Exploring expanding trends in window and door design
Doors & Windows

Exploring expanding trends in window and door design

What’s in Sight? Let’s first consider windows. In the high-end luxury segment, window design is being driven by clients’ desire for the outside to be felt inside, says Karun Muthanna, Principal Architect, Arclain. “Consequently, ...

What’s in Sight? Let’s first consider windows. In the high-end luxury segment, window design is being driven by clients’ desire for the outside to be felt inside, says Karun Muthanna, Principal Architect, Arclain. “Consequently, we’ve used a lot of end-to-end windows of late. We used to do floor-to-ceiling windows of 7 ft or 7.6 ft height but now we’re doing seamless windows running from the end to end of the civil structure. This involves taking windows higher than what we did previously.”In Mumbai and other metros, architects opt for large windows that offer uninterrupted views, affirms Neilesh Kenkare, Principal Architect, Arch-Aid, as does Ajeet Kumar Singh, Vice President, Contracts & Purchase, Alliance Group, who says, “Large windows such as wall-to-wall and floor-to-slab windows are trending in the residential apartments segment to enhance the architectural design of the property.” Material innovations have furthered this design trend. “Earlier, large windows had a handicap in the sense that the bigger you got, the heavier were the profiles,” Muthanna points out. “But now, even large windows are made with sleek profiles, encouraging this trend.”Large windows are usually made of uPVC or aluminium; aluminium windows are either powder-coated or anodised, says Singh. “We’re planning to include large windows in some of our recently launched projects in Chennai and Hyderabad.”Kenkare advocates the use of aluminium profiles for large windows over uPVC. “In aluminium the preference is for slim sections that can give you a bigger span, as well as taller windows,” he explains. “Certain aluminium windows can be 14 ft high. These are very useful to create feature windows in homes where the ceiling is 10-12 ft high. In contrast, uPVC windows have a restriction, 8 ft in height. Say I want to create a 12 ft high uPVC window, I would need a member at 8 ft and the top would be fixed glass.”Other window trendsHybrid working among professionals has ushered in smart windows and doors, points out Rohit Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing and Development. “These are digital windows and doors equipped with sensor glass, thereby allowing less light or heat to enter ‘work from home’ office spaces.” Another trending practice is the use of creative window frames and upgraded glass options, he adds. “This implies using conventional stronger and better glass frames with energy-efficient windows and doors. It is prompted by growing awareness that windows and doors play a huge role in sustainability efforts and saving money on energy bills. Upgrading to newer and efficient models is the key.”“Our windows complement the interior style, whether it is modern, traditional or Victorian,” says Punit Agarwal, CEO, Nirvana Realty. “We choose an appropriate operating mechanism and consider parameters like cost, insulation and frame material.”  Lift and slide systems are now widely used and preferred to traditional sliding systems that use a lateral sliding mechanism, observes Nitin Mehta, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ALCOI. “Lift and slide systems have a small mullion width that maximises a clear view with no interference for large span openings.” Unitised curtain systems are also trending, he adds. “Composed of large glass units that are factory-assembled and glazed and then shipped to construction site in units, these systems eliminate onsite glazing and offer the benefit of speedier installation.”Niche trends include a preference for Georgian panels and wooden windows even though they are very expensive, adds Kenkare.Door design“People prefer large doors today,” says Muthanna. “Previously we used to have doors of a certain size, but now a lot of brands are making extra-large doors and double-height doors. Earlier, we had German and Italian hardware but now Italian, Japanese and Indonesian brands are leading the market. Some excellent hardware has been introduced that can help designers get creative about doors. For instance, I designed a door that can be opened in phases. So, if you have just domestic workers walking in, one phase can be opened, and two phases can be opened for, say, regular guests and the entire span can be opened if a large number of people need to pass through.”A recent trend is the use of pre-hung doors, according to Singh. “Both the door frame and the shutters of pre-hung doors are constructed in a factory and brought to the site to be installed. This helps developers eliminate the time and cost spent on constructing the doors and painting them onsite, and also helps reduce the dust generated onsite. A similar trend in doors involves the factory construction of doors with frames matching the full thickness of walls. We have used pre-hung doors in our project, Alliance Galleria. The doors were made in a factory and featured a 160-mm frame that matched the full thickness of the wall.”Material