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Local firms help architects ‘break the tent envelope’ for Design Miami

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At the tender age of 37, Alain Perez, president of Eventstar Productions, the South Florida company that collaborated with the architects to create Design Miami’s showcase pavilion, is the elder statesman of this group of young innovators.

Eventstar managed the technical requirements of the structure. The 11-year-old firm has won outstanding achievement awards from IFAI for the last three years for its innovative design work.

“From an engineering standpoint, it had special modifications,” Perez says. “Because of the need for huge interior spans to create large open spaces for display, we recommended reinforcing the slender box beams with interior sleeves. That was one of the really unique features of this building.”

Alexandra Donnalley-Saludes — who founded the 2.5-year-old The Sight on Site Group out of Hollywood, Florida — was brought in by Perez to consult with Aranda/Lasch on the design and fabrication of the lace façade and to “physically marry the tent structure to the fabric design.” Aranda/Lasch wanted to create a façade that would hang 9.4m in the air but, unlike their more fabric-savvy collaborators, they didn’t know exactly how fabric would behave in an outdoor subtropicical setting. Saludes, an event producer and collaborator with Eventstar, made sure that that fabric design would be structurally sound, safe enough to stay up for two weeks and able to create a state-of-the-art end product that would represent the intricate design the architects had come up with. Last, she had to implement the intricate construction and installation of the façade on-site.

“This structure is a combination of several types,” remarks Alain Perez. “The front façade was 12m high in center, an exaggerated pitch, with huge spans 15m in width cantilevered to achieve the desired interior space and exterior colonnade.”

“It was a great learning experience,” Perez says. “They all are, but the architect really pushed the envelope on this and it was a lot of fun.”

Joanna Baymiller, a contributing editor of Fabric Architecture, writes frequently on architecture and design.

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