizes awarded to regions of the world for the innovative use of glass, it wouldn’t be hard to choose the winners in any category.
Best innovative use of glass/exterior—In general, you have to give that to the buildings of the Middle East, given the amazing designs we’ve seen in Qatar, Bahrain, the U.A.E. The designs of these buildings are truly imagineers with a magic wand of glass in their hands.
Best use of energy-efficient glass—I am going with the Scandinavians, because they have been the market leaders in the adoption of highly energy-efficient glass. Even triple glazing is de rigueur there.
Best innovative use of glass/interior—My pick would be the Europeans, for glass is everywhere in all different designs and applications. *Take a look at this basic room in a hotel near Heathrow (spent Saturday evening there myself). The very little cubby of a corner coffee bar comes alive as a result of the combination decorative imaged glass showing half the London Eye Ferris Wheel, and a mirrored half-wall perpendicular to it. The result is a coffee bar that looks sensational—and much bigger than it is.
The hotel also has something I have never seen before. (If you have, please let me know.) The half-wall of frameless glass in the shower is not unique, but the fact that it pivots and twists both into and out of the shower is. Hyatts and Intercontinentals tend to give you such glass walls in the bath, but they always make me cringe because, unless your arms are Frankenstein length, there is no way to adjust the water without getting wet. But this pivoting door handles that. It also has an anti-fog coating because it “de-steamed” in less than three minutes. Pretty innovative.
Most innovative use of glass/safety—Hand that award right over to the U.S. of A., because no one does safety and security glazing like we do. And we do it so well that it’s even hard to tell where it is. Between the pivoting shower door glass wall, which I doubt any code official would allow in the United States, and the abundant use of wired glass, it’s hard to find any consistency worldwide. But everywhere I look—everywhere—glass takes center stage as a worldwide building material of choice.
And speaking of a worldwide building materials, the entire glass world will be coming together this week for glasstec 2014, being held Tuesday-Friday at the Dusseldorf Messe in Germany. At the last glasstec in 2012, companies had just begun resurrecting their R&D departments and budgets. I can’t wait to see how much has been developed in the past two years. Glasstec is to glass what Cannes is to movies—if you can premier it here, you want to, because the whole world will be watching.
And so will we. I’ll be there, along with our USGlass editor Ellen Rogers and other team members who I will introduce along the way. If you are there, please stop and see us, too. We are in booth #A102 in Hall 13. If you are not, be sure to check USGNN.com™ often as we work to bring the show to you because this week, Dusseldorf is the center of the glass world.