Losberger De Boer: sustainability, aesthetics and functionality


Losberger De Boer delivers 20,000 sq m of temporary event space for COP23 in Bonn. Photo credit WOLKENKRATZER/Klaus Göhring

Losberger De Boer has delivered the temporary structure for the World Climate Change Conference 2017 (COP23). Diplomats, politicians and representatives of civil society from all over the world negotiated in Bonn from 6 to 17 November 2017.

The gathering was the largest intergovernmental conference ever held in Germany.

The conference had a dual concept – namely action and negotiation – and there were two main zones: The ‘Bula’ zone was located between the World Conference Center Bonn and the United Nations Campus. This was the negotiation area of COP23.

The ‘Bonn Zone’ was staged in the Rheinaue Park, and it hosted the showcase of projects for implementation and approaches to solving problems.

In the German pavilion alone – located in the ‘Bonn’ Zone – more than 60 events on the subject of climate protection took place.

The project

Losberger De Boer developed conference and event areas for the Bonn Zone for over 150 exhibitors from 25 countries who are presenting their developments in sustainability relating to specific projects and approaches to solutions.

To achieve this, 43 tents and halls with a total size of over 20,000 sq m were combined to make an innovative, temporary space solution that unites sustainability, aesthetics and functionality.

Photo credit WOLKENKRATZER/Klaus Göhring

The centre of the Bonn Zone consisted of a twin-aisle great hall structure, welcoming visitors to the central accreditation in three languages with its 2.45 m high parapet. The catering area was also accommodated in here on two levels. Up to 1,500 people could be catered for at any time here.

The second floor was made accessible with the installation of a six-metre-high electric lift which was installed especially for the purpose of the temporary hall structure.

The two great halls were not only captivating with their attractive, cubic design but also made a considerable contribution to the sustainability sentiment of the COP23. By using thermal roof covers, thermal wall elements and heat protection glazing, the structures helped improve energy efficiency in 8,500 m2 of event floor space.

Up to 114 metre-long walkways led to the conference area. Transparent, translucent roof covers were integrated into the roof spaces at frequent intervals, bringing the daylight inside and saving energy that would otherwise be used for artificial light, again contributing to the sustainability sentiment of COP23.

The conference building concept consisted of temporary units of various dimensions, adjusted precisely to the space required for the event. It offered enough space for conferences and meetings, but also for catering, quiet zones and a trade fair and exhibition area.

Losberger De Boer said it may well be able to set an example for future climate conferences in terms of the sustainability aspect. The company is certified to DIN ISO 14001 and its activities are sustainable, both ecologically and economically.

Photo credit WOLKENKRATZER/Klaus Göhring

Efficiency and sustainability

Altogether, 25 members of staff created over 20,000 sq m of temporary conference and event space in nine weeks, helped to improve energy efficiency.

The aim was to build on the large flower meadow in the Rheinaue Park in the most environmentally friendly way possible and to re-cultivate it after the project by the BMUB.

The hall and tent landscapes were erected on frames and access to the site was aided by roads. In addition to the cleverly thought out logistics concept, Losberger De Boer was also responsible for other works, such as parts of the interior design, floor coverings and the security measures in the entrance area.

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.



Losberger and De Boer announce merger

Losberger has acquired structures supplier De Boer to form Losberger De Boer Group. The merger is expected in the second quarter of 2017.

The acquisition of De Boer by Losberger will be a major step for the companies in becoming a leading provider of temporary space solutions in the international event market. The merger aims to see the two raise the new group’s profile within events and to grow in regions such as the Middle East and Europe.

“We consider De Boer a leading company in the event industry with a high quality product portfolio, strong project management capabilities and an attractive long-term growth potential,” said Berndt Zoepffel, CEO Losberger. “Both companies have worked together in the past on joint projects and we have experienced their leadership and corporate values to be very similar to Losberger. Combining our companies will make this combination a very professional partner for our customers.”

Arnout de Hair, CEO of De Boer Structures commented: “De Boer has a strong ambition to grow and expand its current businesses and to enter new regions. In recent years we have strengthened our partnerships with key clients, developed new innovative structures and have shown our capabilities to manage complex projects and logistics.”

