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Covering the environment

February 20, 2017

Eco-concerns increase in truck and tarp industry These days, nearly every business is burdened with some kind of environmental challenge. These challenges include cutting landfill deposits, disposing toxic-laden wastes in a proper manner and educating employees on workplace recycling. Nearly every company has pressures from regulators and customers to change their products and processes to …

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Eyes in the sky

December 1, 2016

Drone photography is the latest tool for tent professionals to show off their stuff. I flew a drone for the first time at IFAI Tent Expo 2015 and was instantly obsessed. The experience of controlling a copter 400 feet away was amazing! The things I could see and the photos and video I could take …

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Getting the word out about fabric graphics

August 1, 2016

Fabric graphics have become a marketing and branding essential. As they go outside to play, the medium is definitely part of the message. Fabric graphics are a perfect vehicle for our branding-obsessed culture, providing the ability to transmit messages in fun, colorful, impactful and attention-getting ways. Fabrics and fabric graphics are at home everywhere indoors, …

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Revealing the romance of sailcloth tents

July 13, 2016

Trendspotting online shows tent renters and manufacturers what brides are looking for. If you want to know what’s trending in fashionable apparel, look to Paris, France. If you want to know what’s trending in automotive design, look to Torino, Italy. If you want to know what’s trending in cuisine, look on either coast of the …

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Start to finish

February 15, 2016

Fabric structure companies with metal shops make material decisions based on multiple factors. Site conditions, local building codes, aspects of design and customer preferences dictate the type of metal used with fabric structures, says Gerald Thompson, CEO of Awnings of Hollywood. His company works with high-strength steel pipe and tubing, aluminum pipe and tubing, and …

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Demand + supply = prevail

October 1, 2015

Robert Cole brings decades of experience and common sense to the time-honored but always evolving economic model of supply and demand. One of the great things this industry has to offer is the quality of its suppliers,” says Robert Cole, IFAI Honored Life Member (HLM) and owner of Goodwin-Cole, Sacramento, Calif. “They’ve kept our industry …

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Just right

September 2, 2015

With the right guidelines and strategies, calculating the correct square footage for a tented event can be more science than art. Accurately calculating the amount of space a tented event requires is a critical component of the service that tent and event professionals provide. A too-small structure will result in an overcrowded event, impeding flow …

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Taking center stage

August 26, 2015

Whether they are watching an orchestra performing under a soft-sided band shell or in a field with thousands of other fans screaming along with their favorite band, outdoor concert attendees probably aren’t noticing two of the biggest supporting players: staging and tenting. For rental companies, portable stages and large tensile structures represent opportunities for new …

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Attachment issues

August 21, 2015

Connecting a tent to a building poses a set of challenges for tent installers. Stability, weatherproofing, auxiliary HVAC systems and custom flooring all need to be accounted for. These projects almost always require customized solutions that take the unique environment of the building and the tent site into consideration. One of the biggest considerations is …

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Work smarter

August 1, 2015

Tools and strategies to help tent rental companies get maximum efficiency from their crews. “Our philosophy is that installing tents is hard. How can we make it easier for the installer?” posits Kenny Puff, armed with an answer. “Every tent installer should have his own toolkit with the basics so they’re not continually borrowing or …

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Shape shifters

May 18, 2015

Today’s tent manufacturers and renters are thinking outside the rectangle. The Pythagoreans dissected a sphere as early as 600 B.C. Plato and Buckminster Fuller took the ball and ran with it, so to speak. But in 2015, Platonic polyhedral/geodesic domes still are fresh on the scene when it comes to tented events. After all, rental …

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Open ended

Stretch-tent companies tout their limitless options “With consumers being bombarded by the latest and greatest marketing techniques, companies are always interested in ways to capture their audience’s attention,” says Stuart Johnstone, owner of Stretch Marquees & Fabric Structures in Sydney, Australia. “New designs are always a hit. “The exciting thing about working with stretch tents …

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Living it up, outside

January 1, 2015

Screens and shades that protect from wind, sun and insects bring indoor comforts to outdoor living. Outdoor living is a growing trend for homeowners seeking to relax and entertain outside with all the comforts of indoor living. Restaurants and hotels are also extending guest areas to outdoor patios, sidewalks, rooftops and beachfronts. All of this …

