W&W Glass structural glass for big names, big audience and big impact

Retailers are setting new standards in flagship design

Today’s flagship products are choosing design in their bid to compete and stand out in the world’s top cities. And by choosing specific glass they are truly making their mark.

Whether it be elegant luxury such as Baccarat crystal, technology-rich products from Microsoft, trendy outerwear from UNIQLO, or to reinforce a brand promise of fashion and quality at an affordable price from H&M fashions, retailers are setting new standards in flagship design.

These four diverse brands needed to make a statement in their Manhattan market locations, so they called on the experts at W&W Glass for their structural glass needs.

Baccarat Retail Store Just the mention of Baccarat fills the mind with luxurious accessories made of high quality, elegant crystal.

The store’s distinctive design concept was a new global retail model for the brand, showcasing tableware, lighting, decorative objects, and jewellery to reflect the richness of the Baccarat lifestyle and the brand’s commitment to innovation and excellence.

Baccarat’s new retail location is 2,800-square-feet, designed by acclaimed architect Rafael de Cárdenas with local project support from Gensler, and was built just in time to celebrate the iconic French crystal house’s commitment to artisanship and innovation ahead of the brand’s 250th anniversary.

When the project architect, Gensler, went about implementing the Baccarat vision created with de Cárdenas, the choice went to W&W Glass. The store’s double-height façade features a custom digitally-printed, white fritted glass pattern inspired by the Baccarat’s renowned crystal diamond cut, showcasing the brand’s French heritage. W&W Glass installed an ultra-clear Optiwhite low-iron Pilkington Planar™ structural glass fin wall system for the vertical wall with the white ceramic frit pattern expression laminated inside the face glass. The store’s distinctive design features individual spaces to showcase Baccarat’s three main product categories: jewellery, home décor, and lighting.

With 13 locations in Manhattan alone, H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) is well-known in the New York market. It was founded in Sweden in 1947 and the company’s business concept is to offer fashion and quality at the best price.

NYC has the largest concentration of H&M stores in the country, employing over 1,400 people. The approximately 42,000-square-foot location offers collections for ladies, men, young ladies/men and children, with separate “shop in shop” areas for accessories, lingerie, sports apparel, maternity and the brand’s plus-size line, H&M+.

The primary architect was Jeffrey Taylor of Taylor Architects, who quickly understood that a location in Times Square presented a unique opportunity and set of challenges, where the visual impact of the building was critical to its success.

He decided to work with W&W Glass and the Pilkington Planar™ system to help enhance H&M’s brand of quality merchandise to stand out from the crowd.

The glazing experts decided to use Optiwhite low-iron insulating glass units for the face glass of the vertical walls connected back to Optiwhite low-iron monolithic structural glass fins with Pilkington’s 905 series countersunk fittings.

UNIQLO Active apparel that is “made for all” is the mantra of UNIQLO. Uniqlo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer, retailer, and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. since November 2005. The management knew that a vibrant and progressive New York/Manhattan-based retail location was a key to their brand’s acceptance and growth and the architects at Gensler created a timeless design with a modern look for the company’s flagship store.

With over 89,000 square feet of shopping space, this UNIQLO store is the biggest retail location on New York City’s 5th Avenue and the largest UNIQLO store in the world. The intense competition there meant that UNIQLO had to stand out from the rest. Gensler went to a trusted expert in the glass business in W&W Glass to help make that statement.

The façade was designed to be very transparent, allowing a clear and uninterrupted view to the interior of the store and products inside. It utilized Pilkington Planar™ Optiwhite low-iron insulating glass units with HP 73/42 Low-e on the #2 surface anchored to Optiwhite low-iron structural glass fins with Pilkington 905 series fittings.

Besides a clean and modern look, the Pilkington Planar™ structural glass system increased visibility while providing a more inviting entrance at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 53rd Street.

The name Microsoft signifies cutting edge technology and its new Manhattan location at 677 Fifth Avenue reflects the new era of products from Microsoft. Gensler selected W&W Glass to be a critical part of the team due to their expertise with custom solutions and the tight project schedule.

W&W worked with Canadian over-sized glass supplier Agnora and Tripyramid Structures, Inc. of Westford, Massachusetts on the custom stainless steel T-shaped mullions, door portal frame, and tension rods.

The façade uses high tension, high strength horizontal cables to support the jumbo sized glass that is structurally silicone-glazed to custom stainless steel flat profile T-shaped mullions.

The tension rods span horizontally every 10-feet to act as a wind load support for the suspended vertical tees.

This plan pushed the scale of what was previously accomplished with other cable tension façades before, using glass sizes of 20-foot wide by 10-foot tall.

All fabricators required a refinement of their manufacturing processes to get the components exactly per the project specifications.

W&W Glass’ experience in working with these systems allowed them to rise to the challenge of designing and installing a system this complex.

It also took a lot of manpower to carefully unload and manoeuvre the massive lites of multi-ply laminated glass panels weighing well over 1,000 pounds with inches to spare behind the sidewalk shed.

Besides the hurdles of a new design, time was critical. What normally took 14 months had to be reduced to 9 months to hit the new product launch.

W&W took advantage of the close proximity to the jobsite for quick response, as well as a wealth of experience from designing and installing many cable tension façade systems over the years.

W&W Glass engineered a façade that reflects the cutting edge design of Microsoft’s new technology by using clean, elegant lines.

The entrance was large and transparent in order to showcase Microsoft’s products inside. When the world’s largest retailers need new ideas for jewel-box custom glass enclosures they call on W&W Glass for assistance.