In the last year, demand has increased dramatically for materials making bold design statements, as well as for nature-inspired patterns and textures creating relaxing, spa-like spaces.
As a result, new designs are springing up, adding ever more variety to the architectural decorative glass palette, already brimming with aesthetic options. Glasses featuring colors, textures, patterns, as well as fabrics, wood or metal now adorn interior walls, doors, floors, furniture, and building façades.
“Decorative glass is now ubiquitous in architecture, but this has not always been the case,” said Robert Jayson, President of Bendheim. “Today’s abundance is a result of creative collaborations formed by architects, designers and specialty glass companies in the pursuit of innovative solutions to design challenges.”
Architects and designers have always challenged the glass industry to push the physical limitations of glass and develop creative yet financially sound products. Less than a century ago, architects almost exclusively designed with flat, clear glass, as there were few suitable decorative options. Art, or stained, glasses brought color and art into buildings, first to houses of worship and luxury homes, and later to public spaces. Robert Sowers’ glass facade designed for the American Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport was one such example. Built in 1960, it was longer than a football field and more than 20-feet high.
The glass for the JFK project came from Bendheim, the importer of mouth-blown Lamberts glass from Germany. The company began offering decorative glasses for architectural applications in 1980, with the development and introduction of Restoration Glass®, a clear, slightly distorting mouth-blown glass for use in windows and doors of historic and reproduction buildings. It now graces many famous homes in the country, including The White House, Mount Vernon, and Monticello.
As architects became more interested in decorative glasses, the quest to convert these products into safety materials began. Liquid resin lamination and refined tempering programs allowed textured and colored art glasses to become compliant with building safety codes. Bendheim partnered with factories around the world and successfully transformed hundreds of its decorative glass varieties into building products.
“At an AIA Convention in the early 1990s, Bendheim’s small 10’x10’stand became one of the most visited spots thanks to the hundreds never-before-seen decorative architectural glasses we exhibited,” said Donald Jayson, Sr. Vice President of Bendheim.
In 1989, Bendheim established the first U.S. architectural glass showroom in New York City. This was followed by a number of other “firsts” for the company – it became the first to enter the U.S. market with an extensive collection of European textured glass, the first to offer maintenance-friendly, stain-resistant acid etched glass as a superior alternative to sandblasted glass, and the first to offer large-format post consumer recycled glass for architectural applications.
“As a company with such a long track record, we see our future inextricably connected to the past, particularly in regards to our long-standing relationships with glass suppliers and design professionals worldwide,” said Steven Jayson, Vice President of Bendheim. “These relationships have been an important part of our success and are essential to our continued growth and never-ending innovation.”
Partnering with architects seeking unique design solutions has always been a driving force for Bendheim. In its vertically integrated New Jersey production facilities the company brings architectural concepts to life and tests new manufacturing technologies and processes. To answer the present market demands, Bendheim is introducing several new architectural glass lines this year, offering rich colors, serene patterns inspired by nature, and luxurious aesthetics to the design world.