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Wholesale Shade, a premier shade sail fabricator, has developed a comprehensive guide for the shade sail industry. Covering design, selling, installation and more, this guide is a must-have for anyone looking to get into the shade business or to train new employees. It includes standard industry forms and a glossary of terms.  A redesigned website includes all the information and forms electronically. Visit the website at www.wholesaleshade.com.

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Academy Awning Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., and Zebra Awning, San Francisco, Calif., have merged. Michael Spear, owner of Zebra Awning, a San Francisco fixture since the mid-1980s, will continue in the role of Northern California representative for the corporation. Michael Richman and Jim Richman, owners of Academy, will serve in their same capacities for the new corporation.

“This merger allows us expand our representation and capabilities,” says Michael Richman. “We look forward to continuing to serve the awning, canopy, daybed, cabana and shade structure needs of commercial customers throughout the U.S.” More information is available at www.academyinc.com.   

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A business district in Nelson, New Zealand, got a new life after a creative and functional fabric roof cover was installed.

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA

In the heart of Nelson, New Zealand’s central business district, a short pedestrian passage links two busy public markets. Bank Lane, named for the major national bank that flanks one side of the passage, was until recently a dilapidated corridor with a cracked and discolored Perspex roof. The roof let in minimal natural light during the day. At sundown, the area was under-illuminated, and surrounding business owners were concerned about homeless and inebriated people who gathered in the area.

With input from a local business council and the adjoining building owners, a plan was developed to replace the roof with something brighter and more inviting. Transport & Marine Covers Ltd. (TM Covers), based in Nelson, was hired to create a waterproof and retrofitted fabric roof with colorful accents to attract the public.

A narrow barrel-arched arcade, Bank Lane is essentially a one-sided east-to-west passageway with a blank wall on the south side (Bank of New Zealand’s wall). The opposite wall is composed of several small shops—like the Blink Micro Café, the entry door to Midcity Motor Lodge and other rental offices—bookended by a fashion boutique and a photo shop at either end.

TM Covers proposed a mix of three fabrics that fit tautly between the arched steel frame ribs, alternating white solid PVC and transparent PVC for the roof, and a number of smaller colorful shade sails near the top of the arc to enliven the space. Backlighting illuminates the sails at night as well as the arched white fabric roof, lending the corridor a cheerful demeanor. Businesses have greatly benefited from the bright, safe upgrade that has attracted increased pedestrian traffic.

This project won an Award of Excellence in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition.

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by Bruce N. Wright, AIA

The Terasaki Research Institute specializes in minimizing organ transplant rejections.

The Terasaki Research Institute is a nonprofit organization founded by the late Dr. Paul I. Terasaki, a pioneer of modern procedures that minimize organ transplant rejections. It is affiliated with nearby University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and located in the tony Westwood Village neighborhood. A two-story building for the research center, completed in mid-2017, was designed by the internationally famed Japanese architecture firm Atelier Hitoshi Abe. An architect and structural engineer of note, Dr. Hitoshi Abe once served as chair of the UCLA architecture program and maintains offices in both L.A. and Japan.

Inside, two full-height atria are capped by translucent, tensegrity conical fabric skylights that serve as centerpieces to the interior of the center. During the day, these courtyards—ground-level lounges with randomly placed sofas—bring natural light into the offices and flex-meeting areas that surround them. Descending oculi, with mirror finishes, focus strong sunlight into the depth of the multistory building, infusing the atria—cubic volumes incised with numerous square openings revealing offices or meeting places—and warming the space where researchers can relax and decompress between focused inquiry sessions.

Each skylight is a complex system of suspension cables, stay cables, perimeter frame, center frame, waterproof top membrane (upward rising cones capped by Plexiglas® domes), non-combustible fabric bottom layer (descending cones sealed with mirrored oculi) and integrated RGB programmable LED lights. The plexi oculus “lens” on each inside cone is treated with a metalized coating for a mirror finish; the rooftop lenses are painted a flat white to diffuse the incoming light.

This project was an Outstanding Achievement winner in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition.

PROJECT DETAILS
Design architect: Atelier Hitoshi Abe
Executive architect: House & Robertson Architects Inc.
Manager/installation of skylights: Eide Industries Inc.
General contractor: Taslimi Construction Co. Inc.
Fabrics: Sheerfill® V PTFE-coated glass fiber [exterior]; Fabrasorb® 1A PTFE-coated glass fiber [interior], both from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.

Design architect: Atelier Hitoshi Abe
Executive architect: House & Robertson Architects Inc.
Manager/installation of skylights: Eide Industries Inc.
General contractor: Taslimi Construction Co. Inc.
Fabrics: Sheerfill® V PTFE-coated glass fiber [exterior]; Fabrasorb® 1A PTFE-coated glass fiber [interior], both from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.