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Fabric defense

November 1, 2014

Fabric shelter systems protect valuable aircraft, equipment and military personnel in Afghanistan. Durable fabric relocatable military buildings, temporary hangars, aircraft shelters, storage warehouses and sunshades are designed to be rapidly deployed and quickly constructed anywhere in the world. These engineered aluminum-framed structures are robust, reliable and field maintainable. They are designed to support defense requirements …

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The portable yurt

Modern-day nomads will appreciate how an ancient type of dwelling has been updated for their busy lives. The Jero yurt is comparatively lightweight and can be packed into a small car or even towed on a bicycle trailer. Three people can assemble it in less than two hours–no tools required. Available from Trakke, the Scottish …

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Reclaiming the industry

October 1, 2014

Overall trends in the once-again growing specialty fabrics industry. After years of struggles, there’s optimism in the U.S. textile industry. The recent recession took its toll, but growth was already flagging from increased off-shore production and a shrinking skilled workforce, among other things. While the textile industry is many faceted and complex, it’s safe to …

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Covering all the bases

Today’s tents and fabric structures aren’t just safe shelter; they’ve become key contributors to memorable events and are providing semi-permanent and permanent structural solutions. “Give me something different.” It’s a request event planners have been fielding much more often. Although it’s always been desirable that tents should make a good first impression—after all, an aesthetically …

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Fabric performance: Setting the stage at Bally’s Las Vegas

June 16, 2014

With a bevy of showgirls all glammed up in glitzy costumes kicking it, singing and dancing, the iconic Jubilee is a classic Las Vegas extravaganza. The Bally’s Las Vegas show was created by producer Donn Arden in 1981. Recently, though, Bally’s decided the show needed a revamp. Frank Gatson Jr., a noted creative director and …

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Fleece “fronds” define winning stage design

February 1, 2014

The World Stage Design 2013 (WSD2013) brief for its design competition, held every four years, challenged the ingenuity and sustainability credentials of participants. “We asked for a venue that was eco-conscious, could seat up to 150 people, host a variety of events and be self-built, all for an outlay of less than £20,000,” said Ian …

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Weaving magic in ‘The Space between Us’

Janet Echelman’s art installations create an almost mystical connection between earth, light and air, appearing over the skylines in venues from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Sydney, Australia. GLOW 2013, an organization sponsoring a dusk-to-dawn art celebration held in Santa Monica, Calif., commissioned Echelman to help transform the beach into a “playground for thoughtful and participatory, …

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Tented artistry: paint, print, thread and fabric

January 1, 2014

From antiquity to the present day, tents have provided shelter, comfort and space to dream, pray or imagine. Francesco Clemente, whose drawings, paintings and conceptual works integrate Western and Eastern themes, exhibited three tents at the Blain|Southern gallery in Berlin, Germany, this fall that incorporated all of his artistic skills to wrap viewers in colorful …

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Solutions in motion

 “Make your customers remember you. Make them laugh—but don’t be a salesman,” says Andy Moon, CEO of Baraboo Tent & Awning, Baraboo, Wis. “It’s your presence that makes an impression. Be a problem solver and help your customers out.” Moon grew up in and around the custom awning, canopy and marine business, in a company …

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Primer for printing

Digital printing on textiles expands client lists and adds new dimensions to product innovation. For the Brooklyn Plantology garden center in New York, Capitol Awning Co. of Jamaica, N.Y., created a custom awning that showcased a logo, text and a leafy design that captured the essence of the space. The shop printed the imagery directly …

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Refugee shelter canopy cools, insulates and connects

December 1, 2013

Shelters in refugee camps, mostly tents, usually deteriorate within six months, battered by sun, wind and rain. Refugees often stay in camps for years. Swedish home products manufacturing giant IKEA and the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency and Refugee Housing Unit joined forces in 2008 to build a better home for people already struggling with …

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Positively portable structures

November 1, 2013

High-performance cladding makes transportable fabric structures unique—and practical. Native Americans have known for eons about the virtues of lightweight, flexible fabric-wrapped structures, long before Europeans arrived in North America in the 15th century. Camping enthusiasts have appreciated lightweight, portable tents for generations. Likewise, rock concert road shows have benefited from the sophisticated techniques of mobile …

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Jamboree tents: clean, helpful and thrifty

