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Clippings and Musings – Glazing – Helen Duval 2016

With Christmas on the doorstep this will be the last Clippings and Musings of 2016, and what a year it’s been. There have been some incredible highlights with product innovations such as the launch of Optima from Profile 22 Systems as well as Avocet and Alpro innovating the market with more advanced security options across domestic and commercial sectors.

Through the #NFA16 Awards, we have seen the recent recognition of some excellent companies in the sector, all of whom strive to raise the standards of the industry even higher. A massive well done to the winners who were all chosen by their peers ….is there any greater accolade of success than a nod from your contemporaries?

Oxford Street Commercial

Blavatnik BuildingThe glass industry as a whole has seen great achievements over the last 12 months with new legislation giving even greater credibility to the sector; performance and smart glass offering new dynamics that give end users improved lifestyles and security; while concept design has been reaching phenomenal new heights. Whether it was glass roofed hospitals in Liverpool, a rippled new commercial development on Oxford Street or the space age Blavatnik building in Oxford that ‘plays on the idea of the picture frame’ as a window on the world – glass has been an intrinsic element in creating bold new building designs across the UK this year that are leading the way architecturally.
Swimming Pool with GlassSwimming Pool with Glass ItalyAlso, there have been some striking building designs where glass was the key focal point that added a touch of escapism into the whole concept. The Hotel Hubertus for example, that sits at the foot of a ski and hiking area in Valdaora, Italy, included a new 25m swimming pool positioned almost 12m above the ground between two accommodation wings. Swimming Pool with GlassThe infinity edge pool gives guests uninterrupted views of the valley and mountains where it is situated and incorporates slightly raised sides rather than a barrier that would normally obstruct views. All of this is adorned with an angled glass wall that dominates as a front feature. A glazed opening in the underside of the structure has been incorporated to provide visitors with a relaxing floating sensation. Whether you like heights or not, the architect has probably achieved his aim of giving the impression of floating “weightlessly between heaven and earth.”

Glass has the ability to make an infrastructure look incredibly elegant adding real beauty to a building. Whether it’s architecturally as decoration or as a space saving addition to a room in the form of a glass partition, it makes its statement. It’s scope continues to grow as heat retention, light and energy efficiency combine to be crucial elements for investors, all of which continue to dominate both commercial and domestic developments.

Andy Green and Mark Walker - Selecta 2Glass materials not only distinguish the appearance and energy efficiency of buildings, but as an adaptable product it is fast becoming a symbol of luxury. Things can only get better and it will be exciting to see the innovations that are introduced next year. Already, Selecta Systems is set to introduce new products that will simplify fabrication and installation with innovations that are about to get the industry buzzing. There is an enthusiasm there that’s infectious as Andy Green and Mark Walker look to launch some subtle but very important changes to the Advance 70 system. They appear to epitomise business revolution as we steer towards 2017…so watch this space.

Making Light Of It

As mentioned last month, one project I intend to keep my eye on next year is the design competition that will light up London’s bridges and I really hope that some solar powered solutions are included.

Fighting off fierce competition, American ‘light artist’ Leo Villareal has been announced as the winner alongside British architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

The concept will now be developed further by the winning team together with a number of stakeholders and some other relevant parties along the river. The public will also be consulted as the project to illuminate 17 bridges between Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge begins to take place next year.

Hannah Rothschild, chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, commented on the winning concept, “Leo Villareal’s proven ability to paint with light matched with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ direct experience of building bridges over the Thames was an irresistible and inspirational combination.

“Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation. The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.”

In closing, I thought I would look at some business planning, particularly as, at this time of year, there are many companies reviewing strategies and making new business plans for next year. For MyTrade that’s coming in the form of expansion, which is exciting for the whole team, so stay tuned.

When we consider success in the business world there are a few exceptionally successful entrepreneurs that may naturally leap to mind, for example Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, all of whom have very individual and successful business models.

Business As Usual

There’s one person however who is potentially the most successful of all when you look at a number of key business strategies he employs. For years he has inspired customer loyalty with approximately 2.2 billion customers worldwide, using very simple techniques that attract good customers only. He listens to what each and every customer wants each year and subject to a few very simple conditions, he delivers exactly what they ask for – making good customers his priority and earning their loyalty.

Even through difficult economic times, which let’s face it could be on the cards in the not too distant future, this man adapts his products accordingly, cutting back where necessary without losing any quality and he can still supply to demand globally, even in the toughest of times. He adapts his budgets when necessary, diversifies his range every year and has a killer marketing campaign that has easily accommodated all forms of media, the internet and social media to help promote his services.

As a family run business, he has built an incredibly strong team of diligent workers around him who, through his encouragement and reward system, have total faith in his vision. It’s a success story that has been running for generations and it continues to do so today.

A lot rests on his ability to deliver on time and on the right date and this has been achieved by surrounding himself with the right individuals who ensure that the operational side of the business runs smoothly.

He does take long holidays once a year but he also gives others the chance to recharge their batteries too in the run up to their next shift.

When you look at it this way, Santa Claus has a fabulous business model to work from – listening to customers and rewarding staff loyalty have to be two fundamental factors that guarantee success, don’t they?

Have a great Christmas everyone and here’s to a very successful New Year for all !

See you next year!

Helen Duval 2016

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