ART BASEL

Miami company provides big, temporary spaces for events during Art Basel

 

Miami’s Midtown is being transformed with huge tents that will house art fairs during Art Basel week, and some of those pavilions will stay in place afterward to lure additional events.

icordle@MiamiHerald.com

Midtown Miami, once punctuated by vast open spaces of vacant land, has been transformed for Art Basel week into a bastion of massive fabric tent structures, the temporary homes of various art fairs.

Eventstar Structures, the Miami designer and manufacturer of customized removable structures, is erecting seven tents with a total of nearly 500,000 square feet of space on 22 acres. For Art Basel Miami Beach week, they will house satellite fairs Art Miami, ART ASIA, Artexpo, Art For A Better World, CONTEXT Art Miami, Miami Project and SCOPE Miami.

And through a joint venture between Eventstar and the owner of the land, Midtown Opportunities, the plan is for some of the fabric pavilions to remain in place after Art Basel is over, to be used for other exhibits and events.

“We want to attract more big shows here, world-class events,” said Alain Perez, president of Eventstar. “This way we can market the area, which has a great ambiance, and offer large square footage for shows and events.”

The pavilions that are part of “Eventstar Midtown,” between NE 36th Street and NE 29th Street, are made of heavyweight vinyl, built with aluminum frames. Structures can be outfitted with options such as glass walls or doors, hard walls, air conditioning, bathroom trailers and custom lighting, Perez said.

The shows and exhibits they hope to attract should fit right in with the community, said Deborah Samuel, vice president of operations for Midtown Opportunities, which bought the land in December 2011.

“As we build condos and mixed-use projects, we’re going to be working to incorporate art, fashion and design anywhere we can,” Samuel said.

Beyond Midtown, Eventstar’s tents can be seen all over town during Art Basel. Design Miami has used Eventstar to create a structure with a customized façade for the past five years. This year’s tent, designed by Snarkitecture of New York, incorporates an outside façade made of 500 inflatable tubes, creating a “cylindrical floating experience,” said Ty Bassett, director of logistics for Design Miami.

UNTITLED, a new art show on Ocean Drive and 12th Street in Miami Beach, also is using a customized Eventstar tent, as is a BMW exhibit at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Art Miami has used Eventstar pavilions since it launched in Midtown in 2008, and is now using the company for its new CONTEXT Art Miami, as well as for two other recently launched shows, Art Wynwood and Art Southhampton, said Nick Korniloff, director and partner of Art Miami.

“They are very creative, well prepared and the biggest provider in Southeast Florida,” Korniloff said of Eventstar. “They are very accommodating.”

In all, Eventstar structures are housing 19 events totaling 800,000 square feet of venue space in Miami Beach and Midtown during Art Basel.

Eventstar was founded in Miami in 1997 by Perez, his sister Belkys Perez and her ex-husband Jose Gonzalez.

“We began as a tent rental company and basically realized we needed to manufacture our own product,” Perez said. “So we evolved into a manufacturer five years after that, and from there we started to offer unique options for temporary structures that no one was offering in the United States.”

Such structures, adopted from the European model, have catapulted the company’s growth. With 2.5 million square feet of temporary structures in inventory, Eventstar now installs tents and removable buildings throughout the United States, Caribbean, Latin America and Europe, Perez said.

Locally, Eventstar tents have been used for Funkshion fashion shows and Super Bowl events. Nationwide, the biggest event of the year is the Kentucky Derby. This year, Eventstar will create multi-level removable stadium seating inside Churchill Downs, he said.

Eventstar’s temporary structures have also housed linemen in Mississippi who were restoring power after Hurricane Katrina, as well as residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands who lost their homes after Hurricane Ike. Eventstar even created a temporary hospital for Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince to treat victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Overall, its structures can be in place for up to five years, but most stay up for a week to a month, Perez said.

Eventstar does all its own manufacturing at its five-acre facility in Medley, he said. The company has about 100 full-time employees and adds as many as 250 more for different projects.

Though he declined to provide the company’s revenues, Perez said Eventstar’s sales have risen an average of 20 percent a year for the past five years, despite the recession, through a combination of corporate and military work.

“Companies have been looking for alternatives so they can still convey their message and do it within budget,” Perez said. “And this is a good option for that.”

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