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The Kolon One & Only Tower in Seoul, South Korea, features a facade that provides passive shading, just one of the sustainable elements that put the building on track to achieve LEED Gold certification. Photos: Jasmine Park, courtesy of Morphosis.

It’s only fitting that the new research and development facility for the Kolon Group, a leading South Korean manufacturer of innovative textiles, would stretch the boundaries of design. The company wanted the facility, dubbed the Kolon One & Only Tower, to embody its commitment to creativity, technology and sustainability.

The 820,000-square-foot building is designed to encourage interaction across company departments with large, active social spaces and flexible laboratory facilities that foster collaboration and advance employee wellbeing.

Located in Seoul’s Magok district, an emerging hub for technology and light industry, the Kolon tower features a facade that offers a dramatic perspective as it folds towards Magok’s central park, providing passive shading to the lower floors.

Kolon, which has the expertise and resources to act as its own project contractor, worked with Los Angeles-based architecture firm Morphosis on the design. They created a distinctive brise-soleil system on the arching facade. It features interconnected sunshades that form the outer skin, analogous to a woven fabric—a reference to Kolon’s research in textiles, as well as a symbol of collaboration between the company’s many departments.

The sunshade units are made from fiber-reinforced polymer combined with one of Kolon’s own high-tech fabrics, Aramid, which has five times the tensile strength of iron while being lightweight and heat-resistant. This extra fortification enables the sunshade to stand with minimal connections to the building and appear as though it is floating organically just outside the tower wall. The units of the sunshade are parametrically shaped to provide a balance between shading and views to the outdoors. For further details, visit www.morphosis.com.

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A new canopy, easily modified, helps churchgoers at St. Joan of Arc Church in San Ramon, Calif., stay cool during Bible study outdoors. Photos: Acme Sunshades.

Summers are hot in San Ramon, Calif., located 35 miles east of San Francisco in the San Ramon Valley. The community is home to St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, designed in the 1980s by Aaron Green, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. The church features a beautiful patio that congregants like to use for Bible study and other events. But it’s too sunny and hot for use part of the year.

To combat the sun, a canopy was installed at St. Joan of Arc to shade the patio. Acme Sunshades, a San Leonardo, Calif., fabricator and installer of custom awnings and shades, was contracted for the project. The company designed and installed a custom Infinity Canopy and support structure to provide complete shade.

The 50-foot by 18-foot canopy is made of five rows of 10-foot by 18-foot Phifertex Plus Stucco fabric. The woven vinyl-coated polyester mesh withstands inclement weather and is infused with mold-, mildew- and odor-fighting properties. Each canopy section is comprised of nine panels that are operated independently with a pulley system.

The Infinity Canopy features a slide-on-wire system and, because of its modular design, it can fit any space and be modified to meet specific shade needs. Customization possibilities include multi-colored panels, using flat or bellowing panels, removal of panels to create an open space, and creating a canopy of varying width sections.

The supporting structure is made of four-foot by four-foot galvanized steel posts and cross beams welded together onsite. For more information, visit www.acmesunshades.com.

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Ombrasole designs, manufactures and installs awnings of all types for North American climates—many of which feature Emilio Petrongolo’s custom and patented motors.

Emilio Petrongolo can trace his fascination with canvas and sewing back to his childhood in Italy, where his grandmother made jute bags for storing wheat. Petrongolo, director of R&D and marketing at Auvents Ombrasole Awnings, says, “It left a lasting impression on me,” inspiring him to start his own sportswear company at the age of 22 with a staff of 150 employees.

He sold the sportswear business at 26, and translated his interest in fabrics to the awning field, where he worked for many years with Italian companies. The awning field was booming in Italy in the 1980s, he says, and eventually he was asked to transfer to Canada to develop the North American market. “I worked for a few years importing Italian products, but a few years later I realized that I had a stronger passion for manufacturing. With my extensive experience I can design any retractable product instead of importing from Italy, so the customer can have the best quality with a competitive price.”

In 2009, Petrongolo and Jocelyne Jabre opened Ombrasole in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Their mission was to design and locally manufacture awnings that are easy to maintain and can withstand the harsh conditions of northern climates. “We are proud to have created products for sunny days that can withstand snow and ice,” Petrongolo says.

Jabre, president of Ombrasole, oversees strategic planning, executing marketing campaigns, analyzing results and running operations. The products designed and manufactured by Ombrasole include motorized fixed retractable awnings, awnings for terraces, motorized retractable pergolas and aluminum garden furniture. All Ombrasole products can be used for residential or commercial applications.

