Massive sliding curved glass doors with class-leading Low-E values have been developed for the luxury housing market by Surrey specialists Balconette
Curved sliding patio doors may well replace the Bi-Fold phenomenon over the next decade, with a new system pushing the boundaries wider than ever before.
Described as an architect’s dream design flourish, Balconette have re-engineered sliding curved glass from the ground up. The newly-launched Curvaglide® system is bespoke built for the curved facades that are becoming ever more popular in the luxury housing market. The range also benefits from Balconette’s new in-house development of Soft Low-E coating application, which brings energy efficiency levels for curved glass up to leading levels for flat glass for the first time.
The newly-launched Curvaglide® system is bespoke built to fit curved facades. Enhanced tracks and rolling mechanisms mean previous width limits have been greatly expanded, with installations of up to 19 metres already completed. Customisable options mean the doors can be overlapped in a variety of different configurations.
“Curved patio doors are a high-end, exclusive product” says Balconette CEO Effi Wolff. “Bi-fold patio doors have become commonplace, but curved building facades are rare, and demand something special. The system is aimed at architects designing high-end new builds and luxury extensions.
“We engineered a new support structure and rolling mechanisms to handle these extreme widths. For properties lucky enough to feature curving walls, the new Curvaglide® doors are the perfect complement. Owners get to feel as if they are in the landscape, not just looking at it.”
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.
“All our curved glass doors come with 28mm double-glazing with low E glass and toughened safety glass on both sides”, continues Wolff. “Comparing this with a standard pane of glass, our double-glazing units stop at least half the heat transferring through the glass itself. The curvature also provides a lower heat transference."
Low Energy Curve
The ‘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. The soft Low-E coatings used by Balconette are far more advanced and reduce heat transference by an extra 30%.
The Curvaglide® system uses Guardian SN51/28 glass, with a centre pane U value of 1.0 W/mK – significantly better than the best hard coat Low-E U-value of 1.5 W/mK.
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.”
Featured at Tate St. Ives
The system has already been used in the refurbishment of Tate St. Ives, where the curved glass façade now overlooks the beach. Wolff continues:“ 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.
“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’.”
“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”.