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What will 2012 bring to the world of tensile structures?

Author: basestructures

 Yes, there really is a ‘world of tensile structures’ – a community of people with a passionate interest in what’s going on in what is becoming a very fast moving design environment. Apart from the blogs and tweets, we even share exciting emails when new materials emerge or someone does something really innovative.

… I’m beginning to think this might sound a bit sad to outsiders, so I’ll just get on with the main purpose of this blog: what does 2012 hold for the people who design and make tensile structures – and those that use them?

Firstly, we can’t avoid mentioning the London Olympics, because there will be the biggest single showcase of tensile fabric structures ever assembled. The fantastic designs will (we think) encourage a new wave of applications, and unleash the imaginations of architects and engineers everywhere.

Design flair and functionality

It could really position Britain as the centre of design excellence as well in this field. And in a very competitive global marketplace, with many of the current spending focussed in countries like China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, that could provide a real boost.

We’re particularly excited (bucket of cold water over here, please) about how many of the structures will be re-used afterwards. Again that opens up major new opportunities for imaginative designs with real functionality. Could temporary become the new permanent?

But wait… did someone mention a recession going on?

Every little helps…

Well that’s the other big influencer next year. And while reduced budgets and stalled projects won’t help other parts of the construction industry it could actually boost our side of things.

Already we are seeing supermarkets putting expansions on hold – but zipping up store appeal to customers, with new covered walkways, entrance canopies and mother and child parking areas. For several operators, plus a number of other clients, we are providing claddings to revitalise tired looking facades and buildings.

Colour me recyclable

Colourful, branded and aesthetically pleasing, as well as being economical and (potentially) recyclable, what (as the saying goes) is not to like?

In previous blogs we’ve discussed the potential for this technology to ‘re-wrap’ old offices and other buildings: in the boom times, developers feel expansive and confident, and will replace last generation stock: when times are tight, a new ‘skin’ is like Botox for buildings. Sure, it’s a temporary fix, but who wants to lash out on a new structure in uncertain times?

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