Meeting customer demands

“Nowadays, clients want innovative products, and it’s for that reason that we continuously update our products to meet client demands. We manufacture products with extruded aluminum and stainless steel accessories. This unique combination gives our products an added value compared to other combinations.”

Petrongolo describes a typical work day as being in a “continuous creation mode.” He says, “Being old school, I always carry my pencil around, so that whenever I have a new idea, I write it down immediately.”

Some of those ideas include the Cobra Crank, created and patented in 2000. The crank facilitated the opening and closing of folding arm awnings and was sold at IFAI shows. Petrongolo discontinued selling the Cobra Crank a few years ago because Lithium batteries had become excessively expensive compared to electric engines.

In 2009 he designed the Attico, a fixed motorized retractable awning. The Attico awning replaces stationary awnings that require the canvas to be removed in winter and replaced in the spring. “Thanks to its fixed structure with a retractable canvas, it became a huge success,” explains Petrongolo. “The canvas descends by gravity and can reach the ground. In winter, the canvas retracts into an aluminum box—a protective covered hood—so no handling is required during the winter.”

In 2016 he developed the Capriccio model, a fixed awning with motorized canvas for opening and closing, using a remote control and an integrated gutter system so rain can’t drip between the two sections. Capriccio is a product for commercial applications and high-end homes. “In 2017 we carried out a successful project with this product in the heart of downtown Montreal,” notes Petrongolo.

In 2018, Petrongolo designed and manufactured the TCL roller shade, with no zipper on the sides, which can be manual or motorized—another “touch free” option for customers. “No technician is needed. It’s very simple for anyone to use,” says Petrongolo.

Challenges and rewards

Striving for continuous innovation is a cornerstone of the Ombrasole business, says Petrongolo, especially because meeting customer demand is such a big challenge. “Nowadays, people travel a lot, navigate the internet and, often, they come along with their own designer who has specific ideas. These ideas are not always easy to execute because of technical constraints. We always try to find a common ground and give them advice so they get a satisfactory and sustainable final product.”

Ultimately, Petrongolo says, “My greatest accomplishment will always be the satisfaction of our customers who greatly appreciate our products for their quality, modern look and maintenance-free features.”

Petrongolo encourages forward thinking in his industry peers. “I would like for people in our field to be open-minded about new products and not be afraid of change. It definitely is a challenge to make customers try new products when they have been using the same model for the last 20 to 30 years.

“Manufacturing awnings is a demanding field,” he adds. “We have to keep up with the latest technology available and modernize the workplace.” This includes buying the best equipment and training Ombrasole’s 30 employees. Petrongolo says, “Employees, no matter what their status in the company, need to be involved in the projects, and their work needs to be valued. We continuously train our employees, so they stay motivated and efficient.”

Petrongolo says membership in IFAI has given Ombrasole great credibility with customers. The professional network provided by IFAI is also an important aspect of membership. Petrongolo says the annual Expo show is especially efficient because “IFAI helps us meet with different suppliers at the same location, which is very convenient for us time-wise and money-wise.”

In the future, Ombrasole has plans to expand its presence in the U.S. market. Petrongolo notes, “American awnings companies will benefit from our high-quality products, fast delivery and very low cost, since the Canadian dollar is low compared to the U.S. dollar right now.” 

Rebecca Post is IFAI’s editorial director.

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The Leadership Development Committee of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) is now seeking candidates for positions on its Board of Directors and Division Advisory Boards. The current 1st Vice Chairman Kathy Schaefer, IFM (Glawe Tent and Awning Co.) is Chairman-elect and will automatically assume the duties of the Chairman of the Board in October.

IFAI is seeking candidates to fill the following board positions:

  • 1st Vice Chairman: two-year term (the individual elected to this position will be the “Chairman-elect” and shall automatically become Chairman of the Board at the completion of the incoming Chairman’s term)
  • 2nd Vice Chairman: two-year term
  • Director (three positions): three-year terms

IFAI’s volunteer leadership openings are being announced at this time, as well, to highlight the range of opportunities available. IFAI’s divisions and business areas draw from the expertise and knowledge of volunteer leaders to support the organization’s mission and goals. Applications are being accepted to fill the following director positions on IFAI’s Division Advisory Boards:

•             Advanced Textile Products: three director positions

•             Professional Awning Manufactures Association: three director positions

•             Equipment Division: one director position

•             Fabric Graphics Association: three director positions

•             Fabric Structures Association: five director positions

•             Makers Division: not currently seeking applications

•             Marine Fabricators Association: three director positions

•             Military Division: three director positions

•             Narrow Fabrics Institute: four director positions

•             Tarp Association: one director position

•             Tent Rental Division: two director positions

•             U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute: three director positions

•             IFAI Canada: four director positions

•             IFAI Japan: not currently seeking applications

In addition, the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) has an Executive Council that is made up of key players in the geosynthetics industry. If you have questions about GMA or wish to be on the GMA Executive Council, please contact Cherie Schmit for more information.

