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Truss and stretch structures are a perfect pair

Installation Spotlight | August 1, 2019 | By:

Stretch tents and truss structures come together for bold branding and experiential activations.

A truss/stretch tent combination can be built in less than a day, and a typical branding activation by Colab Projects, such as this one for ASICS, is five days from installation to takedown. Photos courtesy of Colab Projects.

Peanut butter and jelly. Fish and chips. Song and dance. Now add stretch tents and truss structures to the list of things that are better together. 

Based in New Zealand, with locations around the globe, Stretch Marquees and Fabric Structures (known as Stretch Structures) was an early developer of stretch tents—flexible “Bedouin”-style event structures that can be rigged in a variety of shapes.

While stretch tents are stylish on their own, some of Stretch Structures’ clients, including Colab Projects of Auckland, New Zealand, have found that the combination of stretch tents and truss structures results in an eye-catching space that offers protection from the elements and maximum branding opportunities.

Colab develops, designs and builds custom temporary structures and experiential environments. A recent Colab activation for the sports equipment company ASICS needed weather protection and height to stand out and maximize the site footprint to allow for larger branding opportunities. 

“By including the stretch canopies with our truss framing, it creates an impactful presence and a smarter-looking alternative to a tired marquee while keeping
out the sun or rain,” says Colab operations director Zach Lewis.

Stretch Structures first sold tents to Colab in 2015, according to Stuart Johnstone, owner of Stretch Structures. “It was the flexibility and attractive high-end finish that attracted Colab to using this combo,” Johnstone says. “We were able to show them variations in design and size that we had produced for other clients, hence demonstrate how effective it was in providing a high-end attractive structure for the many brands they worked with.”

Johnstone compares the flexibility of the truss frame and the adaptability of stretch fabric to building with Legos, in that brand activators can easily adapt the look and shape to suit each client’s needs. 

“This, combined with the loading features of the truss, means it can then provide the support for hanging heavier loads such as large screens, speakers and branded displays that would otherwise be impossible on a traditional marquee,” Johnstone says. “Clients get more clearspan internal space and greater height than when using standard rigging poles. The stretch tents lend beautiful organic lines to the structure. The flexibility to add in glassed walls or customize each individual structure in keeping with each client’s requirements is a key feature, and the finished look is then far more attractive, resulting in a superior ‘premium’ structure in keeping with luxury brands.” 

The modular nature of the truss and stretch tents allows them to be scaled to fit almost any size. Lewis says that securing the tent to the truss is easy. “We don’t have to deal with dozens of ropes and knots,” he says. “Our truss grid is great, as we can place the push-up poles exactly where we want them, and this does not affect the activation happening under us.”

“There really is no difference between anchoring a truss/stretch tent structure in comparison with a standard frame tent,” Johnstone adds. “There are some clear advantages in that you can avoid any unsightly guy wires or ratchet straps and incorporate any ballast into the overall design so that it is a feature, rather than a distraction or eyesore.”

The combination is a winner for Colab, which provides outdoor activations throughout New Zealand.

“It has been great to offer an all-weather solution that looks premium,” Lewis says. 

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