The Fabricator Front: Fabricators Exhibit their Wares at the AIA Show

Arch Aluminum & Glass, Oldcastle Glass and Viracon, North America's three largest glass fabricators, all took part in the recent AIA show in hopes of increasing and strengthening their presence in the architectural community.

"We're trying to increase our exposure and trying to introduce more people to the range of products and services we offer," said Max Perilstein, director of marketing for Arch.

Oldcastle Glass had a similar objective in exhibiting.

"[We want to] build our brand awareness with the architectural community," said Shawn Donovan, vice president of marketing for Oldcastle Glass.

Christine Shaffer, marketing manager of Viracon, also said being visual to the architects is important.

"We exhibited to have a presence with the architects and to show new products and technologies in the glass industry."
While it's not uncommon for show exhibiters to hand out pens, tablets, key chains and other freebies, these three exhibitors offered architects a chance to walk away with a little something more. How about I-Pods, Montblanc pens and Chihuly artwork for giveaways?

Arch was doing an I-Pod promotion. Along with their badge, pre-registered attendees were sent a pamphlet about the promotion, along with a bar code to be scanned in the Arch booth. Perilstein said they had ten I-Pods to give away.

"We had three times as many people as we've ever had," said Perilstein.

Oldcastle Glass was giving away Montblanc pens to the first 75 architects who visited their booth. Prior to the show a special card was mailed to architects, which they had to show in order to get the pen. John Bush, director of laminated glass products and development said the promotion went well.

Viracon chose to raffle a Chihuly art piece.

"There was definitely a lot of interest in that," she said. To promote the raffle, Shaffer said a pre-mailer was sent to 10,000 architects prior to the show.

And once the architects were visiting the fabricator booths they had lost of questions. After all, there's a wide span of products available.

According to Perilstein, architects were interested in decorative glass, hurricane-resistant glass and the company's green efforts. He said they were trying to show architects the many functions of laminated glass. Along these lines, the company was projecting a video onto glass that was laminated with a 7-percent white interlayer. "There were a lot of people who didn't realize they could use laminated glass in that way."

In Oldcastle Glass' booth laminated glass was also a hot topic.

"There was certainly a lot of interest in hurricane glass from architects all over the country," said Bush. "It's becoming a national topic, as there are architects in Chicago designing buildings for the southeast," he said. He added that there was also a lot of interest in security and blast products.

Kathy Finney, an architectural sales representative with Oldcastle Glass said she was seeing architects interested in large glass openings.

"Architects were interested in clear, thick glass and less metal," said Finney.

Finney added that she noticed an increase in the number of general contractors and glazing contractors at the show.

"They are also looking to see what architects want so that they can be on the same page as them," she added.

For Viracon, Shaffer said they also talked to many architects about a variety of glass products.

"We had a lot of inquiries for low-iron glass and the low-E coatings that are continuing to evolve," she said. "They [were also interested in] translucent glass products."

As architects continue to increase their use of glass, it's not surprising that all three fabricators agreed: this year's AIA show was a success.

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