Innovation in window and door design is on the rise as materials are increasingly made in India.
Demand for windows and doors is looking up. The market for windows and doors in India is expected to cross `150 billion by FY2020, believes Sushmita Nag, CMO, Fenesta Building Systems.
Speaking of window frames, Smita Vijaykumar, CEO, reNNovate Interiors, observes that they have evolved from being made of wood to being fabricated with heavy uPVC or aluminium, and from being shuttered to being openable by sliding.
Among modern materials, the international system’s aluminium door window is the most preferred, liked and acceptable material for fenestration designs, opines
Piyush Srivastava, National Façade Manager, Schueco India. “uPVC, bespoke aluminium system or alu-wood are other preferred materials.”
Why are uPVC or aluminium window frames in demand?
“These newer materials are preferred because hardwood tends to swell when it is exposed to extreme weather and be problematic to open and close,” explains Vijaykumar. “Also, many urban homes need windows that help reduce noise, glare and dust.”
“We prefer uPVC window and door frames as they offer better sound acoustics, are eco-friendly and have good sections that are resistant to water seepage,” says Pooja Bihani, Founder, Spaces and Design. “Aluminium is our second best option.”
“We prefer uPVC for windows and French windows as it is more durable than frames in wood or aluminium, and is corrosion-resistant and low maintenance and has a uniform finish,” shares Eshwar N, Executive Vice President-Marketing, Casagrand Builder.
A consequence of this shift is that the uPVC segment is estimated to contribute a healthy 8-10 per cent of the market for windows, about `15 billion, according to Nag. Over coming years, he expects the share of uPVC to grow 25-30 per cent, based on Ken Research.
What’s helping grow the uPVC share is the fact that “brands like Encraft, Fenesta, Veka have an amazing market presence and are in demand by customers,” to quote Vijaykumar. “Their products with a wood finish help create windows with a wood look without the attached problems, and they tend to match interiors well.”
“Fenesta and Enkraft offer good uPVC products while Nitson and Amitsu are good brands in the aluminium space,” adds Bihani. “We have used uPVC windows in a walnut wooden finish for an elegant and rich finish with great functionality.”
“For our luxury apartments, we prefer Koemmerling windows, else Prominance,” opines Eshwar.
Also, the uPVC windows and doors industry is gradually becoming more organised and standardised as the uPVC Window and Door Manufacturers Association members work to ensure that quality and pricing guidelines are followed and develop the necessary skills in various players, according to Mario Schmidt, Managing Director, Lingel Windows and Doors Technologies. “Awareness is essential so that customers don’t get cheated,” he emphasises. For instance, Lingel offers five years of free service as well as warranty on the hardware whereas any local company may not offer this backup.
Often, providers must customise the solution to match project needs. “Customised windows vary as per the technology they incorporate, their size, material, style, colour, design, hardware and glass specifications, with the cost varying from `500 to `5,000 per sq ft,” according to Nag.
Wood may not be the most convenient material but it still finds favour with homeowners. In a duplex apartment, wooden sliding doors and windows designed by Bihani open up to a viewing deck running around the living and dining area. The highlight of this design feature is a 5’×5’ length corner glass with no joint, which offers a great view sans the usual visual distraction of a corner column. This was an onsite handcrafted bespoke carpentry solution, self-driven in design.
In terms of design, Nag attests to a surge in the use of ceiling-to-floor windows that act like transparent walls. Additionally, “French windows are quite in vogue, as they render a rich look and blend indoor-outdoor living spaces. Tilt-and-turn windows are also gaining popularity for offering controlled ventilation without compromising on insulation,” she says.
“Sleek designs and products like AWS 90 AC SI sound reduction windows that reduce sound even in open condition are some latest trends in the residential high-rise market,” according to Srivastava.
“Demand is rising for slider windows (and doors), which consume much less space than casement windows and are slender as well as aesthetically appealing,” adds Nag. “Design variants are lift-and-slide doors, corner slider windows, and slide-and-fold doors that match the look and feel of modern homes.”
In keeping with this trend, Fenesta has recently launched an ultra-modern, ultra-luxury range of system aluminium windows and doors available in several innovative designs, the slim-line range and even a thermal break variant. “This ultra-luxury system aluminium range is well suited to minimalist designs, which are growing more popular, and for large glazed spans and multi-storey applications with near seamless sightlines,” explains Nag. The aluminium base ensures an extremely lightweight, long-lasting product with one of the highest strength-to-density ratios.
“Double-height doors and windows have been successful as have bay windows,” adds Eshwar, while Schmidt points out that demand for window roller shutters is also picking up.
In façades, Schueco has recently launched FWS35, one of slimmest capped curtain wall systems in the world. The most relevant system for the Indian market is Ventolife, which is basically a pollution filtration window.
