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Seves: exporting glass blocks on the world’s markets
The Seves Group from Italy is the only global player highly specialised in glass blocks, a material used for large or small surfaces in interior design and architecture that has become successful on the international markets. In fact, the Seves Glassblock division accounts for 17,2% of the Seves Group’s annual turnover (80 million euros in 2007). And even though Italy remains historically important for Seves Glassblock, today Spain the biggest market for this product, followed by Brazil, France – where sales are increasing very rapidly – and Germany.
Compared to conventional brickwork, glass blocks are hollow and contain no air. They offer added value in terms of technical specifications as well as aesthetics. On the one hand they are a safe product due to their high mechanical resistance, thermal and acoustic properties, which facilitates the laying phase. From an aesthetic point of view, glass brick allow a to create an infinite degree of solutions for interior design and architecture, thanks to the wide range of products, colour, finishing and glass designs they offer.
The production process starts with the glass being melted and poured in specific quantities in two moulds that create a pair of half-shells; these are then welded together at a temperature over 700 degrees Celsius. Once created, glass block have to be cooled in a controlled way to bring down to room temperature while eliminating the internal tensions provoked by the manufacturing process. At this point the product is semi-finished and is ready for secondary procedures and processing that allow to apply different kinds of finishing and/or surface treatment.
Glass blocks are commonly used whenever there is a need to divide up spaces without blocking the passage of light. Thanks to some innovations, starting from the introduction of pastel tints (Seves was the first to launch them on the market in the ‘90s) and up to the bright and captivating colours of the latest ‘Mendini Collection’, today glass blocks have been ‘liberated’ from their conventional purpose and can be used to decorate living spaces according to desired needs and personal taste. Outdoors they can be used on facades or stairwells, while indoors they are useful for dividing, partitioning and finishing purposes, as well for shower units. They are most commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms.
Seves Glassblock’s products are characterised by a high technological content: R&D studies play a constant role in the renewal process of the range, which takes place regularly. For example, the ‘Technology’ range delivers a higher performance standard in terms of safety (fire and shatter resistance), thermal and acoustic insulation and is available in large formats to give greater modularity for architectural purposes.
At the same time, innovation is pursued to deliver an ever more customised service: starting from what is available on catalogue, new and completely innovative products can be created playing with form, colour, size, finishing and glass design combinations. The ‘Tailor Made’ service is handled directly with the designer. Besides, attention to evolutions in the market and in clients’ taste is one of the distinguishing elements of the Seves Group’s business vision, which entails a high degree of flexibility to suit the customer. Production plans are therefore adapted according to each situation. Precisely because of its specialisation, Seves Glassblock has in fact managed to develop solutions that have rendered more flexible a production process that is traditionally ‘rigid’.