ShowTex is a worldwide leader in inventing, manufacturing and installing innovative flame retardant fabrics, tracks and motion control systems for achieving the creative vision of theatre, event and entertainment professionals.
The Singapore National Day Parade (NDP) is a national ceremony held on August 9, Singapore’s National Day. This year’s theme, “Building Our Singapore of Tomorrow”, inspired the Singapore Armored Regiment, organising the event, to create a “Sky City” for its show. ShowTex is excited to be involved in building this “Sky City”, representing the future development of Singapore.
ShowTex Hong Kong supplied fifteen large set pieces, shaped like buildings, making up the “Sky City” to represent Singapore’s vision for 2065. Of the 15 buildings, 10 were futuristic buildings, measuring up to 35 meter high and 5 of them illustrated existing “landmark buildings” of the Singapore skyline. Each had a footprint of about 5m by 5m.
This large scale project was a huge undertaking for which ShowTex tackled multiple challenges. One of the main concerns was the lead time given to design, engineer and manufacture the giant fabric set pieces. Between confirmation of the project and delivery in Singapore there were only 12 weeks.
Another challenge that had to be overcome was that one building could not weigh more than 400kg, which was the limit of the fly system for each winch. This meant that during the engineering stage every component of the building had to be designed to be as lightweight as possible. ShowTex HK worked with lightweight aluminum frames and glass fiber rods to reduce structural weight of each building.
The designers of the “Sky City” had a very clear vision of how the city had to be visualized and how it had to be deployed in the show. The buildings were stored in giant carts (the biggest one measuring 6 by 6 meter) that were pushed onto the stage. The fifteen fabric “Sky City Buildings” were then attached to a large steel ring, which needed to be hooked into the fly system by the performers.
The deployment of the entire city had to happen in just a couples of minutes, virtually invisible for the audience, in order to create the illusion of the city magically appearing on stage. This implied that the buildings had to be fully collapsible to a height of 70 cm, to then deploy to a height of more than 35 meters in only a few minutes time!
Because the “Sky City” is an enormous surface to project on, the material from which it was made had to be carefully designed. The fabric had to be strong, wrinkle free and the buildings had to keep their shape after being deployed numerous times.
ShowTex HK decided to use PolyStretch P8 CS Matt, custom dyed in grey, for about 70% of the buildings. This stretch fabric was the ideal solution for modular, scenic elements like this because it can resist creases and folds easily. P8 CS is also inherently flame retardant, meaning it even stays permanently FR after getting wet.
The custom grey colour of the fabric was specifically chosen because it absorbs the projected light beautifully, ideal for projection mapping. It also hides dirt better than white, which was important since there were 8 weeks between delivery, rehearsals and show.
Very specific patterns were incorporated into the design of the futuristic buildings, so ShowTex decided to print these patterns on the durable Universal Stretch print fabric. The colour of the print was matched to the custom dyed grey of the PolyStretch, so all colour tones matched and complemented each other.
Once the Sky City was fully deployed and immersed in 3D projection mapping, two giant inflatable tree trunks rose up from the stage, completing the Sky City “tree” structure, which represented Singapore’s dream of tomorrow.
“the deployment of the city had to Happen in just a couple of minutes, Virtually invisible for the audience, In order to create the illusion of The sky city magically appearing On stage.” (ShowTex)