In May 2018, Grimshaw Architects designed an installation for Melbourne Knowledge Week. The structure wraps around the events at the Hub which explores the smart and innovative future of Australia’s fastest-growing city. The modular canopy system developed for the exterior space created by Grimshaw’s Industrial Design Team and MDT-tex is called Tensilation. It provides a shapely waterproof shelter in the courtyard, linking the main Hub to the events stall.
The indoor stalls were transformed with a fruit-net tensile structure to match that of the exterior MDT-Tex structures. It plays with light projections to give atmosphere to the space. The cozy atmosphere created by the canopies made the outdoor hangout area popular helped by a bar, good music, and ambient lighting.
Tensilation is a sophisticated modular system, which can cover a variable amount of space through its tessellating canopies. As the cover size grows, its structural capacity increases, yet the product remains lightweight and easy to install. The vaulted form provides a structure for events, pop-up spaces, and waterproof walkways or as a permanent outdoor fixture.
The canopy system embodies three key design elements:
Through a combination of square and diamond-shaped canopy
units an almost infinite number of configurations is possible. These
patterns can be rectilinear or more freely shaped to tit any site plan with
ease, from small shelters to large-scale environments.
The canopies are attached by textile connectors ensuring the whole covered area is protected from the weather. Each canopy unit is structurally connected to the next, creating a unified form strengthened by its components.
Tensilation is one of the lightest structures of its type, it stands at nearly 4m yet is still under 36 kg meaning it requires no special lifting equipment and only three people to erect.