Blog

Stretch Shapes Celebrates 10 Years, Business Accolades, Expansion & New Products

It’s been an exciting year for us here at Stretch Shapes — marking our 10th anniversary with awards, expansion, and plenty of new products. We are excited to share the updates, knowing that you are the reason we’ve made it this far!

When our imaginative leader and CEO, Niko Mantele set out to create Stretch Shapes, his goal was to provide creative solutions for event professionals. His first design was a metal frame and stretch fabric mandala at Burning Man in 2006, and the idea for Stretch Shapes was born from there.

Officially founded in 2009, our mission is to provide AV and Live Event Professionals with reliable, compact, and innovative solutions from fabrics that stretch. And it has been an honor to do so for the past decade!

We’re passionate about creating beautiful experiences through exceptional event decor, and that drive has given us a chance to be behind the scenes for everything from corporate events to renowned music festivals, professional golf tournaments to distinguished international conferences. Over the years, some staff favorites have included the visually stunning scenic design for Ajijaak on Turtle Island with IBEX Puppetry and the gargantuan Curved Borderless Projection Screen for the Our Ocean Conference

Growth & Expansion

This year, in order to keep up with the growing demand for Stretch Shapes products, we expanded our warehouse — taking our total space up to 5 of the 8 bays. Addressing our continued expansion and growth at an all-team Town Hall, Mantele laughed, “We’ll keep going until we take over the building! But really, it can be very challenging to go through rapid growth — scaling up in a creative field and maintaining a people-first approach, while continuing to innovate is not an easy feat. And I have to say, our growth and success is because of you — the team, who continued to live by our values while going through a major growth spurt.”

And we keep growing! It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, our company started with a team of only 3 people. With 14 new hires joining us so far this year, our team has grown to a total of 34 people — nearly doubling from the year before, and with more still to come!

Inc. 5000 — America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

We are also thrilled to be recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2019. Ranking No. 1186 on the list of 5000 businesses, and ranked No. 9 of Fastest-Growing Companies in Oregon, this accolade is a testament to the confidence and trust our clients have placed in us. With 3-year growth at a rate of 349%, it’s clear to see that we couldn’t do it without you!

New Products and Updates

When Stretch Shapes began, flagship products included Flat Panel Sails and Truss Covers, but our product offerings grow with every year. Taking our values of engagement, learning, and innovation seriously, we’ve used the knowledge and expertise you share with us to launch 5 new products in 2019 alone. Check out the gallery below to see the new products and learn about each one.

Whether you’re in need of reliable Truss Covers, searching for fully customized Stage Set Designs, or have an idea you’re not sure how to implement, we are always ready to roll out the red carpet service for you — listening with care to help you find the solutions you need.

What’s next on our agenda? CEO Niko Mantele speaks on behalf of our future goals, “As we move into our next phase, likely doubling again in the years to come, our goal is to stay relevant by continuing to innovate customer-based solutions. We are always seeking to learn and refusing to stagnate — we’ll never have the approach that good is good enough. Our clients need outstanding, contemporary solutions, and we will continue to aim for excellence!”

Soon we’ll be rolling out a Design Lab where product prototypes and new ideas can be reviewed by you. Already have some ideas in mind? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll add them to the mix. Or, to stay up to date on all the latest news and product releases.

Thank you for being part of our success and inspiring us to keep going, and growing!

Reliable, compact, and innovative solutions from fabrics that stretch.


Truss Covers — Scrunching Technique

At Stretch Shapes, we know you use truss for everything; they’re an integral component in stage set design and event production. Covering your truss with a beautiful, wrinkle-free surfaces is becoming the new industry standard amongst top AV professionals, who regularly turn to Stretch Shapes’ collection of Truss Covers. Our Truss Covers are optimized for peak performance and create unique opportunities for lighting and design.

Since our stretch fabric Truss Covers are known for providing a smooth, wrinkle-free surface, the scrunching or ruching technique might not come to mind immediately. But the stretchiness in our fabric makes it easy to add texture and visual interest, and can help turn those trusses into an opportunity for beautification.

The steps below will help you master the scrunching technique so you can keep expanding your design toolbox.

