Meeting Market Demand for Customized Architectural Railing Systems

Cable railing infill for post mounted railing system

As the architectural community continues to push new limits for customization in design, suppliers must deliver solutions that meet market demand. While there is increased demand for customized solutions, it’s important to note that human comfort, aesthetics and visual appeal of the built environment remain a key requirement. Balustrades, along with hand and guard railing systems must function as a life safety product. With ever-changing industry demands and steady product evolution, suppliers must deliver customized railing solutions that fulfill the aesthetic expectations and flexibility requirements.

Customization in Design

In today’s industry, the variety of choices in the design detail are allowing architects to push the limits. More and more you see the demand for glass, cable, varying types of infill and lighting being used to make a visual impact. The materials themselves aren’t the only factor driving this need for flexibility. Architects are focusing on environmental designs that are friendly to the human condition by providing opportunities for increased visual comfort. This includes access to natural light, balance of acoustics, visual privacy and security, all the while creating a healthy and inspiring spaces to live and work.

Meeting Demands Head On

The handrail is an important structural component that has gradually transformed from a simple element designed to provide safety and protection to an aesthetically important design detail. Throughout the years, several factors have brought handrail applications to the forefront.

  • Daylighting – As the concept of daylighting continues to spread through the design world, the demand for building elements that maximize the impact of natural light has grown as well. This movement towards cleaner, open spaces with less visual impact has influenced the evolution of handrail design and material selection.
  • Material Selection – Choosing the desired material is critical. As trends increasingly lead to open-lined design, cable or glass railing may be the most desirable option. For architects who specifically design for strength and durability, the advantages of stainless handrail are considerable. While aesthetics may primarily drive decision criteria, additional factors that impact form and function must also be weighed.
  • Code Compliance – The International Building Code (IBC 2015) – the standard building code model – goes beyond dimensional requirements and focuses on creating safe environments. While most architects are familiar with the dimensional requirements set forth by IBC 2015, the structural requirements are equally important and must be considered. Determining the most reasonable code requires bearing in mind maximum safety and liability factors. 

Leveraging Illuminated Railings 

Illuminated handrail is steadily increasing in building and site design following dramatic growth in small form factor LED light sources. Traditionally, linear railing system designs and lighting have been combined to meet long, straight runs. For architects designing to meet more unique geometries, point source LED lights allow for aesthetically pleasing, code-compliant solutions. By including LED lighting technology in the handrail application, specific lighting requirements are met to ensure safe navigation in dark or low light conditions. 

Working with a Trusted Supplier

Suppliers act as a resource and bring a precise evaluation of all factors that influence railing systems. In today’s market, architects look for one point of accountability across multiple disciplines. Combining multiple components and creating a single line of purchasing responsibility provides value and overall process effectiveness. The best bet is to leverage expert resources – which, in the end, provide the clarity and assurance needed, and save valuable time in the design process. Fundamentally, they must produce a proven, trusted product that you will state your name against.

Trusted, innovative and proven – characteristics that are essential in a railing supplier. Wagner has been delivering innovative railing systems for over 60 years, with thousands of installations worldwide. We deliver proven railing solutions for any environment with a focus on providing handrails that combine style and sophistication with quality and durability. To learn more about Wagner handrail systems, contact us.


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