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Tensilation, London, United Kingdom

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Collaboration is the key

Tensilation by Grimshaw and MDT-tex in London, United Kingdom
Tensilation by Grimshaw and MDT-tex in London, United Kingdom
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MDT and Grimshaw Architects have been working side by side on a unique project  

Collaboration is at the heart of the Grimshaw ethos, and after a unique and exhilarating process of design, the practice’s latest collaboration was recently launched at one of Europe’s leading design festivals.

Tensilation, a sophisticated modular canopy system designed in collaboration with MDT-tex, was featured in Frankfurt’s Light + Building Festival. Situated in the courtyard of the grand Palais Thurn & Taxis, the tessellating structure was illuminated with projections by light artist Laurenx Theinert, which permeated the weatherproof tensile material and lit the area in a grand display.

The canopy system builds on Grimshaw's industrial design heritage, with a structure that combines fine engineering with elegant materials and finishes.  At nearly 4 m in height, each canopy is under 30 kg, amongst the lightest in its class. The modular system is both a temporary and longer-term architectural solution, with its tessellating design allowing an infinite number of configurations while staying true to its structurally sound frame. Tensilation naturally flexes to fit within unusual spaces and urban environments.

Jorrin ten Have architect at Grimshaw commented: “We did a soft launch at Frankfurt and MDT are pushing it out at trade shows, there has been a good take up commercially and a well-known London college has purchased several units. The structure provides shelter from the rain and can have a raised floor with drainage pipes positioned underneath.”

Neill McClements partner in charge of the project said:  “Temporary event use was focused on at first, the structure is very light and can be put up by hand. We didn’t want to create a structure that would be seen as a folly or a one off at Clerkenwell Design Week. Collaboration was essential with MDT and Grimshaw working side by side during the prototyping which took one year and then we went into production. Grimshaw normally have 5-10 of these sorts of projects going at any one time.”

The material qualities of the MDT-tex developed PTFE fabric provides Tensilation with a long service life and UV resistance. The high-quality fabric used for each canopy is 100% waterproof, crease-resistant, colour-fast, and tear resistant, ensuring the durability and longevity of this unique product.

Since the Light + Building Festival, Tensilation won the popular vote in the Architizer A+ Awards Roof & Structural Systems category, and it is now available to purchase from MDT-tex's website.

Please follow the link for a video of the product… Tensilation Modular Canopy System from Grimshaw on Vimeo.

Nick Myall

News Editor

Key Facts

Status On Going
Value (m€)
Grimshaw and MDT-tex

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