The merger is expected to see Losberger and De Boer create a more extensive portfolio, a larger customer group and a growing global footprint. This will enable both companies to benefit from its increasing scale, and therefore have a more balanced distribution of turnover in across all seasons, especially in the Benelux, Germany, France, and the UK.

“We have a choice to grow further and to do that on our own, with significant consequences for the required capital and internal resources, or achieve this goal together with a strong and healthy partner. Losberger is the perfect partner for us to realise our ambitions. I am convinced that this transaction is in the best interest of our customers, our employees and our shareholders,” added de Hair.

Extraordinary structures

Nicola Macdonald speaks to temporary structures professionals about their most challenging and large-scale builds.

The phrase ‘temporary structure’ doesn’t quite do justice to the sheer scale and ambition of the structures being created on a daily basis by event professionals.

In that vein, Access sat down with some of the UK’s leading suppliers of temporary structures to discuss the latest industry trends and hear about some of their most challenging and memorable builds.

When you ask them about the challenges they face, most cite one particular factor, which is tricky to predict and potentially problematic to overcome: the weather.

“The great British weather can affect the ground conditions that the structure is being built upon,” says Graham Muir, CEO of Arena Group UK & Europe. “Others are in tricky locations with limited access, so the ability to work alongside a number of suppliers is crucial.”

Arena Group structure at Cheltenham

Arena Group structure at Cheltenham

“There are numerous challenges,” adds Jade Barber, sales and account manager at Mar-Key Group. “Often our event customers have temporary use of the event space, so in order to be cost effective a quick and efficient build is essential.”

The process of building a temporary structure, from initial idea to the event itself, can vary wildly depending on the materials needed, the complexity of the project and the client’s budget. A relatively small project can take just a few weeks, whereas larger events, such as Farnborough International Airshow, might take more than six months. There can also be some unique site-specific issues that have to be overcome.

De Boer's Farnborough structures

De Boer’s Farnborough structures

“Recently, we built the temporary theatre for the current production of the Railway Children shown at King’s Cross,” says John Cochrane, sales director – events at De Boer. “Using 12,300 tonnes of gravel and building 2,600sqm of substructure, we created a temporary raised platform around a real train track.”

The latest trends

Many of the growing trends in the temporary structures sector come from an awareness of high customer expectations. Considerations of event technology are being increasingly incorporated into the design of temporary structures to help improve the overall visitor experience.

“This year our team built exhibition space for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,” says Cochrane. “Customer expectation is that the acoustics and mobile communication should be perfect. With seven different auditoria, each offering simultaneous presentations, it was essential that each one be soundproof.”

“Vertical glass has also become more popular,” adds Sarah Campbell, marketing manager at Losberger, “rather than horizontal glass, as customers feel the joins between the glass interrupts the view.”

Losberger's structure at  Range Rover Sport launch

Losberger’s structure at Range Rover Sport launch

Suppliers are increasingly pushing the boundaries in terms of creativity and scale, despite the challenges of the recession.

“Many clients strive for each project to capture an audience’s attention through a bespoke, unique, design-led approach,” says Muir. “However, in times of austerity this can prove to be more of a challenge.”

This may well be the reason that multi-story structures have seen a remarkable increase in popularity, adds Barber: “Multi-levelled structures are a fantastic way of maximising return on an event space footprint, as well as creating practical viewing platforms.”

While the latest trends have an undeniable effect on the sector, there are some fundamental aspects of temporary structures that will remain a high priority for clients and suppliers.

“Trends come and go,” says April Trasler, managing director of Neptunus. “But the main theme over the years, and going forward I’m sure, is continued improvements in design, flexibility and speed of installation and removal.”

When asked what the future of the temporary structure sector might bring, several suppliers point to the popularity of experiential events and bespoke structures.

“This year I believe that it is no longer about events but experiences,” says Cochrane. “Innovation is the key to sustainability in the events sector, both amongst suppliers and event professionals.

“We are already seeing the latest technology such as event apps and audio beacons increasing user engagement.”

Whatever the future holds for the sector, it’s clear that temporary structure suppliers will continue to innovate with creative and ambitious builds. Whether it’s in a packed city centre, a coastal port or even halfway up a mountain, they’ll be eager to tackle the build head-on.

After all, they are, as Barbour says, “on hand to bring your ideas to life.”