Are You Prepared to Fail? GPD Presenter Says Failure is Good

In Silicon Valley, the culture is to fail.

With rapidly evolving technology and innovations, perhaps this is a mindset that the glass industry, too, should consider.

BIG architect Kai-Uwe Bergman speaks to attendees at Glass Processing Days in Finland Wednesday.
BIG architect Kai-Uwe Bergman speaks to attendees at Glass Processing Days in Finland Wednesday.

“Let’s fail together,” suggested architect Kai-Uwe Bergman, partner with the firm BIG, today during Glass Performance Days (GPD).” It’s in failing that you move forward.”

Bergman provided one of the keynote discussions during the GPD opening ceremonies, taking place in Tampere, Finland.

As an architect, Bergman brings a unique perspective to the table. He studied glass blowing and also apprenticed under Dale Chihuly. After experiencing glass as an art form, he studied to become an architect. In the realm of architecture, he said, glass has an interesting role.

His discussion, “From Hot to Cold,” focused on how his architectural firm designs.

“Our architecture,” he said, “is formed from its climates, where it’s built. We work in the hottest to coldest of climates. It’s interesting to see how glass can perform as a facade element and as how the quality of light moves through it and the different performance elements you can have.”

When speaking of advances in technology, such as 3-D printing, and how these are impacting architecture and design, Bergman said, “I think as architects, there is pleasure in being naïve because you can dream up things that don’t exist yet.”

He continued, “In every industry, there are pioneers of doing things. We just have to be prepared to fail.” He added that the fear of risk is what often prevents us on a large scale to make and implement change.

Other presenters today included Dale Sands, senior vice president, environmental business with AECOM, who talked about the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters—and raising awareness to improve design resilience.

He told the audience, “We need to create and design facilities that can withstand the intensity and frequency of natural disasters that we’re experiencing.”

What impact will this have on the glass industry? “I think it creates a positive opportunity for the glass industry to make a contribution to building more resilient products,” he said. “Solutions will drive what’s achievable in the codes.”

In addition, the day included a panel discussion where several industry leaders discussed changes and challenges for the industry. Panelists included Jonathan Cohen, global business director, Kuraray Glass Laminating Solutions; Jean-Paul Hautekeer, global marketing director, Dow Corning; Arto Metsanen, CEO and president of Glaston Corp.; and Johann Sischka, senior vice president, Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG.

When asked what the most significant change the industry has seen since GPD 2013,

Cohen commented on increasing globalization, while Hautekeer pointed out that energy discussions have evolved to be more focused on climate change.

“The climate is becoming the key topic,” he said.

Sischka noted the increasing development of thin glass technology. Metsanen, agreed about thin glass developments, but also said the significant change for him involves the increasing change of pace. “Things happen faster … we need to develop new (technologies) faster together; to start doing and moving faster.”

GPD 2015 runs through Friday and will include more than 120 presentations. According to Jorma Vitkala, chairman of the GPD organizing committee, more than 500 are attending the event this year; of which half are here for the first time. He added that this year, GPD turns 23 years old; the first event was in 1992.

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