NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Urban Umbrella, a premium sidewalk scaffolding provider, recently launched a product of modular event canopies with the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., catapulting the urban design business beyond the realm of construction-based public protection. Founder and CEO Benjamin Krall noted that the company “saw an opportunity to enter the billion-dollar event staging industry by transforming [their] premium scaffolding material” for creative use beyond its traditional use case. Urban Umbrella unveiled its event canopies product in June 2022 inside the Museum’s beautiful Great Hall, the company’s first-ever work in the nation’s capital. The Museum used the Urban Umbrella system as a vessel for gambling house, an interactive and multi-faceted staging area for their Summer Block Party performance series. The Urban Umbrella featured prominently in the Folger Theater Company’s first live post-COVID show, a rendition of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, held inside the Hall. Visitors walked through the structure, adorned with sheer navy curtains and colorful leafy cutouts, upon entering the show’s seating area.

The museum’s director of operations, Cathy Frankel, was particularly pleased with the result, repeatedly calling the urban umbrella “a little jewelry box…able to stand out and hold its own in such a large space, while offering simultaneously a more intimate environment for guests.” Frankel noted that as a forward-thinking design institution obsessed with the built environment and its improvement, the Museum was thrilled to “partner with a like-minded group like Urban Umbrella.” expressed how “delighted” they were [to be] able to highlight the scaffolding of the event, presenting it as part of the installation rather than simply hiding it. Essentially, a greater connection between clients and their built space has been fostered because “the structure has become more than just a structure”.

Urban Umbrella first launched its event product in late 2021, when it was chosen as the stage for Bank of America’s annual Winter Village in New York’s Bryant Park. The company beat out “a lot” of competitors to win the job, according to Irene Vagianos, vice president of brand partnerships and events at Bryant Park, which oversees the planning, production and operations of Winter Village. As someone who has infiltrated the world of urban design adept at managing public space to best serve the disparate needs of New York’s public, Vagianos’ accolades hold great significance: “They are a better solution than old-fashioned scaffolding,” she said. “…a much more aesthetically appropriate choice. [Urban Umbrella] has an attractive design and fits well with the rest of our architecture. Event organizers set up comfortable, heated igloos above and beside the Urban Umbrella platform, which they adorned with wintery decorations. Guests were able to dine in said igloos, enjoying festive food and drinks offered by local vendors. As Urban Umbrella’s first foray into the event rental industry, it has met with resounding success and acclaim.

At the heart of Urban Umbrella’s new event canopies product is the structural framework of their standard sidewalk scaffolding, which Krall says is much more attractive compared to conventional staging systems. It’s also safer: “For too long, events have been based on discordant assemblages of wood and metal,” he continues. Urban Umbrella certainly looks better, but more importantly, it’s sturdier, easier to assemble, and generally easier for event planners to use. Urban Umbrella has emphasized that its event awnings are “bespoke only”. The product is very versatile, being able to be used as both overhead protection and underfoot staging and support for all kinds of gatherings and occasions. It has height-adjustable legs and can incorporate lighting, signage, branding, and more. the company’s unrivaled parts kit offers everything from speakers and cameras to heaters and fans, making event canopies fully customizable to each customer’s wants and needs.

Inquiries about Urban Umbrella’s event canopies have included festivals, theatrical performances, design conventions, conferences and New York Fashion Week; one client even considered transforming the system into a ceremonial pergola for a wedding. Krall said the company is working on a partnership with a major sports venue to deploy the product at a boxing match this fall; contract negotiations with several Art Basel artists are also underway.

Urban Umbrella doesn’t just focus on staging events; the company is actively seeking to develop in areas other than construction. Urban Umbrella also manufactures other non-construction related products for the healthcare, education, retail and hospitality sectors. The company has stepped up to provide the necessary socially distanced outdoor queue management solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, urban umbrellas have been installed outside Lenox Hill Hospital over the past two winters and at several other healthcare facilities. At a school in downtown Brooklyn, Urban Umbrella canopies were introduced as an “entrance porch,” serving dual purposes to maximize space for health screenings and entrances to socially distanced buildings while delineating and anchoring new outdoor classroom areas. Urban Umbrella awnings have since been rolled out in multiple cities to help all manner of businesses, from mom-and-pop stores to some of the world’s largest luxury retailers, extend their footprint to the sidewalk as sidewalks become a renewed place for trade. As part of New York’s Open Restaurants campaign, the company has expanded its product line to install them in more than a dozen restaurants, providing safe yet aesthetically pleasing dining coverage on sidewalks, patios and rooftops. . These different adjoining product lines, says Krall, were created and continue to be fueled by the same goal: “To make sure that built spaces work for people, not against them.” »

In 2009, Urban Umbrella beat out over 260 competitors to win a city-run international design competition aimed at creating a safer, more attractive and pedestrian-friendly alternative to traditional sidewalk scaffolding. Today, Urban Umbrella remains the designer, patent holder and manufacturer of the only alternative to the traditional sidewalk scaffolding aapproved by the New York Town building departments. In addition to sidewalk scaffolding and overhead protection, the company also provides canopies and event staging systems, custom facade netting, construction fencing and level five walls. Urban Umbrella is live in eight cities now and is planning expansions to Miami Beach and Austin, Texas this fall. Additional information about Urban Umbrella is available at https://www.urbanumbrella.com/.