Interview with Window and Facade Magazine

1.            Architectural hardware industry is becoming increasingly design-oriented. Comments on the need for choosing right kind of hardware for windows, doors and facades? How to select the right products?
Great design lies in the detail. Often, the least salient components of a space speak of its true stature. Minute details like -in door controls, locks, and lever handles, for example, can help distinguish between a noteworthy or any runof-the-mill project. Architectural hardware is to a space what nuts and bolts are to a machine, in other words, it is what holds a space together, helping it function smoothly. The industry is becoming increasingly design-orientated too with an increasing number of companies coming up with solutions that are practical, sound and technicallyadvanced, yet aesthetically appealing. The technology behind the product is also evolving, defining the quality of the product in the eyes of the end buyer. Despite the economy of the Indian Market being a key issue in our opinion it’s the product which manages to strike a balance between aesthetic performance and pricing which usually becomes the dominant force in the industry.

2.            What are the criteria for selection of Architectural hardware for facades and fenestrations? What advice would you give to your consumers/clients?  
With the entry of international systems, equipment and hardware firms, the Indian architectural hardware for façade and fenestration has also evolved over the years. Advancement in technology has given precision to products with quality and sustenance. Along with the use of technology, design has also evolved over these years. The transparent building trend has been taking over in metropolitan areas over the past few decades. Fueling the designer’s interests to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with lighter support structures, taller unsupported facades, and less hardware/connection points. One of these avenues for progressive design is the resurgence of the highly transparent facades. Making the highly reflective glass and punched openings for buildings a thing of the past. Clients are advised to make purchases that necessitate items which have field tested stance in the market and new players who believe in winning us over with expansive prototyping.

3.            More and more companies are coming up with solutions that are functional, durable and technically-advanced, but aesthetically appealing as well. Please elaborate on trends in architectural hardware products? What are the common materials preferred for architectural hardware?
While some spaces are content being functional, others evolve into aspirational art forms. The difference is not in technology but rather it is in design. Designs should be sensitive to Context, Client, Environment and Business Processes and the same principle goes in designing a beautiful yet functional façade. In fact, the first gesture of an architect is to draw a perimeter; this perimeter which separates the microclimate from the macro space outside, yet is an ode to the communication between finite and infinite.
Conveying this idea, there are various factors which are considered important while designing, specifying and selecting a window or a façade solution. 
Architectural hardware is generally preferred by architects to be engineered for long life cycles with low maintenance. Thus materials are generally those which adhere to these criteria. Modern day alloys are breaking barriers when it comes to material selection.

4.            The technologies behind the products are also evolving rapidly. Please tell us about the latest technologies in hardware products you look for?
The architectural hardware industry has evolved over the years. Technology and its use have increased many folds giving precision to products with quality and sustenance. Along with the use of technology, design has also evolved over these years. A universal principal of great design is that it must adhere to all the senses, thus, good products keep into account not just the physical aesthetic but the very important kinesthetic.
A truly modern product is one which is considering all these design factors plus safety and long term sustainability.
Technologies are constantly changing and evolving based on performance and customer and client requirements. Different markets have distinct trends that are rooted in both historical and cultural norms, which evolve due to changes in building regulations or other factors.
For the high-end market, prestigious projects look to their competitors in key cities that have established epochal buildings and seek to borrow from their opulence and material palette. As such many new high-rise buildings are stretching the sizes and process limits of the materials available to provide a grander aesthetic.
There are a large number of new products coming onto the market, some of which are very exciting. Progress in concrete with products such as Ultra-High Performance Concrete – which is a very high strength concrete that can be used in a variety of ways particularly for prefabricated panels – and light transmitting concrete offer exciting opportunities.

5.            It is observed that architects bring a very different approach to the design of architectural hardware, striving for something that resonates with the character and palette of the building rather than concentrating just on the function of the product. Are there enough products available in the market which would satisfy the needs of architects/ developers?
Architects considering product design have long looked to hardware as a starting point. 
Architects tend to start from appearance rather than function, whereas product designers tend to work from function back to appearance. Architects seem to have more of an idea of what they want to do, and then they try to adapt that into something that will work.
The tactic has proven successful in recent years, adding a new vertical to the market for architectural hardware. Broadly speaking, today’s competitive market has a wide palette of selections available to architects/ developers all because we live in a global village and distance is not a barrier anymore.

6.            Please give us a brief note on your latest project in which  façade /fenestration hardware product are used innovatively (not more than 130 words, we need 2 high resolution images of the project too in JPEG format of high resolution).