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) hold a National Scout Jamboree every four years, uniting scouts from around the nation for 10 days of outdoor adventure, fun and education. Thousands of scouts, staff and volunteers raised tents in July 2013 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Mount Hope, W. Va., a 10,000-acre site donated to …

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Single shelter (in your shoes)

October 1, 2013

Sneakers come with a built-in tent for a personal shelter anywhere you go. They could be called “shoe-tent,” “sneaker-shelter” or “mobile habitat.” The creators, an Australian architecture collective, chose “Walking Shelter,” for a pair of canvas high-top shoes that (mostly) conceal enough fabric and findings to fashion a personal shelter, right there on the spot. …

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Sales support driving the way

Alex Kouzmanoff translates customer service into customer satisfaction—by listening. By Sigrid Tornquist “When someone is totally incentivized by sales, there is no backup after the sale is made,” says Alex Kouzmanoff, vice president, Aztec Tents, Torrance, Calif. “We wanted to focus our sales efforts on service and making sure that, whether or not the sale …

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The Solar Impulse, sheltered

September 1, 2013

The term “barnstorming” means traveling around the countryside giving speeches, lectures or performances. Solar Impulse, the first aircraft that runs completely on solar energy, barnstormed across America to make a point about dramatic progress in renewable solar power. The Swiss team that developed and pilots the Solar Impulse, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, completed the …

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Architect’s lightweight permanent structure

August 1, 2013

[Structurflex LLC.] , Kansas City, Mo., U.S.A. Working with an architect’s concept, Structurflex LLC. developed this lightweight permanent structure to provide entertaining space for fans at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif. The fabricated membrane (Ferrari 1202 T2) was designed with elevated ETFE caps to allow heat to rise and escape, …

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Membrane structure for special events and conferences

[Lonas Lorenzo SA de CV] Guadalajara, Mexico Lonas Lorenzo created this spacious and elegant structure for special events and conferences hosted by the State Workers Union Federation in Mexico. The 1480-square-meter membrane is mounted without inside columns for aesthetic appeal, providing functional space that is protected from the hot Guadalajara sun.

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Supporting disaster relief

Companies respond to catastrophic situations when demand spikes for specific goods. By Janice Kleinschmidt Tents should be for parties and festivals. Bags should be for gifts and carrying groceries. Curtains should be for showers and window dressing. Yet these and many other fabric-based items play an important role in situations far removed from those idyllic …

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Interior textiles

Fabric technology has taken designers from tents and art installations to a mainstream commercial business in hospitality and retail spaces. By Nicholas Goldsmith With the advent of the turbulent 1960s, there was a departure from the hard-edged architecture of the 1950s to more organic and softer forms inspired by nature. Along with the nonporous pneumatic …

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Breaking ground in Africa

July 1, 2013

A big, wide-open market equals growth opportunity for the tent business. By Barb Ernster Having grown up in Uganda until age seven, Nick Lavy, managing director at Röder UK Ltd., says, “There’s something about the lure of Africa that brings you back. It gets in your blood.” From his office in Cambridge, U.K., Lavy can …

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Raising the bar from tent rentals to event services partner

June 1, 2013

Dan Nolan III expands services to bring clients what they need and want. By Sigrid Tornquist “We don’t want to plan your event; we want to support your event,” says Dan Nolan III, managing partner of Tents Unlimited Inc., Marietta, Ga., and chairman of IFAI’s Tent Rental Division. “We offer turnkey services so clients don’t …

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Kenafine recyclable coated fabric for architectural structures

PTFE- and PVC-coated fabrics are often used in tents and membrane structures, but have been difficult to recycle due to the difficulty of separating the fibers from the coating resins. Taiyo Kogyo has developed Kenafine™ for architectural structures, a “green” fabric made by weaving kenaf bast fiber with polyester fiber as a base fabric; it …

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BetterVue screen enclosures from Phifer Inc.

