Design as a Factor

What exactly is it – good product design? Even as a manufacturer of steel profile systems with almost one hundred years of expertise, we have to face this question again and again.

After the last issue of the architect magazine SCALE focused on the topic of safety, this issue is all about good design. It is not at all easy to describe what constitutes ‘good’ design in a steel profile system. Depending on the perspective from which you look at it – whether as a manufacturer, as a planner and fabricator or as a user – the aspects are completely different.

As a manufacturer of steel profile systems for windows and doors, façades and fixed glazing, we understand «good» design to mean the interaction of form and function in the sense that they promote or complement each other. For example, the highly resilient material steel can be used to reduce the face widths of window and façade profiles to a minimum and thus increase daylight intake – without jeopardising their primary function as a component of the thermal building envelope. Highly insulating steel systems help to reduce the operating costs of buildings – not only because windows and doors made of high-precision steel profies reliably close tightly, but also because the associated hinges and fittings function reliably for a long time. Long functional reliability, in turn, is an essential criterion for greater sustainability in the building industry.
In addition, steel is the most recycled construction material in the world. Its high level of disposal safety and the recycling economy that has been practised for decades are positive factors in the environmental balance of steel profile systems – an aspect that we want to take into account even more strongly than before in product developments in the future.

But no matter how sophisticated our steel systems for windows and doors, façades and fixed glazing may be, it is only when they are used in construction, i.e. in combination with other products, that they become «good» architecture in the best case. The path from the individual product to the finished building is a long one and not always smooth: system providers, architects and planners and last but not least the metalworkers, must aim for the same goal in order to create «good» architecture. Users intuitively sense whether a design is aesthetically pleasing or not: If the first impression touches them pleasantly, we at Jansen have also achieved our goal.