preferencesToday, customers consider the utility of the product as well as the popularity of the brand, comments Poddar. “Awareness of every aspect of the brand, not just popularity, underlines product-buying decisions. When we buy doors, we factor in the pros and cons of each material and design, whether it is modern iron, glass, wood, wood-plastic composite or steel doors.”Metal and uPVC are the leading material options, believes Kenkare. “uPVC has the major market share even more than aluminium, as developers are preferring the product for being easy to operate, reinforced and offering good insulation. Aluminium is the most popular metal. Mild steel is not so preferred because it tends to rust. uPVC lookalikes are coming in too.” UPVC, aluminium and wood are extensively used in engineered systems today, in Mehta’s view. “In addition, newer materials like thermal break and fibre windows are entering the façade and fenestration industries.”The more materials come in, the better it is for the industry. So, what new materials would architects like to work with? What materials available in the international market would they like to see in India?Designer’s desirablesIndia’s growing materials market reflects the fact that architects’ inputs are reaching manufacturers who have strong engineering teams to translate the vision of designers into reality, opines Muthanna. Advanced door and window locking systems that are programmable to work independently based on triggers such as the time of the day, and automated so as to be operable from handhelds, are still not available in India, he adds. “India has a few such products but no Indian brand offers products that work as optimally as, say, German brands. We’ve tried to import these products from international companies as those are far superior.”We would like to see materials offering a larger span, taller sections unlike present uPVC members, and that are easy to operate, says Kenkare. “Windows should be resistant to dust and have durable ball bearings; if those wear out, it becomes difficult to push large windows. Large windows rely on hardware. Companies like Dorma and Hafele offer hardware that helps operate large windows. The optimal hardware allows even very heavy windows to be pushed with just a finger.” Motorised windows and automated remotely controllable windows (through handsets and tablets) aren’t so common now but could emerge as a trend if prices drop and the products become more accessible, “because nowadays people are willing to spend on interiors”, he adds.The cost of raw materials like aluminium and uPVC in the international market is rising, observes Singh. “This has a direct impact on the cost of products, which is undesirable.”Hopefully, this list of desirables will soon see the light of day soon. Why is thermal break technology important?In metal framing systems, thermal break is an important technology; it demarcates the frame into two separate pieces connected by a less conductive material, explains Nitin Mehta, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ALCOI. “Metal has a very low thermal mass that causes the rapid loss of heat. By reducing the temperature transfer across the frame, the break in the metal ensures the system achieves high thermal performance values. So, this system helps to optimise the HVAC cost and is additionally economically priced.” Mehta believes a thermal break is essential in applications where a metal-framed window or door separates two very different climates, such as the inside and outside.uPVC is taking the market by stormThe Indian uPVC doors and windows market has seen fast growth in the past few years and is likely to grow at a CAGR of more than 7 per cent between 2021 and 2026, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.“uPVC is replacing materials traditionally used for doors and windows as it offers durability, energy-efficiency and high-quality insulation and is low maintenance without compromising on functionality,” observes Punit Agarwal, CEO, Nirvana Realty. “Even the toughest of stains can be removed by scrubbing, with no damage to the material. It is termite-free and easy to clean.”uPVC windows are the strongest and longest-lasting windows; they can last up to 50 years and more, he continues Agarwal. “Unlike wooden windows, uPVC windows aren’t affected by fluctuating or severe weather conditions and, thus, experience negligible wear and tear with regular use and don’t need varnishing, sanding or repainting. Galvanised steel reinforcements, used to keep uPVC windows and doors structurally stable, offer enhanced strength, especially to larger frame sections. uPVC windows have a high insulation value that prevents heat ingress in summers and keeps indoor heat from seeping out in winters, thus helping to maintain an optimal indoor temperature. Also, the chlorine content of PVC acts as a fire retardant; thus, it does not cause, support or enhance fire spreading.”Agarwal appreciates the fact that uPVC windows are available in many shapes and styles and operating systems (sliding windows, side-hung, twin-sash), so you can always find a design that goes with your interiors and colour scheme.

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