BetterVue® Improved Visibility Insect Screen is recommended for all screening applications: windows, doors or porches. Its increased openness and smaller yarn diameters offer increased protection against insects and maximize the outward view, making it sharper and more brilliant. Phifer Inc. provides a variety of options for screen enclosures—fiberglass, aluminum, bronze or stainless—in a range of …

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Arena Group acquires Karl’s Event Services

Arena Group acquires Karl’s Event Services Karl’s Event Services, Oak Creek, Wis., has been acquired by the Arena Group, a global provider of temporary structures, seating, design and overlay services for live events. Arena operates from multiple locations in the U.K., Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain and now the U.S. Karl’s has supported events throughout …

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Fast-track shade structures shelter racing fans

May 1, 2013

The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, a Formula 1 racing venue for high-end racing events and demanding fans, hosted its inaugural GRAND-AM of The Americas in March 2013. Track management proposed luxury accommodations for customers and initially planned residential-grade shading for its trackside VIP areas. A marketing representative for outdoor products, H.C. …

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Olympic spinning athletes ride under world-class screen

The London 2012 Olympic Games gave Great Britain a chance to celebrate with the world. Now a tensile fabric specialist, Base Structures, Bristol, England, has permission to display an Olympic portfolio with temporary Olympic structures developed from 2009 to the opening day in 2012. The company earned £4.4 million for developing four major venues, including …

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Small tents make a big impact

Scaling down on size can offer more options—and better economy—to customers in the tent market. By Barb Ernster Small frame tents and canopies that have dominated the tent rental business for years are getting a makeover. Innovative designs that improve on style and setup, yet offer stability and durability, are replacing traditional pole frame tents, …

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Extra wide, less waste with Ennis 1974

Ennis 1974, a PVC-coated polyester with acrylic finish, is designed to withstand extreme environments for commercial awnings, tents, canopies, tension and inflatable structures. In addition to thermal insulation, superior chemical aging resistance, fire resistance, UV and gamma radiation stability, and excellent properties in tension and deflection, it also offers soundproofing. A highly weldable product, it …

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Excellent dirt resistance with STAM 6002

STAM 6002, made by Serge Ferrari and available from Keyston Bros., offers a textured surface with an acrylic-looking topcoat. It is flexible for easy handling and installation and for creating textile structures. The PVDF matte surface coating ensures excellent dirt resistance and maintenance and offers a more natural look for franchises, communities or residences that …

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Lark International vinyl fabrics

Vinyl fabrics with more plasticizers from Lark International offer flexibility and less permanent creasing at a competitive price. Well suited for tents, sidewalls, inflatables and banners. SOURCE Lark International Inc.

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Eventstar delivers sophisticated structure for celebrity event

[Eventstar Structures Corp] Miami, Fla., U.S.A Eventstar Structures was commissioned by a world-renowned event firm to design a modern temporary structure for a celebrity dinner with 400 VIP guests. This 68-by-138 square-foot structure made with Ferrari S.A. vinyl featured a multilevel glass façade and wrap-around parapet beneath a thermo-pressurized roof system. A 16-by-150-foot grand entrance …

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Röder HTS Höcker pushes the limits for AUDI

[Röder HTS Höcker GmbH] Kefenrod, Germany Röder HTS Höcker pushed the limits with this modern temporary structure used by AUDI during a European DTM Car Races tour. The project required ground-breaking concepts in building design to meet client requirements, including a three-day install and two-day takedown time to accommodate the schedule. The 600-square-meter complex made …

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Baytex big top artistry

[Baytex Manufacturing Co. Ltd.] Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand Extra high peaks and striking graphics make this 40-meter circus big top an impressive center stage for performers and thrill-seekers. Designed to complement a 24-meter foyer tent, Baytex Manufacturing made the circus tent from Ferrari Big Top fabric and its graphic elements from Ferrari 502 PVC, which …

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Structure for shade and for show

For the Envision Festival 2012 in Costa Rica, festival organizers wanted a free-standing structure that would serve both as a functional space and as a vivid showpiece for visitors. It would provide partial shade for morning yoga classes and mid-day workshops, and should also make a striking visual complement to the site. They were familiar …

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Eco Tent for Everglades overnights

March 1, 2013

The National Parks Service (NPS) wants visitors to experience the solitude, silence and beauty of the outdoors, without necessarily being treated to unpredictable weather, pests and uncomfortable nights trying to sleep on the ground. Camper cabins are intrinsic to many new park designs, and when the NPS asked the University of Miami to design a …

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Fred Tracy brings creative solutions

February 1, 2013

Fred Tracy brings creative solutions to his work in the tent industry. By Sigrid Tornquist Change is our company strategy,” says Fred Tracy, owner of Fred’s Tents and Canopies Inc., Stillwater, N.Y. “You can’t be like a horse in a harness race, with blinders on—you have to keep your eyes open and find ideas you …