044 GGP 0815

GGP August 2015

44 COMMENT Designing the performance and looks to stand out and sell Designing windows to ‘blow rivals out of the water’ or windows to fill holes in walls? Roy Frost, Deceuninck UK’s managing director, says set your spec ambitiously high to delight Over the last 20 years or so, we’ve learned that good design really matters, and we’ve learned to tell good design from bad. Even if we can’t afford a classy sports car we appreciate its sleek styling and breathtaking performance. We admire BMWs, Audis and Jaguars for designing the perfect balance of performance, engineering and looks for their target market. BMWs are so well tuned, many owners see themselves as ‘BMW-type’ people. Having achieved something similar in appliances, Dyson’s products are talking points. Dyson reimagined vacuum cleaners, fans and hand dryers with eye-catching lines and innovation and transformed the sector. Apple is a design icon. Its highly desirable, perfectly proportioned products are a pleasure to look at and use. They’re an ideal fusion of form and function, where everything is where you need it, just when you need it, and its intuitive software works with hardware as an integrated whole. The iPod, iPhone and iPad have educated our eyes to good design. Even Apple’s packaging sets new standards. As a consequence, we’re less tolerant of clunky, unlovely hardware and non-intuitive software. Apple’s imitators proved that simply copying the iPhone’s subtle curves misses its design magic. Billions have bought into Apple’s design philosophy, and outstanding design has catapulted Apple into the upper atmosphere of company valuations. Whoever thought good design would sell in such numbers? Its sales and share price have made it one of the most valuable companies in the world. People lust after its products, and anyone who says good design doesn’t matter is in a world of their own. But design isn’t easy. If it was, anyone would do it. So what makes the difference? First, there’s intention. Apple’s design spec is simple: ‘to be better than anything else on the market’. It’s achieved it by ruthlessly focussing on the goal, the whole product in use, rather than the individual parts, features or functions. And it’s done it by not compromising on achieving the spec. How does the window industry measure up? It’s probably fair to say the industry has not set the world alight in design. It’s pursued utility ahead of looks, and set individual features above design of the whole. The quest for energy efficiency illustrates this. In general, systems companies’ response to improving window systems for energy efficiency has been both simplistic and populist, playing on the misleading assumption that the more chambers in a profile the better. Seven has got to be better than six, six better than five, five better than four and four better than three. Right? Well, no, there’s more to it than that. Improving energy efficiency is more complicated, and simply adding chambers can have the opposite affect. Adding internal webs in the profile to create more small chambers does improve energy efficiency a little. But while pockets of air in the chambers do contribute to thermal insulation, there is a limit for 70mm platforms. After a certain number, the improved energy efficiency becomes negligible and you start to compromise the strength of the window. This lowers weather performance and can limit the size of the window, because the profile isn’t strong enough to support the glazing. After all, the chambers aren’t just there for insulation, they also house the reinforcement. And if the chambers are small, so is the reinforcement. You can end up with a utilitarian looking profile with middling energy efficiency, no character and no kerbside appeal, because great looks weren’t a priority. Designing a gamechanging sliding patio door When we came to replace Deceuninck’s old sliding patio we specified strength, looks and performance in detail. Our shorthand spec to our designers was to ‘blow rival sliders out of the water and look great’. They certainly did that! Our new sliding patio door is best-in-class for weather performance, energy efficiency, security and looks, suiting with our ‘pretty’ windows. It achieves Class A4 air permeability with a rating of 600Pa, Class E8A water permeability with a rating of 450Pa and Class A3 wind resistance with a rating of 1200Pa. It also achieves an A* energy rating and PAS24 accreditation. No other sliding patio comes close. Judging by the reaction when we show it to customers and prospects, we believe it’s a game changer. your customers and insist your designers meet it. www.ggpmag.com August 2015


GGP August 2015
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