GPD Takeaways

I’m writing this on a train from Tampere, Finland that’s bound for Helsinki, ready to be back in the USA. Attending Glass Performance Days (GPD) is an exhausting, yet exhilarating experience. Really … if you’re serious about the glass industry and you’ve not been it should be on your bucket list. The caliber of knowledge that the conference brings together is like no other. And of course, there’s the networking and entertainment, to which, likewise, there’s no comparison. Here’s a few highlights from my week in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Sunset in Tampere happens around 11 p.m. this time of year, giving the city the nickname The Land of the Midnight Sun.

Curves are In Fashion

Bent glass, curved glass, it’s not new. Fabricators have been curving glass for years. But it seems of late this type of glass has become incredibly in fashion. Several sessions in several different tracks addressed the subject from a number of angles. It’s thanks to advances in technology and other fabrication techniques that have made it possible to bend glass and use in a wide range of applications, meeting both energy requirements, safety and aesthetics.

Let’s Work Together

The importance of collaboration, working together and listening to each other was another big theme. If the industry is going to design and build increasingly complex architectural facades, no one person can do it alone. The more architects and designers can discuss and communicate their intentions with the glass industry—suppliers and installers—the better the results can be.

Transparency’s in Trend

More and more companies are finding ways to provide uninterrupted spans of glass. And it’s not just that the glass is getting bigger. Companies are developing clear spacers and clear sealants that can help bring nearly completely uninterrupted site lines. Both sedak and Dow were touting some of these innovations. It will be interesting to see where we are with these developments in two years’ time when we’re all back in Finland.

In response to an increasing desire for transparency, sedak featured a glass spacer system.

Time to Celebrate

Just as no other industry event brings an educational program like GPD, no other event brings the same level of networking and entertainment. That’s clear, given the famous farewell party, which doubled this year as a retirement party for Jorma Vitkala. The wild, wild, west themed soiree was held at a beautiful lakeside setting and (for some) lasted until dawn. There was food and drinks and games, music … a few people were even brave enough to take the karaoke stage. And rightfully so. After two solid days of sessions, everyone was ready for some fun and relaxation. It was definitely an impressive, unforgettable event.

The GPD Farewell Party took place alongside picturesque lakeside views.
With the beautiful Nancy Mammaro from Mappi.

I caught this shot of Gary Aspden from G. James the morning after while a group of GPD-ers were waiting for the train to Helsinki. The hats were definitely unforgettable, and helped make the event that much more memorable.

Gary Aspden sporting his GPD souvenir.

Speaking of memories … I found a picture from my first GPD, back in 2005. A lot has changed in 15 years, but one thing that’s stayed the same is the one-of-a-kind experience that GPD provides. I’m tipping my blue, feathered, light-up cowboy hat to you, Jorma, and your entire team for everything you do to make GPD the high-quality event that it is.

My first GPD, back in 2005.

If you missed our GPD videos, you can watch them here:

GPD Opens with Focused Workshops

Day Two in Finland

From Codes to Curved Glass

What was your favorite memory of GPD, this year or a previous event? Post your comment or email me at