Our proposed festival tents for the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY festival are both maximally adaptable and constantly different. While they are formally identical, each tent encloses a unique inner world of vibrant color and light. Unlike the claustrophobic enclosures of most street tents, deep ceilings shelter an array or urban activities while evoking nonurban ceilings such as forest canopies and night skies. Rather than suggesting natural landscapes, overhead graphics sample and cross-reference these diverse environments, creating a novel cosmos that might spark the imagination, activating and engaging with the activities of the festival.
The 5-sided peaks are ideal for reconfiguring as a single canopy, a long chain or smaller clusters, never marching in monotonous repetition but producing a more lyrical rhythm of tall and low spaces, spinning this way and that. Sixteen feet tall and made of translucent fabric, each peak hints at its interior environment, combining to present a striking skyline for the festival. Functionally, our custom-welded aluminum frame and fabric panels, printed and sewn in-house, allow each structure to be erected in under an hour. Durable materials and our many years of experience building fabric structures will allow the tents to be reused for many festivals to come. The structural frame would be assembled using custom-made aluminum swaged hubs which telescope into straight tubes. Inner panels of polyester fabric would be printed in-house and sewn to create loop pockets for attaching to the frame. The outer top vinyl cover would drape over entire frame, hooking around its top opening, and attaching to the lower horizontal frame via industrial Velcro. The Legs would then be attached on the ground and would swing into place as the tent is lifted into position.