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Pushing the Glass Envelope

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The phrase “pushing the envelope” may be a familiar, ubiquitous one, but its meaning may come as a surprise. The term itself is not a reference to the stationary letter everyone is familiar with. Instead, pushing the envelope refers to science and the attributes associated with aeronautics. Surpassing standards, breaking barriers, and going beyond the regular limits to exceed expectations is what pushing the envelope truly means, which is why this term is so fitting for Bass Installation.

With a team of professionally skilled trades-people from both the Ironworkers and Glaziers unions, Bass Installation provides professional curtainwall and glazing installation services to the commercial, residential, institutional, and industrial sector within the Greater Toronto Area. Focusing mainly on the building envelope — a term given to the exterior of a building which includes all the building components that separate the indoors from the outdoors — Bass Installation specializes in curtain wall systems, cable wall systems, skylights, canopies and more.

Trying to continuously create new and innovative methods to install complicated structures could prove difficult to most, but not to the people at Bass Installation; in fact, they thrive on it. Each time Bass Installation takes on a new project, it pushes itself to think of something different. After completing standout project after project, the team finally reach a point where they think they have outdone themselves. That is, however, until the next project comes along. With a catalogue of immensely detailed and highly skilled work under their belt, the team at Bass Installation are not only pushing the glass envelope, they are shattering the creative walls.

President of Bass Installation, Stephen Callender, is no stranger to hard work or business. Having moved to Canada from Barbados more than 47 years ago, his first job was in a window factory. Ironically enough, the name of the street Callender first worked on when he arrived in Canada was Barbados Boulevard. Taking this as a sign, he continued on his current trajectory and aimed to differentiate himself form other businesses. With a willingness to succeed in mind, Callender led Bass Installation to success and the company is now celebrating 20 years of business.

“We always take a challenge. We have a design or concept and we adhere to that. If you can design it, we can install it. We always pride ourselves in finding ways to get things done. Regardless of the design or complications, there’s always a way to getting started. We use technology quite a bit more than a lot of other companies that really help us document information, which gives a lot of value back to the customer. So, when anything is happening on site, they have access to the reports.”

“The finish on the canopy is a testament to the skills of all those at Bass Installation.”

It is not only the installation, but the execution of its projects that is most impressive with this company. One project in particular is the canopy at The Well. The unique approach to this body of work is distinctive, emulating a skylight above an open atrium. The fluidity of the structure and manipulation of the materials creates a distinctive finish, adding movement to what could have been an otherwise rigid structure. The finish on the canopy is a testament to the skills of all those at Bass Installation.

Another successful project includes the TD Tower on Front Street. The tower is not the usual square or rectangle shape. Instead, the tower is an awkwardly curved structure, which was something of a challenge. Unsurprisingly, Bass used its wealth of knowledge and skill to complete the project to an incredibly high standard. Overcoming challenges and moving with the flow of the industry is something that Natasha Callender, Vice President of Bass Installation, knows a lot about. “I like looking back at the City of Toronto and knowing that we’ve been a part of its growth and evolution for two decades. I always tell the story that when I go to an airport and I see one of those globes or some skyline figurine, I can almost tell you what year roughly that was taken, depending on the different buildings that are in that Skyline.”

TD tower project by bass
TD Tower – Front Street, Toronto

Natasha, Stephen’s daughter, has been involved with Bass for 18 years. The experience that comes from a lifetime in the industry cannot be understated. Natasha has been part of many standout projects during her time at the company and has experienced many highlights while on this journey. “A standout project for me would be the TEC bridge. Being a glass structure, there was a unique twist involved at each bracket. It was a very interesting installation and is a different type of project to the ones we typically work on. But it goes to show the range and variety that we can offer, in terms of different buildings and structures that we could install.”

TEC project by Bass
Toronto Eaton Centre bridge

Celebrating 20 years in business is a milestone for any company and it gives a chance to reflect on how it got there. At Bass Installation, it is also a chance to recognize the people who helped it reach this milestone. Director of Business Development, Rob Gabriele, mentioned during the interview that outside of himself, Stephen and Natasha, there are so many more people responsible for the successes of Bass Installation.

At its core, Bass Installation is a family business and the principles that make up the foundation of this business are those family attributes and morals instilled in Stephen and Natasha. Attributes such as integrity and credibility go a long way at Bass and those are some of the values that hold the company together. The ultimate goal for Stephen is for the employees of Bass to feel part of the Bass family and be proud of the contributions they make.

With these goals in mind along with continued success, Bass Installation is looking towards the future. The company has plans to take more of the market share by developing its supply, fabrication, and product offerings. This addition will broaden its range and abilities even further, allowing it to support its clients in a multifaceted way. For the team at Bass, it is important to be recognized as a full-scale glazing contractor. Simply put, this is a company that offers much more than installations. With its family values and skilled workers successfully leading the company to success, it is no wonder Bass Installation is continuing to soar. For Rob, the company stands as an outlier across a crowded sector. Bass Installation is a successful combination of ability and heart. By combining the attributes that come with growth and development along with the mindset of a family business, the company is positioned for sustained success. “There’s a saying that I put on some of my presentations, which kind of sums it all up: we are big enough to make a difference and small enough to care. We’ve got the people and we’ve got the skills and that’s where we can make the difference. We’re small enough that we don’t get lost and not know who our employees are. So, we’re not lost in your hundreds and thousands of employees and not knowing them by name. We know them by name and we see them and appreciate them.”

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