WFM: Please comment on the need for choosing the right kind of hardware for windows, doors and façades.
Hiten Sethi (HS): Architectural hardware is becoming increasingly design-oriented. Any architectural hardware shall ideally provide the highest level of performance, security & safety without compromising on aesthetics. Hardware used for doors, windows and façades influences the overall look of any architectural project, hence choosing the right ones is of utmost importance! Selection criteria should be based on – firstly, the level of performance which means satisfactory operations and durability. Secondly, no compromise shall be practised about the visual appeal of hardware. Designs of hardware – the colour, texture and finish chosen – can be altered and redesigned based on demand.
Ideally hardware product manufacturers should aim for products to perform, be durable and have an aesthetic finish, all balanced together. The overall quality of hardware matters because whether concealed or visible, sub-standard hardware fittings provide poor functionality and look cheap as well.
WFM: What are the criteria for the selection of Architectural hardware for façades and fenestrations?
Hiten Sethi (HS): Architectural hardware for façades & fenestrations shall be chosen majorly on their aesthetic value, with the least structural interference. A façade being the exterior face of a building, it is crucial to choose visually appealing hardware that also compliments the overall character and nature of the building. Façade designs are based on contextual climatic conditions and need supporting hardware. No two projects will have the same design solutions. Giving creative freedom to architects in choosing innovative hardware for new façade design is crucial.
WFM: Are there enough products available in the market that would satisfy the needs of architects/developers?
Hiten Sethi (HS): Products available in Indian markets are satisfactory, yet more variety is welcome. Hardware supporting energy-efficient building elements is in dire demand considering the new wave of Green buildings in Indian architecture and the real estate world. Also increase in transparency in building façades is bringing innovative materials into use which further demands supporting hardware.
WFM: Please give us a brief note on your latest project in which façade /fenestration hardware products are used innovatively
Hiten Sethi (HS): IDBI (extension) Annex Building (Site Area: 1, 30,000 sq. ft., Project Area: 1, 30,000 sq. ft., Location: Belapur, Navi Mumbai): IDBI extension is a G+10 ongoing building with state-of-the-art façade design. It is a winning design competition entry by us, whose main façade feature is a glazed hemisphere projecting between 5th-9th floors. Instead of regularly used mounted brackets, the faceted sphere surface is supported by bent hollow rectangular mild steel sections which provide double double-glazed unit system.
Navi Mumbai Municipal Headquarters NMMC (Site Area: 3, 58,000 sq. ft., Project Area: 3, 58,000 sq. ft., Location: Belapur, Navi Mumbai): It is a prestigious gold-rated green building with an efficient building envelope with high-performance glazing. The glass used in double-glazed structural/curtain glazing is selected as per energy simulation in the local climatic conditions. Sustainable materials like Glass reinforced cement (GRC) and manufactured stone are used for dry cladding.
WFM: Tell us about the future of the Architecture Hardware industry for façades and fenestrations.
Hiten Sethi (HS): Façade and fenestrations are the first impression/ experience of any building hence the importance of their hardware will remain constant. Hardware selection should become an integral part of façade design and hence both industries should work in cohesion. Manufacturers should understand the demands and designs of architects and in turn, architects should update themselves with the latest hardware technologies for their optimum use.
WFM: Please point out a few challenges faced by you while choosing hardware for your projects.
Hiten Sethi (HS): The following are a few usual challenges while choosing hardware while designing the façades or windows:
- The type of window, and how well it goes along with Interior finishes.
- Window frame sizes which are slightly bigger in size usually do not go well with aesthetics.
- Locking Mechanism: You want to make sure that you have thought about several other areas where a durable locking system has to be installed. Think about places such as your garage doors and windows.
- Water Seal Tight: What material is your window made of? Windows cannot effectively be retrofitted to be wet-rated (The outside is wet-rated of course, but the inside is not, because it was never designed to be). Tiling the jambs, painting with marine varnish etc. may help, but they’re not going to create a good long-term barrier against moisture.
- The quality and durability matter a lot for the long-term usage of windows.
- Quality of hardware: we choose it in such a way that once the window or façade is installed we need not worry about the maintenance (locks, screws, rubber gaskets, rubber seal and adhesive).
- Sound Proof: “Soundproof Window” is absolutely essential. They make the house much quieter, they have dramatically cut heating and air conditioning costs, and they have added significantly to the value of your property.
- Heat Resistance: The type of glass used (single or double glass units), the property of the glass & UV value of the glass matter a lot.
- Other types of façade/ window – noise resistance, dustproof, termite resistance & weatherproof.