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The Technology of Tension |


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A visual summary of the latest article, "The Technology of Tension" by Autumn Thatcher. Read the full article and subscribe to the e-newsletter at

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The Technology of Tension |

  1. 1. Article by Autumn Thatcher The Technology of Tension
  2. 2. Not all Technology is Digital In fact, tension fabric, the kind that is bent, shaped, and wrapped around an underlying structure to form cap9va9ng and thought-­‐provoking forms, can be as effec9ve for genera9ng rich a=endee experiences as any mobile app. Deb Roth and her team at New York-­‐based the Originators are on a mission to stretch the proper9es of tension fabric into amazing possibili9es for events. The Originators are on a mission…
  3. 3. “Events are our main thing…We bring the wow factor. We bring the excitement and the visuals. There are a lot of people in our field that do the same kind of thing, but we are really at the creative end of it.” -­‐ Deb Roth
  4. 4. Roth began working with fabric structures over 20 years ago, at a 9me when there was li=le technology surrounding the art, and she hand drew, designed, and cut her visions into a standing structure. Now, Roth and her team s9ll hand draw their designs, but then take them to the computer, working with 3D soIware to bring their visions to life.
  5. 5. Because of their flexibility, fabric structures are used in many capaci9es. Some common uses include: ar9s9c décor, tunneled walkways, and wall art, to name a few. “The underlying structure can be made out of different things,” says Roth, who works largely with aluminum tube frames and a “pillowcasing” technique where the fabric covers the whole frame and is zipped in place. Tensioning Out Roth also refers to “tensioning out” the fabric, a process that is done by extending the fabric out from points on walls and ceilings.
  6. 6. Once there is tension in the fabric, it has a different light. It has a real life to it—that actually moves,” Roth says. When the fabrics are tensioned out, the designers can then use different rods to shape them. Tensioned fabrics are rigged into place using anything from fiberglass rod, to plas9c rods or rings, to PVC pipes.
  7. 7. The fabric stays in place by being a=ached to the structure. In addi9on to pillowcases, zippers and 9es are viable op9ons for securing the fabric to the structure. Because fabric structures are made out of a stretchable material and secured onto shapeable frames, there is almost an unlimited universe of possible shapes.
  8. 8. “The thing about this kind of medium is that it actually can do almost anything. It’s a great design medium,” Though the possibili9es seem endless, fabric structures do have shapes that are a bit harder to create. Roth points to a circular pa=ern as the most difficult one to achieve. “There is always a low point and that’s how it gets structurally strong. We call it scalloping,” Roth explains. If a client requests a ball shape, there will be scalloping that prevents a puffed out, ball shape. However, the human eye will interpret the shape as a ball and not think twice about it.
  9. 9. Fabric structures are enabling event organizers to bring visual excitement to their events without spending too much time on the process. The structures are very lightweight, and easy to use. The structures fit together nicely, and can stand on their own; the fabrics can be stretched over columns, or put up on walls with logos and other branding pieces projected onto them. Fabric structures can also be used as tunnels, ceiling treatments, dividers, and even abstract costumes.
  10. 10. Transform your space in 15 minutes! BRING THE “WOW!” Bringing the wow is why Roth Enjoys working with event organizers. From projec9ng lights onto uniquely shaped white fabric to building 140-­‐foot tunnels for the 2014 Super Bowl party, the structures are an affordable way to dazzle event a=endees.
  11. 11. Fabric structures from the Originators range from $350 and up, depending on the size, prin9ng, and complexity of the project. The installa9ons change events because of their ability to visually s9mulate those in a=endance and leave long-­‐ las9ng impressions. “You want to impress people when they walk in; you want to have something amazing. What can you do to make people really remember the event?”
  12. 12. This Presentation Was Brought To you by Read the full ar9cle and subscribe to the e-­‐newsle=er at Follow us on Twi=er @EventTechBrief