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High-peak chic tents in Central Park

Project Briefs | April 1, 2009 | By:

Planning and flexibility help these trendy tents make the mark in Central Park.

Just weeks before Ralph Lauren’s 40th Anniversary in the Central Park Conservatory Garden in New York, Regal Tent Productions Ltd., Stoney Creek, Ontario, received a request to install tents for the event. The event required an 80-by-170-foot high-peak main tent for a runway fashion show and several ancillary tents for a black-tie after-party. More than 600 feet of black canopy was also needed to conceal catering, hair and makeup space and changing rooms for models.

The location created some challenges for Regal. “The Central Park Conservatory Garden is considered to be the crown jewel of Central Park,” says Michael McCulloch, president of Regal, “and very special care was required to ensure the immediate surrounding gardens could remain open during the setup.”

Regal prepared for the 24-hour installation of the main tent and flooring, with Central Park staff restricting product deliveries to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. But the 3-foot-high by 6-foot-deep bushes surrounding the site were not on the itinerary. Concerned about possible damage to the plants, Central Park staff asked Regal to build a bridge over the bushes. “We had to scramble to get scaffolding and assemble some quickly to accommodate their request, while at the same time not falling behind with the schedule,” McCulloch says.

After bridging the bushes, the crew stacked 30,000 pounds of black steel plates to use as ballast to secure the ancillary tents and canopies. The plates were installed under the floor to hide them from view. Kadan Productions Inc., New York City, added black frets to each tent leg and also supplied murals, custom interior walls and seating for the main tent. JKLD Inc., New York City, supplied the lighting.

With the final ensemble complete, the celebration commenced. “Mr. Lauren came over to us during the event to express his thanks,” McCulloch says, “and to say that this had surpassed all his hopes; that if he could imagine a perfect night, this was it.”

Abbie Yarger is an editorial intern at IFAI.

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