Glass Week Gets Underway
Glass Week 2007, sponsored by the Glass Association of North America (GANA),
is underway today at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla.
The meeting got started over the weekend with speakers on topics as diverse
as technology, branding and globalization. Many of these motivational speakers
looked toward the future, inspiring GANA members to follow suit during the divisional
meetings, which last through this Wednesday.
With respect to the association's growing decorative glass division, members
were asked to think about the possibilities of glass during a presentation on
emerging products in decorative glass. Rachel Long of Hospitality Design magazine
discussed trends where she sees possibilities for designers to use more glass.
Her slides were filled with images that demonstrated iconic aspects of decoration;
high contrast between materials, textures and colors (picture sleek glass walls
on two sides of a bathroom, and brick on the others); chameleon materials (in
one of her examples lighted glass columns shifted and blended into the materials
around them); and the trend toward building green, with examples of how glass
can let natural light into a space. Jane Skeeter of UltraGlas Inc. followed with
countless slides of the creative possibilities for using glass-slides showed glass
tiles in water features, dichroic glass creating light patterns in architecture,
glass chairs, glass sculpture and even a glass outfit Skeeter had created.
As each of the presenters noted, the ability to use glass in unusual applications
is becoming more viable.
"The improvement of hardware has really helped us," said Skeeter. The session
offered a taste of what may be discussed during the decorative glass division
meeting on Tuesday morning.
The association also took a look at history with a presentation from Joseph
Smith, senior vice president of Applied Research Associates Inc., who discussed
hurricane- and blast-resistant products.
Smith noted the comments of a terrorist who had been arrested a
year ago after targeting a courthouse in Minnesota. The building
had been targeted "because it was made of a lot of glass and it
was close to the street," Smith reported. The image of vulnerability
is changing due to the use of blast-resistant products.
One item that Smith addressed was that protection is not just
required of high-profile targets, such as federal buildings, but
also to the buildings around them. He noted that when it comes to
protecting structures from blasts, collateral damage is an important
In discussing the technology available for protecting buildings
from blasts-including laminated glass, window films and catcher
systems-Smith made another keen observation: to work, the system
must be installed correctly. In one video he showed a blast test
and viewers could see the monolithic piece of glass shatter into
the inside of the building, as the unit had been installed backwards,
based on the manufacturer's instructions.
"About 40 percent of the windows we have procured-from three major suppliers-have
been mislabeled," Smith said.
Smith also addressed hurricane resistant-products. In particular, he discussed
models based on the Gulfport, Miss., courthouse, which had featured examples of
both blast- and hurricane-resistant glazing. Upon visiting the building, the water
damage it had suffered was found to be primarily from damage to the roof. An inspection
found that only the exterior panes had failed on the hurricane-resistant windows,
and that failure occurred on less than 25 lites. Only one interior pane was cracked,
and even that remained in the frame.
"We are working diligently with the [Mississippi] government to develop a hurricane
plan similar to what is in Florida," Smith commented. "That will be an emerging
market for many of you."
This morning, Chris Barry of Pilkington also looked at technology
with a presentation on the visibility of tempered quench marks.
He noted that a quench pattern is an inevitable function of heat
tempered glass, it is not a defect. That being said, he added that
customers are complaining more today about the appearance of such
spots. "In today's construction it is regularly visible," Barry
Barry recommended supplying architectural samples to match the final specification-even
if it means heat treating a 12-inch square sample-and viewing a full-size mock-up
on site under a blue sky. The quench marks are more easily visible with polarized
light, he explained. Barry also warned that the effect cannot be eliminated in
heat tempered glass, and that the pattern is more visible with thicker glass,
high transmission glass and multi-layer glass. Anti-reflective coatings can reduce,
but not eliminate, the marks, he said.
One listener quipped that beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder; in
his mall at home quench marks from a skylight are cast upon a sporting goods store
at certain times of day. Seeing this, his wife had once noted, "That's beautiful-how
do they do that?"
Looking forward, the association introduced its president for the year ahead,
Andy Gum of Thomas Glass. During Sunday night's dinner, President Julie Schimmelpenningh
was thanked for her leadership over the last year and presented with a token of
appreciation-an award that Gum jokingly referred to as the "Ganny," having discovered
that Schimmelpenningh had once been nominated for a Grammy Award for polka. While
there was no demonstration of her musical talent that evening, there was plenty
of music and dancing into the night, courtesy of La Mystique dancers who provided
the evening's entertainment.
Stay tuned to USGNN for updates from Glass