“We have recently introduced our new colour collection in uPVC, including Snow White windows, and widened our Alu System 6.0 range to include lift-and-slide, slide-and-fold and tilt-and-turn windows,” shares Schmidt. “Soon, Lingel will be launching a slim-line system and Smart Li, a Wi-Fi-based smartphone app picking up information from an inbuilt air purifier, inbuilt security system, smoke detector and inbuilt rain sensor and controlling the opening and closing of doors.”
At the time of its launch, Villa Windows by Fenesta was the only first uPVC casement in the world with a twin sash, bug mesh and grill built into the system. “Fenesta has come out with a product incorporating a bug mesh, which is handy and user-friendly. Another product integrating grills within the frame is a great innovation,” says Bihani.
Recently, Fenesta has introduced Switch Glass windows, which give users the flexibility to control the vision of glass windows at the click of a remote. The Piezoelectric effect lets the glass switch from opaque to clear, ensuring freedom from the headache of maintaining curtains, shades or blinds. Trims to make windows stand out as an architectural focal point, Georgian Bars that reproduce the stunning effect of Georgian or Victorian windows, and corner sliders with an integrated bug screen and efficient sealing are some other Fenesta launches.
Building regulations and customer needs drive innovation at Geze, a prominent manufacturer of unique door and window opening solutions, says VS Rajan, Managing Director, Geze India. “Different type of drives for automatic window opening systems, such as spindle and chain drives, are a recent release aimed at handling the simultaneous opening of any number of windows inwardly or outwardly,” explains Rajan. “These sensor and/or light curtain-driven solutions are particularly useful when installed in critical ventilation areas of the building, if they are connected to the BMS, because they open the windows by default for ventilation if a fire is sensed anywhere in the building.”
At Geze, solutions are customised based on client needs, says Rajan. “The pricing depends on the size of the windows, the number of windows needing to be opened and their grouping.
For example, a solution for a building with 20 windows, where eight windows of 1,400 mm width × 1,200 mm height needed to be openable and connected to the BMS, could cost Rs.7-8 lakh.”Evidently, accurately designed solutions bode well for users!
Doors still remain predominantly wooden, framed in teak or other hardwood, says Smita Vijaykumar, CEO, reNNovate Interiors. “Readymade door systems from dorms or panto with a wood look are good as long as they gel with the interiors. Glass is also acceptable, preferably toughened glass of 12-mm thickness from Saint Gobain or Modiguard.”
“We prefer treated solid hardwood for door frames and teakwood for the main doors across properties,” says Eshwar N, Executive Vice President-Marketing, Casagrand Builder. “We prefer Kalpataru for doors. Accessories are by brands like Mackoy.”
Architect Vijaykumar observes, “PVC doors have great scope in wet areas but they still lack the finesse homeowners seek.” So there is scope for evolution in that space.
In terms of design, Eshwar notes that a fixed 1-ft designer door panel on the inner side of the main entrance door frame is becoming a standard feature for giving the entrance an aesthetic look while also being a functional feature to mount accessories like the apartment number, doorbell, nameplate, milk and newspaper holder.
Schueco has recently launched a thermally insulated ‘panoramic design’ series of sliding doors, ASE 67 PD, to complement its highly successful non-insulated panoramic series ASS 39 PD.NI. “Sliding doors enable larger sizes, weights, sleeker profiles and premium looks, including frameless designs desired by many architects and discerning buyers, while providing good thermal insulation,” explains Piyush Srivastava, National Façade Manager, Schueco India.
Door control systems, security and automation features like app-based operating mechanisms, Bluetooth key features, face recognition, integration of slider and casement doors with glass railing in unitised façades are finding favour in the residential high-rise space, according to Srivastava.
Fenesta has recently launched state-of-the-art internal doors made of hybrid polymer that combine the aesthetics of wood and durability of polymer.
Choice of Glass
In the residential segment, Manish Sisodia, National Head, Glass Future, Saint-Gobain Glass India, reports “the gradually increasing use of bigger glass windows allowing more light into the house and unobstructed views”.
This change is product-driven, according to him, in the sense that “the size of glass made in India has moved from 3 m × 1.5 m to 3 m × 6 m”. However, to mitigate the increased heat and glare entering the space, designers are recommending high-performance glass. SGG Infinity from Saint Gobain offers high-performance glass in various neutral shades, which meet both these needs of residential windows.
Saint Gobain also offers SGG Vetrotech, a range of attack and intrusion prevention glass for residences. This special interlayered glass complies with P6B - P8B attack resistance and BR1-BR7/SG1-SG2 bullet resistance (standards) for windows. “The use of SGG Vetrotech Vetrogard is catching up in residential applications as homeowners increasingly prioritise safety,” says Sisodia.
Thicker, layered glass is in vogue. “We usually prefer double-glazed glass unless better noise control is needed, in which case triple-glazed glass works well,” opines Pooja Bihani, Founder, Spaces and Design.
“We use 8-12 mm toughened glass for exteriors for better strength and durability,” adds Eshwar N, Executive Vice President-Marketing, Casagrand Builder.
- Charu Bahri
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