In order to be considered, a candidate must 1) be employed by a voting member company in good standing; 2) submit verbal or written confirmation that he/she wishes to be considered for a specific position on a specific board; and, 3) complete an application form, returning it to IFAI’s headquarters office, c/o Cherie Schmit, no later than May 31, 2019.

To obtain an application form, please contact:

Cherie Schmit

IFAI Headquarters

1801 County Road B W.

Roseville, MN 55113-4061 USA

Telephone: +1 (651) 225-6985 or +1 (800) 225-4324 (U.S. and Canada only)

E-mail:  cmschmit@ifai.com

Each application will be reviewed separately by the nominating committee of the board / advisory board in which the candidate has expressed interest. All candidates will be notified of their status prior to any notice that is sent to the membership of each division.

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A business district in Nelson, New Zealand, got a new life after a creative and functional fabric roof cover was installed.

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA

In the heart of Nelson, New Zealand’s central business district, a short pedestrian passage links two busy public markets. Bank Lane, named for the major national bank that flanks one side of the passage, was until recently a dilapidated corridor with a cracked and discolored Perspex roof. The roof let in minimal natural light during the day. At sundown, the area was under-illuminated, and surrounding business owners were concerned about homeless and inebriated people who gathered in the area.

With input from a local business council and the adjoining building owners, a plan was developed to replace the roof with something brighter and more inviting. Transport & Marine Covers Ltd. (TM Covers), based in Nelson, was hired to create a waterproof and retrofitted fabric roof with colorful accents to attract the public.

A narrow barrel-arched arcade, Bank Lane is essentially a one-sided east-to-west passageway with a blank wall on the south side (Bank of New Zealand’s wall). The opposite wall is composed of several small shops—like the Blink Micro Café, the entry door to Midcity Motor Lodge and other rental offices—bookended by a fashion boutique and a photo shop at either end.

TM Covers proposed a mix of three fabrics that fit tautly between the arched steel frame ribs, alternating white solid PVC and transparent PVC for the roof, and a number of smaller colorful shade sails near the top of the arc to enliven the space. Backlighting illuminates the sails at night as well as the arched white fabric roof, lending the corridor a cheerful demeanor. Businesses have greatly benefited from the bright, safe upgrade that has attracted increased pedestrian traffic.

This project won an Award of Excellence in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition.

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by Bruce N. Wright, AIA

The Terasaki Research Institute specializes in minimizing organ transplant rejections.

The Terasaki Research Institute is a nonprofit organization founded by the late Dr. Paul I. Terasaki, a pioneer of modern procedures that minimize organ transplant rejections. It is affiliated with nearby University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and located in the tony Westwood Village neighborhood. A two-story building for the research center, completed in mid-2017, was designed by the internationally famed Japanese architecture firm Atelier Hitoshi Abe. An architect and structural engineer of note, Dr. Hitoshi Abe once served as chair of the UCLA architecture program and maintains offices in both L.A. and Japan.

Inside, two full-height atria are capped by translucent, tensegrity conical fabric skylights that serve as centerpieces to the interior of the center. During the day, these courtyards—ground-level lounges with randomly placed sofas—bring natural light into the offices and flex-meeting areas that surround them. Descending oculi, with mirror finishes, focus strong sunlight into the depth of the multistory building, infusing the atria—cubic volumes incised with numerous square openings revealing offices or meeting places—and warming the space where researchers can relax and decompress between focused inquiry sessions.

Each skylight is a complex system of suspension cables, stay cables, perimeter frame, center frame, waterproof top membrane (upward rising cones capped by Plexiglas® domes), non-combustible fabric bottom layer (descending cones sealed with mirrored oculi) and integrated RGB programmable LED lights. The plexi oculus “lens” on each inside cone is treated with a metalized coating for a mirror finish; the rooftop lenses are painted a flat white to diffuse the incoming light.

This project was an Outstanding Achievement winner in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition.

Project details
Design architect: Atelier Hitoshi Abe
Executive architect: House & Robertson Architects Inc.
Manager/installation of skylights: Eide Industries Inc.
General contractor: Taslimi Construction Co. Inc.
Fabrics: Sheerfill® V PTFE-coated glass fiber [exterior]; Fabrasorb® 1A PTFE-coated glass fiber [interior], both from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.

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