Ahead of the curve

Access questions six leading temporary structure suppliers on how they keep on-trend in order to remain ahead of the game

A venue should be pretty high up in the list of importance for an event. The idea of being stood under a worn-out gazebo for hours on end at a major festival is a little dated, so we spoke to the suppliers for an insight into innovation.

Tell me a bit more about what your company does for live events.

Dan Leake, managing director, Intent Productions (DL): We are the longest running stretch tent supplier in the UK. We have our London head office, as well as a US office based in LA and a French office in Morzine.

Sarah Campbell, sales and marketing, Losberger (SC): On a local level, Losberger UK is recognised for its attention to detail and proven ability to design and manufacture to an agreed specification.

Grahame Muir, CEO of Arena UK & Europe (GM): We have a comprehensive range of temporary buildings and structures, so we like to think that we can design and build whatever our clients can imagine.

Peter Spruce, managing director, De Boer (PS): De Boer provided structures for over one hundred different events or occasions in the last twelve months. It has been an exceptional year for us.

David de Behr, head of managing events, Aggreko (DB): At Aggreko we provide mobile, specially designed power and heating and cooling technology for an array of live events.

April Trasler, managing director, Neptunus (AT): Neptunus is an international specialist in the design, manufacture and rental of high-class event structures and temporary buildings for business and industry.

What are your favourite events to provide for?

SC: Anything and everything. Losberger has provided structures for all types of events and every year there is always something new and challenging to work on.

GM: We have built a reputation of the highest standards and because of that, we get to work on such a huge range of events from international sporting events to music festivals and corporate and royal occasions. It’s impossible to pick a favourite.

DL: For us, it’s the festivals and events that allow us to stretch our capabilities and push what we do. Rocking up to big festivals like Glastonbury, with a truck full of tents is lots of fun.

PS: The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show are always two key summer highlights for me.

What is the largest-scale job you’ve worked on?

SC: Our largest job is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but globally we supply solutions to various events including the FIFA World Cup, Red Bull Air Race, Sochi Winter Olympics, PGA Golf Tour and the European Championship.

DB: Aggreko covers major sporting events with an international audience like the World Cup
and Olympics, an outdoor music festival or even
a Christmas market – meeting expectations and ensuring reliability is a priority regardless of how big the project is.

GM: I don’t suppose we’ll ever do another project on the scale of the London 2012 Olympics, where we built the one-off temporary Beach Volley Ball Arena on Horse Guards Parade.

AT: We supplied a temporary building that formed a basketball-training venue and built the world’s biggest McDonald’s restaurant for the London 2012 Olympics.

Temporary structures designs are becoming more innovative each year; which events require high levels of innovation from you?

SC: Product launches and experience events.

An eye-catching innovative exterior has to be impactful and really stand out as brands become more creative.

DL: Creative producers want new and exciting venues designed for their festivals. It’s these guys that we really want to keep the dialogue going with.

GM: The aim is always to bring innovation
to all of our events and support our clients to produce the best possible event. We are constantly investing in new technology and equipment.

How heavy is your workload as we are approaching the festival season?

DB: We are entering the busiest time of the year. Our local businesses are preparing for hundreds of music festivals around the world this summer and we have several large sporting events on the horizon.

DL: We are flat out with designs, site meetings and general running. Our clients are all having their winter tents taken down now that the sun is shining a little more.

AT: The ‘season’ for events is forever extending.

What are your responsibilities before, during and after an event?

AT: We are responsible for guiding our clients through the whole process. During the event
our modern temporary buildings are virtually maintenance free. We are often the first and last company on-site.

SC: It’s never too early to start planning for the next event. Without detailed planning and communication with the client the success of the project is compromised right from the start.

PS: My favourite part of any job is seeing the nal structure up and a happy client – a client whose expectations have been fully met in the most professional way.

What are the challenges you are often faced with in your sector?

DB: Rising costs is one of the main issues facing organisers. Protecting the natural environment and reducing emissions are also vital considerations. Finding a balance between cost, reducing the carbon footprint and protecting reliability is our main challenge.

GM: Interior creative design is one area where our clients constantly require new ideas and we see possibilities growing and changing at a rapid pace.

PS: At the end of the day, we always believe that there is a solution to all event problems, and we love a challenge.

How does the design and build of temporary structures vary depending on the season?

SC: In the summer months trade fairs, festivals, sporting events, product launches and experience events dominate. Summer events tend to be a little more structurally creative, with a lot more outside space included in what we offer, such as terraces, balconies and canopies.

AT: Many of our structures are insulated as standard, reducing climate control costs both in summer and winter. We are also very experienced at providing products for long-term hire suitable for use over many years and we also o er temporary buildings with snow loads.

PS: In the summer we can access sites and start building earlier in the day, and nish later. Structures have to be up on time and on budget, so longer days give us the extended time to meet the increase in seasonal demand.

DL: Ours are perfect for the summer season for outdoor events. For the most part our winter tents are for pub garden and hospitality venue covers – putting a lid over a beer garden for a few months with some nice lighting and heating.

What else do you need to consider when supplying for events in Winter?

AT: Insulation of course. For heating we have to consider site-working hours, as the days offer fewer hours of daylight. We need to allow for working lights, if appropriate.

DB: Winter events come with specific challenges and not only because of extreme temperatures. Winter games and festivals
 are typically held in mountain landscapes so accessibility is a consideration, which creates its own challenges. Protecting the natural landscape is imperative in mountain locations.

We consider our long-lasting legacy and impact on the environment. Minimising any negative effects is a key component of our strategy.

SC: Weather wise, every season is unpredictable in this country so you always have to be prepared.

What trends are we experiencing for 2017?

AT: Higher customer expectations and greater creativity and innovation in our designs.

SC: A continued movement away from the standard white structure. Proving that clients are looking for anything that is new and innovative.

PS: The hunt for more unusual and quirky venues to create stand-out events.

DL: In the stretch tent world you can expect bigger structures and more complex designs.

Where do you see the sector heading in the next couple of years?

AT: The demands will continue to be for cost-effective solutions that still provide a ‘wow’ factor for events, with a greater emphasis on our environmental responsibilities.

DB: The flexibility, speed and reduced costs
of temporary structures will see them become
the preferred option for many event organisers. Sustainability will also remain at the top of the agenda with a growing focus on new innovations to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions. Thinking ahead to major events in years to come, we are already developing new technology to meet changing demands.

DL: Innovation is key. The sector will head wherever we push it.

GM: The challenges will remain the same for Arena; evolving our design and delivery processes to match the briefs our clients give us as cost eectively as possible.