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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Event Draping Safety - Flame Proof Fabrics

Because I was there to watch the entire installation process take place, I decided in this post to focus on the "pipe and drape" that North American Theatre Technology used to create the ambiance of the room for the SF Dream Wedding reception at the Hotel Vitale two weeks ago.

When it comes to wedding and special event lighting there is one thing I want you to know about event draping: By law (and for the sake of safety) the material used to create room draping must be treated to be "flame-proof." If the fabric touches a light fixture or is exposed to an open flame it is not only a safety issue but a legal one.

Three things that can cause fires at a special event or your home.

There are two ways drapes and fabrics can be certified:

1. Drapes are "certified" by qualified manufacturer's of drapery products. Companies like Rosebrand sew their certification tags into each panel and issue a certificate for their drapes.

2. Fabrics purchased at retail fabric stores to create drapes can be treated to be "flame -proofed."

North American Theatre Technology only uses fabrics that have been treated to be "flame-proof." They are prepared to flame test a piece of fabric onsite to demonstrate it is safe.

This picture of Natti Pierce-Thomson shows why you might want to consider adding pipe and drape to your wedding. In the photo above you can see 10 reasons why you might want to conceal some of the built in details that exist in many conference and ballrooms often used for weddings and wedding receptions. Things like light switches, panel doors, vents and other details can ruin the backdrop of what might have been a great photograph or a shot in your wedding video. Or it could be that the color of the walls are just wrong for your color scheme.

This is what the wall and pipe framework look like before adding the drapes and being raised.

Here is the same wall with the pipe and drape in place. Also added were LED lights from the floor adding additional light to the wall that was the back drop to the band and DJ.

Another shot of the draped wall at the back of the room with a leaf lighting design added to the dance floor using a special pattern called a "gobo."

And from the back of the room towards the front. The draping creates continuity covering the different original wall colors, hiding the artwork and all of the other miscellaneous switches and wall plates.

Enforcement of a drape's "flame-proofing" requirements is done by what is known as an "AHJ" (Authority Having Jurisdiction.) This can be the local fire marshall, building inspector, or other facility manager who has "jurisdiction" over the installation. The particular AHJ will state which set of NFPA standards they follow to make their determination, like NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code-NEC Standards) or NFPA 101 (Life Safety Standards).

On a related note you can see this same room at the Hotel Vitale dressed in red lighting in this previous blog post about a San Francisco NACE event. If you visit the other post, keep in mind that the wall behind the video screen was blue but the lighting made it look rich and red.

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