Information on fabrics used for fabric structures
Please note that TensileFabric is not a supplier of the fabrics detailed on this page.
'Tensile fabric is a process - it describes fabric under tension'. Central to our business are the fabrics. Essentially the options are endless, as we use fabrics from around the world to ensure the fabric used for your canopy or structure is the most appropriate. But it is often the case, especially with interior fabric, that we are borrowing fabrics from different industries, using them because they suit a certain application or have a certain quality that is useful to us. To this end, some of our fabrics are only available in limited colours or fire ratings etc., but the following information should help you to understand a little more about these specialist fabrics.
Of course there will be a number of factors that will means that certain types of fabric are more appropriate than others. Detailed below are a few of these factors to help you understand the process of our fabric recommendations.
The required rating of the fabric will very often depend on the application, location and position. Therefore you should check with your fire office which fire rating is required for the specific item you are designing/installing. In the UK we are complying with the British Standard (BS), but as from April 2007 the Euro classification is now part of building regulations. The Euro classification is a new way of testing the fire rating of items, and in the fabric application it is more thorough than the existing BS tests, taking into account surface spread of flame but also smoke and droplets. The fire test is expensive, being a 6-part procedure, so some fabrics have not been tested to the new rating. Eventually though, all fabrics will be rated to the new system. We will continue to update this information as more manufacturers test their supplied materials.
Not all fabrics are available in a colour range. As mentioned above, many of the fabrics we use come from other markets and are therefore often produced only in white or in a limited colour range. Other fabrics do come in a range of colours, and where possible we try to offer the widest range to our market. Where this is not possible, or where graphics are required, we can print onto our fabrics using the latest UV ink for ink jet, or Dye Sublimation for strong permanent, non-scratch printed fabric. Many examples of printed works can be viewed in our Exhibition portfolio.
Fabric costs vary hugely depending on a number of factors, including base cloth type, quality (European fabric is a lot more expensive than far eastern fabric) and quantity (though this is not always relevant). We try to offer a very wide range of fabric to try and match our client's brief and budget as much as possible. Because of this we'll always be trying to improve our prices whenever we can. Please note we are not a fabric re-seller.
Perhaps the most subjective of aspects, this will often ultimately influence the feel of a canopy. All fabrics have different visual qualities, the texture, translucently, shininess etc., but personal preference will always decide.