DROP Structures and Halio North America Unite to Create A Technology Showcase

Halio Glass Structure 2.jpeg

Last year, Halio North America (HNA) approached us with a problem. They’d developed a revolutionary new glass that could tint on-demand, from clear to almost completely black. They had an amazing product – one they’d worked hard to get to market – and they needed a way to showcase their many innovations in electrochromic technology.

Halio is innovative glass technology

Halio glass looks like conventional glass until it quickly tints to block heat and glare, making blinds and curtains a thing of the past; the darkest tint resembles the evening sky. Changing the Halio’s tint can be achieved in a variety of ways: through an app, a wall-mounted tint selector, or even via voice commands. Not only does this mean beautiful glass-walled conference rooms can gain instant privacy, but it also means office buildings equipped with Halio windows can save on utilities through Halio’s smart-tinting features. By setting Halio windows to automatically tint during the hottest parts of the summer days, or leaving them translucent in the winter to let in the sun and retain heat, Halio smart-tinting glass helps to actively manage heat and light in buildings so the air conditioning/heating doesn’t have to work so hard.

Demoing Halio technology

While the implications of Halio technology are amazing, the sample glass used by the HNA sales teams didn’t quite convey the product’s possibilities. Its small sample size didn’t have the impact the team wanted. 

“Smart-tinting glass is very experiential,” Sam Richardson, a HNA sales and marketing associate, said. “People just can’t appreciate the true impact of the technology by looking at a small piece of glass. So we had an idea to create something that we could pull up to an architecture firm, which would let them experience our glass as you would in a building.”

After tossing around some ideas, the HNA team decided a glass-intensive small structure would show off the true feel and full implications of the Halio technology while being or mobile. With that in mind, they began calling around to tiny home builders and other small structure manufacturers to find one that could design and build a structure that would allow their glass to shine. 

DROP Structure’s design phase using Halio

After some searching, the HNA team came across DROP Structures on Curbed, and decided to call. The DROP Structures crew was on board immediately.

“They understood our  need right away,” Sam said, “And worked with us to create a great representation for the product and our brand.”
— Sam Richardson

HNA’s requirements for the project were simple: the structure had to create an environment that highlighted the product and be aesthetically pleasing to reflect well on the HNA brand. 

This project brief gave everyone at DROP Structures room to get creative. They came up with a simple structure, with a partial cedar exterior featuring three enormous windows fitted with Halio glass. 

With a great design ready, the DROP Structures team got to work building the showcase unit.

Halio Glass Structure.jpeg

Building and delivering the Halio glass unit

The HNA team and DROP Structures had to work closely to finish the project on time. While the construction crew got started on framing the build, HNA built large panes of smart-tinting glass to fill in the huge window placeholders as they were designed. Over the course of one monththe two companies were able to finish the project and get it on a truck. 

“It was delivered on a behemoth of a truck – they dropped it off in front of the headquarters of a potential client and people were really jazzed to get inside and experience Halio technology for themselves,” Sam said.

DROP Structure’s Solution

In fact, Halio North America was so pleased with the first unit, they ordered a second one, which was just delivered last month. The second unit had an additional stipulation, however – it had to be easily transportable. Today, the second unit sits on a trailer and is ready-to-go.

“We’re planning on relocating this periodically at various customer sites,” Sam said.

Now that HNA has two structures to showcase their product, both at home and one that will move across the country, they’re able to more effectively demonstrate the dramatic effect their product can have, by increasing privacy, helping to save on energy costs, and how it can dramatically affect the ambience of a room through the use of an app, voice commands, or with manual controls.

Jordana Gagnon