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World-Renowned Bal Harbour Shops Relies on TENARA® Fabric

New Retractable Canopy Offers Unparalleled Strength, Pliability, Style and Comfort

Publish Date: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DEPEW, NY… Bal Harbour Shops in Miami Beach, FL is superlative in every respect. The prestigious open-air shopping mall has the highest sales per square foot of any shopping center in the world. It features the finest retail establishments in a setting that epitomizes luxury. The latest addition to that setting is a retractable fabric canopy built using SEFAR Architecture® TENARA® Fabric.

The canopy’s mechanized retracting structure, referred to as En-Fold, was manufactured by Uni-Systems, LLC. It deploys the TENARA Fabric, gently & quietly unfolding it until it stretches out completely flat to form a translucent fabric roof. This happens with the push of a button on a wireless remote control.

The En-Fold fabric canopy was built for Bal Harbour Shops’ inner courtyard, an event space that requires a retractable solution to shield it from rain or harsh sunlight, improving the shopping experience. After more than eight months of research and testing, Bal Harbour Shops chose TENARA Fabric because it was the only product that could fold repeatedly without delamination – and because it provides translucency when unfolded.

“Now that we’ve worked with TENARA Fabric several times, we’ve learned to take full advantage of its every benefit,” says Peter Fervoy, Business Development Manager for Uni-Systems. “Outside of pliability and durability, its light transmission cuts down heat and distills light to provide a comfortable, shaded area where plants can still grow.”

The inner courtyard incorporates greenery and features an elaborate koi pond with a glass top that guests can walk on. TENARA Fabric filters the perfect amount of light and heat for both, keeping the plants healthy and reducing the amount of algae in the pond. According to Fervoy, “Any other fabric would have created too dark of an area for the comfort of the patrons and the health of the plants.”

TENARA Fabric is unique because it is woven from ePTFE fabric and is also fluoropolymer-coated, making the PTFE inherent in the material. As a result, it allows more than three times the light transmission of similar fabric materials – 38% versus the industry standard of 12%. It also will flex and fold countless times without delaminating or losing strength.

In terms of durability, SEFAR Architecture’s TENARA Fabric is inert to UV rays and provides extremely high resistance to material degradation, far surpassing all other materials of its kind. As a result, it offers the industry’s only 15-year replacement warranty. TENARA Fabric is ASTM E84 – Class A fire-rated, making it an ideal canopy material for a retail space.

Finally, the entire retractable roofing system at Bal Harbour Shops is built to withstand wind speeds of up to 90 mph and can be stored compactly if higher winds are expected.

In the end, SEFAR Architecture’s TENARA Fabric and Uni-Systems’ En-Fold mechanized retractable system create a functional and aesthetic solution for a property with the highest of expectations.

“Bal Harbour Shops represents the highest value per square foot in the world,” says Cyril Silberman, CEO and Founder of Uni-Systems. “No decisions about this project were made lightly. After months of research, it was confirmed that En-Fold with TENARA Fabric was the only system that would sustain and perform ideally for the high-profile space.”

“Busy commercial and retail locations must utilize their space in all weather conditions,” says Peter Katcha, Director, North American Sales for SEFAR Architecture. “Having a retractable roofing system that maximizes usage and comfort is critical, and our material is an ideal component of that solution.”

To learn more about SEFAR Architecture’s TENARA Fabric, visit

The Bal Harbour Shops inner courtyard project was completed in October 2013. Members of the project team included owner Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour, FL, engineer and project manager Uni-Systems, Minneapolis, MN, fabric fabricator Lightweight Manufacturing Inc., Whitehall, PA, structural fabricator Weldtec & Fab Inc., Lake Crystal, MN and installer Miami Awning Company, Miami, FL.

About SEFAR Architecture: SEFAR Architecture is a leading manufacturer of monofilament precision and ePTFE yarn fabrics and fabric systems for interior and exterior architectural applications. With comprehensive knowledge in textile architecture, Sefar has cooperated with experienced lighting technicians and polymer experts to develop a new generation of fabrics for the architectural and design community. For more information on SEFAR Architecture’s products and services, call Peter Katcha at 727-388-4919 or visit