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Comfort, inside and out

Awnings & Canopies, Fabric Structures, Feature | November 1, 2013 | By:

Glass atriums and conservatories become hot-houses—even in a rainy climate such as the U.K. For tensARC, installing interior shade structures has become a huge growth area. “Because there’s no wind load on interior fabrics, the structural requirements on the fabric are reduced,” Baglin says. “You can make very elegant shapes or very simple shapes with less technical ability and therefore less cost.”

For those structures, tensARC uses a polyester/elastane stretch fabric, selected for its durability and ability to reflect the sun. “It’s a very closed knit on one side, which gives it a reflective, almost pearlescent surface,” Baglin says. “It’s good at reflecting the heat back out.”

The fabric is also washable, and tensARC installs the structures so they can easily be taken down and reinstalled by clients. “Because we use stretch fabric, it’s self-tensioning,” Baglin says. “We don’t use any rigging—just hooks onto a fitting so it’s quick to unclip and put back up. The ease of cleaning is one of the big selling points.”

Architen Landrell has been receiving an increased number of inquiries for interior fabric solutions, perhaps in part due to a record hot summer with an abundance of sunshine in the U.K. “Our phones have been ringing off the hooks with people in office buildings with glass atriums complaining that their staff can’t see their computer screens because of the glare and that it is difficult greeting people because the sun is in their eyes,” Jason Smith says. “So we’ve been designing and installing fabric sails, hypars, blinds and other custom structures to artfully handle the concern.”

For a project in Blenheim Palace in the U.K.—the birthplace of Winston Churchill—Architen Landrell installed three fabric sails underneath the gift shop’s glass atrium roof to reduce solar glare and solar gain. “The client didn’t want traditional blinds; they wanted something that would soften the space and act as an architectural feature—that is also functional,” Smith says. “We used Trapeze® fabric [from Dazian] for the installation because it effectively diffuses the light and we were able to tailor it to fit the space.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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