Steven Jayson, vice president, Bendheim, Passaic, N.J.
"At Bendheim, we expect the 2011 residential sector will bring opportunities along with challenges for decorative architectural glass, especially in the areas of new multifamily housing construction and high-end kitchen and bathroom remodels. ... We believe the residential glass market will encounter more complex homeowner needs requiring aesthetics, low-maintenance and high quality. Ultimately, we hope the trend will bring specialty glass products to the foreground of consumers' design conscience and help the glass industry through the introduction of more value-added specialty glass types.
Having recognized these opportunities, Bendheim recently collaborated with Robert A.M. Stern Architects to create a distinct collection of high-end, low-iron, acid etched glasses available in ¼-inch, 3/8-inch and ½-inch thicknesses for interior partitions, framed and frameless shower enclosures, and furniture. The dimensional, dual-sided designs are produced in Italy and are exceptionally maintenance-friendly, making them uniquely suitable for challenging residential applications. They are targeted towards homeowners demanding more than the standard float glass."
Photo: Merletto of the Robert A.M. Stern Collection for Bendheim in a contemporary frameless shower enclosure. A mirrored version of Staccato from the same collection creates a complementary backsplash.
Antonio Aftimos, director of sales, Cristacurva, Laredo, Texas
"The next big thing in decorative glass is glass that actively controls the light and the sun by going from a transparent state to an opaque one. Our product, PrivaSwitch, allows the user to control visibility and light simply by flicking a switch and turning [the glass] either opaque or transparent."
Photo: Tempered, laminated PrivaSwitch glass floor in a residence at the Reforma 222 building in Mexico City.
Richard Balik, senior vice president of sales and co-owner, General Glass International, Secaucus, N.J.
"Highly customized and unique glass products are a trend that we see gaining traction for residential applications, such as shower doors, countertops and doors. At GGI, we specifically see this with digitally printed glass utilizing Alice direct-to-glass printing. Today, the possibilities are limitless with technology advances in digital printing. This makes it possible to provide our end customers with something highly unique and custom, even if it is a run as small as one piece. The big challenge is letting customers know that even with small quantities it is possible to get a unique, high-resolution, multicolor image produced on glass within a tight timeframe and budget. Until a few years ago, available technology made small runs cost prohibitive."
Diane Turnwall, market segment director, interiors Guardian Industries, Auburn Hills, Mich.
"The next big thing in decorative glass for residential applications is a technology that addresses the biggest reasons that homeowners are reluctant to use glass throughout their home: scratching and ease in cleaning. Guardian’s Diamond-Guard glass provides the solution to these common challenges. Its scratch-resistant properties make the glass more forgiving to surface scratches that can result from contact with everyday items like books, bags and keys, as well as serving utensils and glassware.
DiamondGuard also is easy to clean, requiring nothing more than water and a soft cloth. The patented coating can be applied to clear glass that can be further expanded by other decorative processes including mirror, back painting and silk-screening. Now, homeowners will enjoy the brilliance of glass in ways they never thought possible."
Mirrors and tables, made with Guardian DiamondGuard glass, designed by Marí Aní Oglouyan.
"Back-painted glass continues to grow in popularity, having made the transition from commercial applications like elevator lobbies to residential uses, such as countertops, backsplashes and shower stalls. M3 Glass Technologies manufactures ColorBak back-painted glass, utilizing a paint that is designed specifically for glass. It can be matched to any color desired, and it is highly durable."
Photo: Bathroom with ColorBak countertop and backsplashes.
"The next big thing in residential decorative glass is interior decorative glass partition walls, especially those mounted with hardware that allows them to be open or closed. Decorative glass partition walls allow lots of light transference within a home and give the appearance of larger spaces. At Meltdown Glass, we are getting requests for this and for decorative partitions cut into walls. Dining room wall inserts have been a favorite room for this, as have bathrooms with a privacy screen between the toilet and the rest of the bathroom."
Photo: Residential movable glass partition wall. Photo by Dino Tonn, Phoenix.
Max Perilstein, chief marketing officer, Vitro America, Memphis
"I don't know if shower enclosures can be considered new or a next big thing, but that market segment is primed for growth with the high-end, heavy decorative glass and new creative hardware options. More and more people are staying in their homes and remodeling, and the ability to dramatically remake their bath area with the use of incredible styles of glass will be foremost among their choices. Shower doors are also a healthier bathroom option from a cleanliness and bacteria angle, and [they] improve the value of the property."