Feature Article - September 2016
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Seeking Shelter

Innovations in Shade & Shelter Solutions

By Joe Bush

Shade & Shelter Innovation

Bayman said pricing, especially of customized structures, is tough to nail down.

"Per square foot depends on so many different variables—type of design, single canopy or multiple canopy, the shape of the structure," he said. "Multi-sided costs more than just a rectangle or square. Then there's the height of the structure. That changes things, too."

He said along with the rise in imaginative designs, fabric colors are differentiating clients' structures, and where his company once offered 10 colors, customers can now choose from 15.

"There are some wild choices—really bright colors for the people who want to make a statement versus blend into the natural surroundings," Bayman said.

Bayman said despite the range of colors, the most popular, not surprisingly, are forest green and aquatic blue. He said UV block can rise from 90 percent to 99 percent, when you move from lighter colors to darker. Canopies are typically made from high-density polyethylene, which is not susceptible to mildew or rotting.

Graves said colors aren't the only frills that can be added to structures and shelters. You can also choose from different column styles, railings, cupolas and laser cut ornamentation.

"[Our] structures have endless possibilities, and designs are only limited by your imagination," she said. "We are constantly evaluating new products, such as polycarbonate, Parasoleil panels, solar panels and lighting, shade curtains, heavy-duty steel gutters and downspouts color-matched to the frame that can be incorporated into designs."

Lubbers said sometimes the inspiration for change and experimenting comes from within, and sometimes from without. When the company created an architectural-inspired line, he said, "we were approached by a landscape architecture firm in Southern California to develop these shelters because they were developing a park in a neighborhood where most of the houses were from the early 20th century designed in the Craftsman architectural motif," said Lubbers.

"What we've been about is continuing to push the envelope on structures in the public arena," Lubbers said. "We're just not content with the status quo."