That is an expression that is very popular in many facets of North American culture including movies, television, music, and windows. Yes, windows or any opening to the outdoors (curtain wall and storefront too). The desire to have wide-open spaces and uncluttered views has pushed the design community into specifying the largest glass products possible. This trend is called “oversize” by most but you will also hear the term “jumbo” as well. The movement has been years in the making and now thanks to the advancements in production and handling equipment the availability of oversize product is prominent.
Now a simple Google search of the term “oversize glass” brings multiple pages of listings and its become a popular item to promote marketing wise and at trade events. For many years architects were being told “no” when they asked to expand the glazing area without having to add mullions or frames. Now that answer has emphatically turned to “yes.”
The design community in their focus to “go big” continues to look for products that can also allow their projects to stand out from the rest. That means glass that offers an aesthetic or performance beyond the standard. Etched glass is one such material that delivers a unique look, one that continues to grow in popularity in architectural circles. Walker Glass is a leading manufacturer of etched glass with their Walker Textures® line and they made it a priority to advance their operation so they could provide the sizes design teams are specifying.
“As the oversize trend started to grow, we took a serious look at our operation and made the necessary investments to be able to support the market,” said Marc Deschamps, Business Development Manager at Walker Glass. We knew that we had a product line with Walker Textures® that is very popular but we’d be letting the architectural community down if we did not have the sizes they needed.”
The Walker Textures® Velour finish is available up to the massive size of 100” x 204”- which is truly “oversize” or “jumbo.” In addition the etched finish of Velour can be added to clear, low iron, and tints in thicknesses ranging from 3mm to 19mm all depending on available glass. This allows the architectural team to “go big” with a material they have been very active in using on a daily basis.
Another reason that designers push to jumbo glass is the ability to work in more natural light into the space. “Daylighting” is an attribute that is getting quite a bit of attention as of late, including several studies noting advanced productivity amongst workers and a healthier atmosphere for occupants occur with more natural light. However there has to be a limit to the amount of visible light that is transmitted or else issues such as glare becomes an irritant to the occupant. Walker Glass recognized that scenario as well.
“In high functioning operations there has to be a middle ground light wise. We developed the Velour etch to offer the joint benefit of allowing natural light to enter the space but adding an etched layer of opacity to keep the most harmful UV transmittance and glare out, added Deschamps.
As for the overall trend of “go big or go home” it is not stopping any time soon. Equipment and processes are continually being changed and updated to meet the needs of the architectural community and companies like Walker Glass are always developing the materials that will fit the ultimate vision of the design community.