A successful collaboration between architects and tensile designers reached its final stage at Frankfurt’s Light + Building festival and trade fair, where MDT-tex launched the final Tensilation Type EV canopy system. Grimshaw has been working with MDT-tex to develop a product that offers both the flexibility that comes with modular canopies and the engineering advantages of a unified structure.
The resulting design created a dramatic display at Light + Building, and delighted design-savvy spectators, while situated in the courtyard of the grand Palais Thurn & Taxis in the heart of Frankfurt. Projections by photographer and light artist, Laurenz Theinert, brought the canopies to life.
Grimshaw Associate, Jorrin ten Have said, “Grimshaw and MDT-tex have been designing, testing, prototyping and enhancing the Tensilation canopy system for the past 12 months and it was great to see the final product showcased in a public celebration of design and creativity.”
While design is a key feature, ensuring the robustness of the overall frame and materials was an important part of the process and final product. Each canopy unit is structurally connected to its neighbours, creating a unified form strengthened by its components.
Drainage takes place via a series of central supporting columns and each canopy piece is connected with a watertight capping to produce a weather-protective system. Standing at a height of nearly 4 m, each canopy unit is under 30 kg making Tensilation one the lightest structures in its class.
Through innovative tensile design, and lightweight fabrics and cables, the product requires no special lifting equipment and only three people to erect. Tensilation’s overall form is comprised of tessellating diamond and square-shaped canopies that fit together in a variety of configurations, while creating an elegant overall impression.
The flexibility in its shape means the canopy system can be used independently, or annexed to buildings or marquees to deal quickly with changes in crowd size, seamlessly connecting fixed and temporary spaces. Its vaulted form provides an expressive structure designed for events and pop-up spaces, as demonstrated at Light + Building.
Speaking of the partnership with Grimshaw, Enlai Hooi, Creative Director at MDT-tex said, “We have never had such a productive and intense collaboration as with Grimshaw Architects. Every part of the product has been created with equal input and enthusiasm from both sides, and it has been a fantastic experience.” Source by Grimshaw and photos Becker Lacour – Olaf Becker, Courtesy of Grimshaw.