Inaugurated in May, 2016. The recently completed Club Hollywood Blvd. In Mohali is intended to encapsulate the modern kinesthetic facade. The nightclub features a DMX lighting system which makes the ceiling of the club ever changing and ever alive. 
The system is called “alive” because it responds to the amount of people in the club and to the mood of the music changing its intensity concurrently with the help of sensors inside of the premises. 
This is reflected to the kinesthetic light show on the exterior facade titillating the senses of the audience to tastes of waters inside of the club. The Design involved a scintillating amount of innovation and custom engineering from the designers end. 
Cocooning all the electronics are layers of ACP cladding which were CNC routed to accommodate for the unique facade design incorporating the signature kinesthetic lighting. 

Photograph during construction showing ACP cladding detail
Photograph showing completed facade

7. Please brief on the criteria while choosing hardware for doors, windows and facades while doing a renovation project?
Before one can even begin the door and door hardware selection process, it is important to understand what factors particular to the installation will affect their long-term performance. For most applications, these include life-safety, emergency egress, loss prevention and security for building occupants. Each of these factors should be examined for each application to determine the door’s performance level. While all will apply to some extent, some factors will be more important than others for that installation.
Another thing to consider is the type of facility where the door is being installed. For example, doors installed in educational facilities, such as middle schools or high schools, will be subjected to an entirely different type and level of use and abuse than doors installed in a typical office or retail building.
Consider the weight and size of the door. One of the biggest mistakes involving door installation is the use of lightweight hardware on heavyweight or oversized doors. Larger and heavier doors require stronger, heavier gauge hardware if they are to stand up to even normal use. Undersized hardware will wear more quickly, resulting in misalignment of the door, difficult operation and security compromises.
Environmental factors should also be considered. Doors constantly exposed to high moisture levels, such as in facilities located in coastal areas, should have finishes and hardware that are highly resistant to corrosion. Without proper protective finishes, doors installed in this type of environment can fail in as little as five years. Door hardware that is not resistant to corrosion can stick and bind, making doors difficult to operate and eventually, damaging the door, the hardware, or both. In dusty environments, dirt can load up on hinges and other door hardware and interfere with door operation. Doors may not fully close, or the build-up may prevent latches from closing and operators from opening doors, compromising both safety and security. Over time, this build-up can accelerate wear on hardware components, resulting in early failures.
Standardization of replacement hardware components will reduce the size and cost of the inventory that should be maintained. 

8. Tell us about the future of Architecture Hardware industry for Facades and Fenestrations? Where do you see your business and the industry in the next 5 years?
The Architecture hardware industry is in an emerging state with respect to technology, capability and size. It is directly linked to the construction industry's performance, which is expected to grow by 20 per cent annually. 

The hardware industry in India though laden with challenges is now slowly and gradually finding more acceptance as the common man becomes more aware of the importance of good products. 

We are likely to see a variety of options for using cutting edge technologies and materials to optimize existing buildings and for pioneering plants for new building projects. 

We’re truly excited about the possibilities confronting architects today. We feel fortunate to be practicing now at this crossroads of technological innovation and globalization. The integration of technology in architecture really excites us; we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible – smart facades, wearable sensors that interact with building components, 3D printing of structures, virtual environments, gaming, UX design – the list of fields where architects can play a role is growing every day.
Understanding how people use space in commercial and residential environments and how design can be impacted by these patterns is a huge opportunity. Just as the way we document and design has changed, the way buildings are constructed is poised for a monumental shift too. Problems of density and resource conservation need designed solutions – who better to solve these problems than architects?
We are excitedly looking forward to the next 5 years in our practice.

9. Please point out few hurdles faced by your organization while choosing hardware for your projects?
Architecture is a profession that takes an enormous amount of time. It generally takes at least four or five or six years for larger projects, and that speed is really too slow for the revolutions that are taking place.

To have a certain virtuosity of interpretation of every phenomenon is crucial. We’re working in a world where so many different cultures are operating at the same time, each with their own value system. If you want to be relevant, you need to be open to an enormous multiplicity of values, interpretations, and readings. 

In our organization because of the tremendous change we have experienced in the recent digital age, we have come to become extremely flexible in our working and implementation, always keeping a possibility of the addition of future technologies in our design keeping them open ended.
We actually use a metaphor for this approach - “If you can’t change the hardware, change the software”. 

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