Glass Presentation Draws Big Crowd in Las Vegas
Although attendance on the trade show floor was sparse, a surprisingly
large crowd showed up at the Las Vegas Convention Center this past
Wednesday morning for a GlassBuild America panel discussion on decorative
glass. Moderated by Steve Schiamara, national sales manager for
World Glass, the presentation included four panelists who each talked
about the growth of the decorative glass market. Panelists were
Belinda Bennett, principal with Bennett Design Group; Randy Brooks,
president of Gardner Glass Products; Stew Langer a designer and
founder of UroGlass®; and Victor Trnavskis, president of NGI
Bennett, the designer of the panelists, talked about the importance
of communicating and working with interior designers.
"You [the glass supplier] don't want to be just a vendor,
but one who helps create the design solution," said Bennett,
who also offered some advice for glass companies interested in getting
involved in decorative glass.
"Sponsor an event and open your showroom to get designers
in firsthand," she said. "Designers need to [be able to
get to] know glass companies and we need to work with [glass companies]
we know will follow through."
And for companies that do not have a showroom, she encouraged them
to open one as it can help establish a permanent presence within
the architecture and design community.
Overall, though, Bennett emphasized how important it is for glass
companies to be a part of the entire design process.
"You can keep your product on the project by communicating
with the designer," said Bennett. "Work with us as a team."
Randy Brooks was the next presenter and he took a broader approach
to the subject of decorative glass.
"The [glass] industry is dealing with a lot of scarce resources,"
he said, referring to how in the past few months a number of float
plants have closed, while others have been shut-down for re-builds
and repairs. "All of this is changing the dynamics of the products
we have available. Plus, the primaries don't want to make commodity
clear glass anymore and we need to think about what glass is available
and how we are going to use it," he said.
Brooks next talked to his audience members about how they can best
utilize the resources they have. He suggested companies should learn
about lean techniques.
"That does not mean doing the same work but with fewer people,"
he said. "Lean is for all types of businesses and it enables
you to be more nimble."
When it comes to trends, Brooks pointed out that when home starts
are down, remodeling often benefits.
"We're seeing that consumers want authenticity and products
that will give them a sense of ownership," said Brooks. Some
trends of late include adding color and also going green.
In addition, he encouraged audience members to look for new customers
and to build alliances. For example, he said granite and marble
companies have started re-tooling their equipment lines to accommodate
Stew Langer from Uroglass spoke next and talked about how the decorative
glass of old relates to the decorative glass of today. He said that
while decorative glass was first discovered during the Bronze Age
(3000 B.C.), much happened between then and when the fist float
line was invented, including the development of antique glass, stained
glass and etched glass.
"But everything we know that's new and exciting has happened
since the first float line," said Langer, who added, "We've
expanded what we do by identifying all the places you can use glass."
This can include sinks and countertops, walls, dividers, railings,
floors and stairs
the list goes on.
"If you're only thinking 'glazing' you're not looking at the
big picture," he added.
Langer also said the future of decorative glass is very closely
tied to the future of flat glass.
"We've got to pay a lot of attention to the environment and
sustainability," Langer said. In closing, he echoed what Bennett
had said earlier.
"Be a part of the architectural solution; push the envelope
and get this stuff out there."
As the final presenter, Victor Trnavskis shared a series of photos
that showed many different applications and uses of decorative glass.
"It's endless what you can do," he said. "Look at
what some of the big players are doing." He also talked about
a few trends. These include color, combining glass and stone, 3-D
assemblies and digital technologies.
He said some companies shy away from working with decorative glass
because they are afraid of running into problems, but this work
can offer great opportunities.
"If you do [decorative glass work] you will become known in
your area as 'the company that does that type of work.'"
For more from GlassBuild America 2008 don't miss the December
2008 USGlass magazine. Sign up here www.decorativeglassmag.com
to reserve your own subscription to the new Decorative Glass magazine.
HERE to view a video of some of the decorative glass products
from GlassBuild America.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?
HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.