The 2012 American Institute of Architects (AIA) show is in the books and there’s no doubt that the vibe was a positive one on the show floor. This is the first show in a long time where I heard from people a true sense of enthusiasm towards the economy and our markets- at least related to sales/growth. I think for many companies the last years were so rough that seeing some light these days was reason to celebrate some. No doubt we are no where near out of the woods and still so much can change, but the attitude of the majority of the folks I talked to was on the extreme positive side. In fact morale was so good, the typical trade show talk about competition destroying markets, cash flow issues, rumors and such were not prominent like in this past. Oh it was still there because that’s a staple of our world, like it or not, but in the end it was pretty minimal compared to the commiseration of the past.
DC did not disappoint, the show did have a steady flow. It did have some dead pockets, but not like AIA’s the past 2 years. I will say that I wouldn’t want to live in DC, the traffic and layout of the city and streets were mind numbing.
Just a note…. this blog is dedicated to the AIA show, we’ll be back next week with other industry stuff like the ABI, McGraw Hill’s new report, Adele vs. Katy, and the start of hurricane season.
Other show musings…
-- As always getting to see some of the great people of our industry is the best for me, and this year was no different. Among those I was lucky enough to run into… the amazingly talented Wendy Zhou of Guardian. She’s an all time favorite of mine, and now probably an all time favorite of every Architect that met her on the floor. Brian Leizerowicz of EFCO always welcoming of me though I am sure he’d prefer to run the other way when he sees me approaching! Great to catch up with Glenn Miner at PPG looking dapper in the latest greatest Rob Struble trade show clothing collection a lightweight stylish windjacket. Plus nice to see Mike Rupert of PPG for the first time in a while too, and I did get a picture with the legendary P. BEAR of PPG Starphire fame. (Great interest generator by the way- kudos Mr. Struble)
-- Some great new booths making debuts included a sharp set up from Viracon. It was really eye catching. Also a show-stopping debut from GGI, an area laid out with a ton of great looking glass that you could flip on through. Pilkington looked to be in a new structure (at least to me) with the rest of the NSG group and it was fantastic. Fun for me too because they had several pictures of jobs I once had a part in, good memory lane stuff. AGNORA from Canada showed off a massive lite of glass along with some excellent looking deco pieces for their maiden voyage in the show.
-- Their booth wasn’t new as it debuted in the fall at Greenbuild but SAGE had a lot of buzz around their snazzy set up. Their new parent St Gobain had a massive “Scoreboard” that stood above their booth, it was pretty mesmerizing. Guardian was busy the entire show with all of their new product launches as Earnest Thompson designed a pretty awesome booth space, you saw a lot of stuff in a very clean and sharp way. I also liked their sample setup for their new InGlass program. Lots of buzz too around the Panda Windows exhibit, as their door systems were leaving architects in awe. Because of the steady traffic I never could get into Berkowitz, Cristacurva, Pulp Studio, or Dlubak’s exhibits, they were all small but very effective.
-- The biggest buzz pre show and then during was YKK. As I mentioned last week, they were promoting an announcement that would be unlike anything the industry has ever seen before. They did a great job of building the suspense, then had a great show put on to launch their new high performance unitized curtain wall. I can say the presentation surely was like nothing I had ever seen before! Kudos to Oliver Stepe, Mike Turner and company.
Random and wrap up....
-- Interesting that at the 7/11 next to my hotel they charged me .05 for a bag. Unless I have been missing something that had to be the first time I was hit with a bag surcharge…. At the same convention center as AIA was the US Counter Terrorism Show… Architects and Spies in the same place, could you get more different? Also it was the first major trade show I have seen to go with a badge that was without a plastic sleeve. It was just slick, thicker piece of material that seemed durable enough. I assume this could be a trend, though I wonder how much more expensive it is compared to what shows normally use.
-- In the end, DC proved to be a solid venue as it expected. Next year AIA is in Denver, and even though I like that area, there’s no way the show will be as good from a traffic standpoint. So now we move next to GlassBuild America in the fall. The floor is filling up and nice buzz has begun. You’ll be hearing a ton more from me on this as it gets closer, but needless to say it’s a must attend event especially if you want to stay on top of the trends and industry.
LINKS of the WEEK:
-- Anxiety and not depression is the most common psychological issue among college students- which is interesting on a ton of levels. This story scratches some surface, but needs more depth. (Ironically the Glass industry can promote anxiety and depression!)
-- Simply insane here, being sold the wrong house… now THIS is a valid case for a lawsuit if the realtor doesn’t step up.
-- I kinda want to buy this to show my kids what it used to be like… then again I could go to a garage sale and get a real old fashioned one for nothing.
VIDEO of the WEEK
Cool video of the largest wave ever surfed. Very scary. Thanks to Scott Hoover (who I saw for about a second at AIA) for the link!