In the 1950’s, a bay window was the height of luxury. In the Sixties, it was French windows, till bi-fold patio doors became a must-have for the new millennium. But today the undisputed epitome of luxury living is the sliding curved patio door, as featured on the Tate St. Ives.
Sliding curved glass doors can now be wider than ever, thanks to a new range of designs developed by UK glass door specialist Balconette. The new system also ensures comfort by cutting out a third of heat transference.
Described as an architect’s dream design flourish, the newly-launched Curvaglide®system is bespoke built to fit curved facades and creates an open view that is simply not possible with flat glass. The new system has already been installed at the Tate St. Ives.
Height of luxury
“Curved patio doors are a high-end, exclusive product” says Balconette CEO Effi Wolff. “Bi-fold patio doors used to be the ultimate building accessory, but they have become commonplace. Curved building facades are rare, usually only seen in architect-designed home, and they demand something special.
“Truly wonderful summer days and evenings are a bit rare, so when they do come people want to be able to take full advantage. For entertaining, these doors give a seamless passage between the indoors and the outdoors.
“We had to engineer a completely new support structure and rolling mechanisms to handle these extreme widths, while at the same time making it very unobtrusive.
“For properties lucky enough to feature curving walls, or for new extensions, the new Curvaglide®doors are the perfect complement. Owners get to feel as if they are in the landscape, not just looking at it.”
“Architects as far away as California have asked us for these doors. They simply have not been available. Besides the coating improvement, we had to design and engineer a structural system that could support the physical stresses and remain smooth, quiet and strong. Because we manufacture both the curved glass and frames in house we can be sure of smooth movement of the doors and a “hand in glove fit.”
An enhanced track and rolling mechanism allows wider installations than ever before, with installations of up to 19 metres already completed. The design of
the doors can be customised to allow overlapping in a variety of different configurations.
Both the curved glass and matched frames are made to measure in-house by Balconette, who have UK headquarters 40 minutes outside London. The sliding mechanism uses 2 or 3 tracks, allowing customised configurations of fixed and sliding doors. The smallest configuration uses just 2 panes, both sliding to reveal a 50% opening. For larger installations, up to 4 doors can be slideable.
The soft ‘Low-E’ glass used in the Curvaglide®system is another unique feature developed by Balconette, providing greater comfort and much better energy efficiency. Curved glass is usually provided with a ‘hard’ Low-E coating to cut down heat transference through the glass. The ‘soft ‘ Low-E coatings used by Balconette are far more advanced and reduce heat transference by an extra 30%.
Wolff explains: “Manufacture of curved glass is significantly more challenging than flat glass, particularly in the application of Low-E coatings. We don’t know of anyone else in the UK who is able to offer curved glass with the extra efficiency of a Low-E soft coating.“
Curved facades are rare but they have long been popular with architects. Charles Deaton, famous for the curved house featured in the Woody Allen film “Sleeper”, famously said: ‘If people do not have angles then we should not live in boxes’.
Wolff continues: “The Curvaglide®range is undoubtedly a luxury item, but it opens up completely new possibilities for architects. If you have a wonderful view and want to really make the most of it, nothing else comes close”.
“Our doors can be curved to complement, highlight or harmonise with the lines or features of the building design. We have long experience working with architects and builders and give thorough technical support and advice from conception to installation”.