  1. Measure enough fabric so you have extra to scrunch with. Ideally we recommend using twice as much fabric, so if you’re covering a 10 foot truss, 20 feet of truss cover is recommended; you can use less, but we suggest a minimum 50% increase, so that same 10 foot truss could also be scrunched with a 15 foot truss cover, but the scrunching won’t be as dense.
  2. Apply your Truss Cover as usual. The scrunching technique works best with Pull Over Truss Covers, in which case you would simply pull the cover over your truss, until it is covered from top to bottom.
    Pro Tip: Try using black truss covers with internal LED lighting for a modern, edgy look.
  3. Start scrunching! Pull down the truss cover, bunching the fabric together so it creates layers of fabric that look like rippled edges. How dense the ruching is depends on how much additional fabric you have to work with. Adjust and repeat as needed!
    Pro Tip: Create different types of effects by stacking your scrunch level or mix it up by scrunching one side higher than the other and alternate to create an angular look.
  4. Illuminate (optional). The opacity on all of our Truss Covers is set just right, so when there’s external light, you don’t see through, but if you illuminate from the inside, it creates a vibrant, beautiful color and lighting effect.
    Pro Tip: For additional intrigue, combine a scrunched Truss Cover with internal LED lighting at one or both ends of the truss, then control each LED fixture on a separate channel. Blend and mix the lighting to create lush textures and colors that can match the event’s theme or mood.

The great thing about working with Stretch Shapes’ Truss Covers is the fabric we use! All of our Truss Covers are manufactured using Premium IFR Stretch Fabric. The fabric is Inherently Flame Retardant, so it will never lose its flame certification, even after repeated deep cleaning. Its tight warp knit increases fabric strength and puncture resistance, while its high stretch memory allows the fabric to recover to its original size more accurately, making it easy to work with as you revise and refine your scrunched truss covers.

Our reliable Truss Covers are sold in precut segments, by the roll, and in both standard and metric sizes. We offer them to fit a variety of box truss sizes as well as an assortment of triangle truss sizes. Truss Covers are also available in rolls, which come in varying lengths and allow you to cut them down to size as needed. Keeping the rolls in stock ensures you have the product on hand whenever they’re needed, so you’re able to just cut the length you need and apply — even when those last-minute requests come up!

Have you tried the ruching technique? Please send us your pictures at [email protected]. Do you have other interesting techniques and designs you’ve used? We love learning and can’t wait to see what you’ve done!


Vector Grids

Stretch Shapes continues to innovate and move the needle with solutions from fabrics that stretch for AV and Live Design professionals. Vector Grids are a ground-breaking product that will provide event professionals with the opportunity to design dynamic backdrops and modern ceiling treatments that embrace the geometric trend we’re seeing right now. With Vector Grids, you can create backdrops with custom fabric walls that mount using a Pipe and Base Frame or mounts on to your existing truss frame. If you prefer, Vector Grids can even be used as a lightweight fabric ceiling treatment.

Design made simple

Our pre-configured shapes and sizes allow you to design your Vector Grid to fit the needs of your event without having to overthink the setup. Currently, we offer five distinct geometric patterns that include triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, and diamonds. With each wall, you get to pick the pattern density (size) you want each shape to be cut in. Each shape is available in a 6”, 12”, 2’ and 2.5’ pattern density. This provides even more creative freedom when designing your event wall, stretch fabric backdrop, stage background, or fabric ceiling treatment.

What’s the difference between Vector Grids and Panel Wall Tiles?

The biggest difference between the Vector Grids and our Panel Wall Tiles is the Panel Wall Tiles are individual panels that are pre-assembled in our production facility with metal gate rings, whereas our Vector Grids are a complete wall with the pattern cut into the fabric wall itself.

Vector Grids require no additional parts (other than the structure you’re mounting to), whereas our Panel Wall Tiles require additional attachment pieces like zip ties. This translates into Vector Grids creating a next level super clean looking pattern fabric wall.

What is the difference between Pipe & Base and Truss Mount?

We have designed these walls to work with pipe and base systems as well as truss structures. For your pipe and base systems, a sewn-in pole pocket is built into the perimeter of the Vector Grid. This provides stretch from all four sides to provide your wall with a wrinkle-free finish and a perfectly symmetrical grid. View an installation video here.

For truss structures or similar, we sew in hook & loop strips that simply wrap around the truss and stick to themselves. Not only does this allow for an extremely quick and easy install, but it also removes the need for zip ties. This reduces waste, cost and cleanup — all added benefits! To view Vector Grid truss mounted installation, click here.

See for yourself!

Our team is on standby ready to provide you with any additional information you need to design your next event with our Vector Grids. Feel free to use our lightning-fast online quote system to get an accurate estimate of what you need or pick up the phone and give us a call at 1.888.396.2017.