Initially it was quite disarming to learn about the new bulletproof glass being installed at one of France’s busiest tourist attractions – the Eiffel Tower, but then again, it really is a sign of the sometimes difficult and challenging times we seem to live in these days, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Bulletproof and blast resistant glass is deemed the most fitting material for the job and I sense this may the first of many safety overhauls, and not just in Paris.
The iconic Parisian wrought iron tower has been the symbol of France and all its people have endured and celebrated since it was built in 1887. Equally, it is associated with the romance that is synonymous with the French Capital and attracts on average around 7 million visitors every year.
Soon work will begin on 2.5 metre high walls of bullet resistant glass that will protect the 324-metre tower from terrorist attacks. The glass barriers will cost around €20m to install at the northern and southern ends of the monument which sits in the heart of Paris, while ornate fencing will be installed on the western and eastern sides.
In the wake of a spate of terrorist strikes, in which the city has been targeted since 2015 with 238 people losing their lives to date; and coupled with France’s current bid to host the 2024 Olympics, there are fears that the capital’s top tourist sites may continue to be targeted. The special glass walls will also prevent individuals or vehicles from storming the site.
Jean-Francois Martins, Deputy Mayor in Paris commented earlier this year: “The terror threat remains high in Paris, and the most vulnerable sites, starting with the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures.”
Architect Dietmar Feichtinger has been brought in to design the walls to blend with the river which flows alongside the north border of the tower. Clearly, aesthetics have played a large part in this particular redevelopment programme.
Feichtinger told France 24: “It’s very important to keep transparency and to keep the site open as part of the project.”
Jean-François Martins continued, ”We have three aims: improve the look, make access easier and strengthen the protection of visitors and staff. The idea is to build a “permanent and aesthetic barrier.”
Stunning and Strong
The strength and aesthetic that glass brings to design both inside and outside, is creating bold statements that reinforce its power as a luxury item. Glass in bathroom design is nothing new but the concepts being introduced now are making the most of its diverse adaptability.
When it comes to the concept, processors are keen to provide one-stop-glass-shopping arenas for designers and architects, with diverse product portfolios being created that help their own customers to grow their business.
Shower screens, mirrors, glazed partitions, or beautifully created basins – whatever its practical use in these rooms, it can be made into a real feature and builders are seeing the potential in that when approaching the consumer sector.
Glass is now a luxury feature in bathrooms with shower walls and doors created to lighten the space. Glass bricks are popular due to the combined functionality and decorative touch that they can add to both main and en-suite bathrooms.
Being low maintenance, glass can provide privacy without diminishing the size of a room meaning curved glass walls or glass block patterns can add considerable value. For builders, glass as a material has so much scope with contemporary designs creating luxury that everyone can afford.
Being a ‘natural’ product large glass panelling is in a ‘renaissance’ period with glass itself being adapted to offer unique, long-lasting qualities that attract people with all sized budgets.
A quick reminder that the National Fenestration Awards ‘Coolwall’ is now ready to accept projects for its monthly competition. Open to everyone in the fenestration sector, winners for the month of August will be announced at the beginning of September.
This is fast becoming a route of exceptional recognition for the industry and what can be better than being voted for by your peers? It is run by the industry for the industry and is quickly growing into a highly respected avenue that promotes the best in quality standards across the sector.
The Awards are heading into their fifth campaign this year with previous winners now building upon the reputations earned from the event. Aiming to be the fairest, all-inclusive fenestration event in the industry, the NFA team states that the accolades are growing in popularity with all competitions run and decided completely by the participation of the industry.
Many congratulations to last month’s winners, Sash UK and KP Double Glazing, which focused on the installation of two sets of six meter wide In-line patio doors as well as all of the windows in Anthracite grey on white, for a new build property on a farm near Grimsby. The work has led to referral business for the installation company – surely, there can be no greater recommendation than that!
Helen Duval 2017