Gigantic shows and innovative fair booths often cannot do without flame retardant fabrics and motion control systems. The international company ShowTex has both the technology and the experience to provide customers with a wide range of solutions to meet the most challenges in the set up and design of stages and fair booths. In the follwing interview Bo Bettens, Marketing Manager at Showtex, reveals where the company’s roots lie and how the industry has changed in recent years.
1. You have been on the market for nearly 35 years, what is your origin? How did your business start?
ShowTex is a market leading supplier and manufacturer of flame retardant fabrics and innovative motion control systems for theatre and event professionals around the world. The company was founded in 1983 by two men pursuing excellence in stagecraft and light design. Their drive to develop and improve flame retardant soft goods and motion systems for the entertainment industry has turned into an international organization providing a wide variety of services and high quality custom solutions. With its head office in Belgium, the ShowTex Group includes full-scale local offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia & Africa employing around 250 full time specialists worldwide.
2. How did the industry and your work change over the past years?
Over the years we evolved more and more towards a one-stop, all-inclusive service company offering an extensive range of skills and professional advice to assist customers at every stage of their project. Working with theatre and event professionals for as long as we have has led to an impressive set of in-house inventions. We designed the user-friendly EasyDrape for out of the box construction of fabric walls and arches, the innovative Kabuki drop system and the fastest roll-up system available in the industry: HiSpeed Roll-Up. These are but a few of a wide variety of products we invented and perfected over time. All over the world, our studios are fully equipped for laser-cutting, printing, welding, curving tracks, integrating ShowLED components, producing giant glassless mirrors and more. The power of combining all of these in-house processes makes us unique in the world!
3. What upcoming challenges does the industry expect? How will you master those?
In an ever-changing world, ecological and sustainable solutions are becoming increasingly important. That is why ShowTex started an ecology workgroup and adopted sustainable operational practices by investing in a greener infrastructure, recycling fabric waste from its own workshops and launching the first range of eco-friendly stage drapes in the industry.
Furthermore, we notice that maximum noise level standards and regulations for live performances make optimal sound quality more important than ever. To meet today’s high level requirements, ShowTex offers a range of acoustic fabrics that are designed to control sound conditions in architectural environments and are used at all types of venues. Our textiles are constantly put to the test by our acoustic engineers to offer the ultimate noise controlling solution.
In a time where performances and shows risk to be dominated by special effects with big LED screens and video walls, the power of projection is sometimes underrated. It all comes down to immersive experiences these days where every setup needs to be faster, better, stronger and most of all, unique. ShowTex offers a valid response to this by not limiting itself to the more traditional PVC projection screens. Its extensive selection of alternative fabric projection surfaces is often the perfect answer to the most creative concepts. Mesh fabrics for example allow for holographic projections, impossible to achieve with PVC, whereas stretch fabric screens open possibilities in the fast-growing world of 3D video mapping.
ShowTex understands the importance of creativity, but more importantly, knows how to achieve these great results with a rather limited budget. For this reason, we offer fully customized solutions and present an ever-expanding range of rental products, offering clients even more flexibility than working with fabric already does.
4. Where do you see your company in five years?
ShowTex will soon be celebrating 35 years as an internationally leading supplier of flame retardant curtain fabrics, tracks, and motion control systems. We are proud to be considered as an established player and a true point of reference within our market, but frankly, this is only the beginning. We are on a path to innovation and international growth and continue to invest in state-of-the-art technologies, in-house developments and warehouse & workshop capacity. We do this while attracting people from all over the world and training them to become number one specialists in the field. The idea is simple: we follow our clients wherever they go, and do whatever is necessary to support them in the best possible way.
5. Finally, what is the significance of Prolight + Sound as a trade fair for event technology for your company?
For ShowTex, Prolight + Sound is the ultimate platform to share creative ideas and a meeting point for both familiar and new faces. It is the absolute place-to-be to connect with a lot of people from all over the world and to keep in touch with what is going on in the market. Our ongoing dialogue with light and set designers helps us to continuously improve our products. By working closely together with our customers, we always find the best solution to meet their challenging needs in set building, stage and stand design. Our team is keen to offer a personalized approach starting from the introduction at Prolight + Sound, to the end of every single one of their projects.