Shade sails find a place in the sun

September 1, 2021

For something that’s been around for thousands of years—as far back as the Roman Colosseum, if not longer—shade sails in North America have a reputation as “the new kid on the block.” While using tensioned sails to provide shade for both commercial and residential structures has been a function of fabrication shops in North America …

Birdair installs tensile roof retrofit

Custom membrane provider Birdair Inc. has brought a modern look to a shopping mall in Lancaster, Pa., with the installation of a retrofitted Tensotherm™ translucent insulated tensioned membrane system. The three-layer Tensotherm roof replaced a single-layer tensile membrane roof Birdair installed at the Park City Center mall in 1988. Tensotherm’s three layers include an outer …

Members Only  

Covering climate change

August 1, 2021

Broiling summers, harsh winters, drought, fires, hurricanes—climate change is making life harder, more fraught and dangerous for people across the globe. While political leaders and governments argue over policies and regulations, the specialty fabrics industry is stepping up to devise products to help mitigate the affects of a changing climate. Here we highlight companies whose …

2021 State of the Industry

The full 2021 State of the Industry report will be available for purchase later this year at the IFAI e-store, www.IFAI.com/estore. The full report takes a deep dive into business types and market segments. Introduction to the research This research highlights findings from more than 300 members of the industrial fabrics community who shared information …

Members Only  

Up against a wall

July 1, 2021

Wallpaper has been around for centuries—since the 16th century to be exact. In its earliest iterations, wallpaper was printed on paper in monochrome black ink, and color soon followed with the introduction of polychrome block printing. Eventually, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, vinyl wallpaper took the industry by storm because it was cheap, easy to …

Donato Fraioli continues ASATI’s tradition of innovation

The news headlines were alarming. Just before Christmas 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a case of deadly mad cow disease had been reported in Washington state.  Halfway across the country, animal disease scientists working in Ames, Iowa, faced a double whammy. Not only were they needing to fast-track research related to mad …

Members Only  

Putting the art in fabric architecture

June 1, 2021

A successful work of public art today should not be treated as an object sitting in the environment; rather it should be interpreted as the environment. —James Wines, American artist and architect James Wines is known as a provocative artist who creates building-sized installations that some would say are more architecture than art. Indeed, he …

Members Only  

Mobile exhibition glows with Sattler membrane fabric

From its forests to its flag, the state of Styria fulfills its reputation as the “green heart of Austria.” Now, a glowing green pavilion is helping tell the region’s story.  Examining the past, present and future of Styria, the “Showing Styria” exhibition is presented in three museums in the city of Graz and a mobile …

Members Only  

Digital revolution transforms fabric structures

May 1, 2021

New software and computer-driven fabrication speed production and improve accuracy. by Bruce N. Wright, FAIA While CNC (computer numerical control) and 3D digitally driven fabrication have been trumpeted in the design and construction press over the past 10 to 15 years, another revolution has been quietly growing within the architectural fabrics industry. Using computer digital …

Scott Sutherland: Ready for anything

In the summer of 2020, Scott Sutherland was elated with record-shattering sales, but he was also in a situation he had never imagined: out of aluminum, out of fabric, out of nearly every component used to make tents. The pandemic roller coaster had sent the event tent industry from a bust to a boom, with …