2016 was a huge year for Ultraframe and its roof lantern UltraSky. The newcomer to the roof lantern market, Ultraframe developed the only lantern on the market which combines aluminium and PVC. But it’s roof lantern UltraSky’s ‘less bars’ message which is stealing the show when it comes to retailing. In this feature we talk to Andrew Thomson, Design and Development Director at Ultraframe and we also talk to Mike Parry, Managing Director at BellaVista in Manchester.

Mike, you’ve been in the conservatory retail industry for 19 years and previously you’ve shied away from installing lanterns – why is that?  “We’ve got a really solid business at BellaVista, people come to us when they want something really special, our local reputation is very much founded on good design principles, with that in mind we only work with systems that we trust and look great. I’m a strong advocate of Ultraframe so when I saw UltraSky Lantern for the first time I was keen to really understand how it would add value to our offering.”

Let’s come back to you Mike. Andrew, we reported at the end of last year about the impact of UltraSky Lantern, in terms of the development of UltraSky Lantern was that a consideration to think about how retailers would slot the lantern into their offering?  “For the last five years we’ve been on a product development journey to ensure that there is an Ultraframe solution for every conceivable style of extension.  UltraSky Lantern is just part of the story. We spent a long time developing what we believe is the most thermally efficient lantern on the market. We also knew that designing a lantern without bars was critical. You have to remember that often lanterns are used to create a real focal point, we often see installations where UltraSky Lantern has almost been used as a natural spotlight whether that’s over a kitchen island unit, a dining table and so on – so our ‘less bars, more light’ was critical to it’s adoption.”

Mike, do you agree with Andrew, how are you using the lantern? “Ultraframe has got it spot on. Not only with the ability to mix aluminium and PVC but in the simplicity of the clear sight lines through the UltraSky Lantern. We’ve just completed a big extension job that might have previously gone to a builder. But using UltraSky Lantern we’ve created a stunning open-plan dining kitchen, spanning virtually the entire width of the house. The couple wanted something really elegant that would allow them to showcase their modern kitchen. Any other style of roof would have jarred with what the couple were trying to achieve. Combined with a flat roof, we used two, 2m by 2.5m UltraSky Lantern, using aluminium inside and out, but with white inside and anthracite grey on the outer to tie in with the bi-fold doors. The family are really pleased. They wanted to move away from a fussy, what you might call traditional conservatory, to something that is elegant, timeless and really creates a wow factor as you enter the new space.

“What the UltraSky Lantern brings to BellaVista is the ability for us to stay with the tried and trusted systems delivered through Ultraframe’s fabricator partner Connaught. We work really closely with Connaught to adapt our business to ensure we integrate new systems quickly. If you look at the job (pictured) I’ve described the couple were adamant that they wanted a roof lantern, the decision for me would have been to either convince them otherwise, or supply something else, which I’d have been reluctant to do.  This job is a fantastic showcase for the flexibility of UltraSky Lantern – what the couple have got is a clear view of the sky, exactly what they hoped to achieve.”