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Massive European FSB show presents the future of recreation

Massive European FSB show presents the future of recreation
July 27, 2015

Germany’s biennial FSB Trade Fair, being held in Cologne in October, will once again present global concepts and new products for amenity areas, sport and swimming pool facilities.

FSB (the International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities) is presented as a must attend event for architects and engineers as well as for developers of and companies operating sport, playground, swimming and recreational facilities. 

Being held in the massive Koelnmesse exhibition centre, the 2015 event will this year expand on a trend of previous years: ever more flexible recreational solutions which cater to the needs and requirements of increasingly heterogeneous and individual users.

This means that in addition to any project's architectural and structural quality, future amenity areas, sport and swimming pool facilities will need to focus on ongoing operational costs – which constitute by far the biggest share of a project's costs over its entire life cycle. 

International sporting events: Global demand and new formats
Whether it's the football World Cups in Russia and Qatar, the first European Games in Baku or the plans of several international sports associations for future events like World Beach Games, World Urban Games, World Combat Games and the World Mind Games - the number of big sporting events and the worldwide interest in them is enormous. 

Exhibitors at FSB 2015 will benefit from new markets. 

Dr Holger Schmitz of sports equipment manufacturer artec Sportgeräte states “we are driving the internationalisation of our company forward and at the beginning of 2015, were awarded a large contract to provide sports equipment for the King Abdullah Sports City in Saudi Arabia."

Alina Gainar of Spanish company Euronix Metal / Euronix Sport is also expecting growth in order volume based on social and health policy approaches for tackling poor nutrition and obesity are being discussed in many countries.

International Association of Sport and Leisure Facilities (Internationale Vereinigung Sport- und Freizeiteinrichtungen – IAKS) Managing Director IAKS Klaus Meinel points out that despite current political tensions, Russia continues to represent huge potential for the industry. 

Meinel states "the Russian Ministry for Sports will shortly announce the next national investment program for popular sports (and) it is expected that the focus of funding programs for the next few years will shift towards sports facilities and training centres." 

Urban sports and recreation parks
In the design of urban recreational spaces for sports and playground activities, FSB exhibitors continue to display plenty of creativity - whether it's for a range of multi-generational options for physical activity or moving work-out activities out of doors.

At FSB 2015, Stilum will present various themed worlds for children under three, playgrounds as well as fitness machines and balance training devices.

Stilum spokesperson Maike Söltl states "our playground equipment for children under three, with simple elements and structures inspired by flora and fauna, help create pedagogically valuable environments for play. In addition, the unusual mix of materials we use stimulates the children's senses.”

Berliner Seilfabrik also has high standards in design and sustainability. Their climbing nets (Seilfabrik Spatial Nets) are distinguished by the addition of bamboo panels meaning the installations resemble traditional playhouses while their panels look like standard wood but are more durable and more environmentally friendly. 

Julia Köhler of Berliner Seilfabri adds "bamboo is Nature's own high-tech material with an impressive carbon footprint in that it can grow a metre in just one day.”

Other manufacturers are promoting new visual effects in sporting activities. 

Metalu-Plast offers new outdoor courts for paddle tennis and football. 

Sumalim Playgrounds brings the look of virtual gaming to the playground so that adventures can now be experienced on a range of levels.

The rule on the playground is: Higher, faster, further! "That's fine by us, as long as the appropriate safety measures are in place!" says Wolfgang Keiner of Huck Seiltechnik: "We prioritise accident prevention within our popular "Bird's Nest" series meaning that we continually review and even go above and beyond current safety requirements."

Outdoor surfaces: the best surface for every type of sport
BSW has developed more product innovations. In addition to a portable athletics flooring for indoor events and new safety tiles for playgrounds and school grounds, work-out floorings for 10 different areas of application are now on offer.

Albrecht Rieger of BSW states “with these additions to our range, we can cater specifically to athletes' requirements in a variety of fields, from weights training to Yoga, Crossfit to martial arts.”
Recticel will present a newly developed elastic underlay for grass hockey pitches at FSB 2015. The inexpensive by-the-metre underlay meets the highest demands. Feedback from hockey players on pitches constructed with the new underlay to-date describes the feel as that of a traditional hockey pitch.

Novol from Poland will present a special flooring at FSB which can be used for outdoor activities in summer and, in the blink of an eye, can be turned into an ice-rink for the winter months. Greek company Atmacom will present flooring products which meet all types of safety requirements.

Recycling for climate-change mitigation is playing an increasing role in outdoor sports surfacing. Bergo Flooring recently received an award from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden for the development of a multi-purpose flooring made from 100% recyclable materials.

Artificial turf pitches: new quality standards and infill products
Harmonised construction standards for artificial turf pitches were introduced for the whole of Europe in 2014. FIFA also updated their quality program for artificial turf pitches which means there is now a comprehensive overview of quality standards for both users and developers and operating companies to ensure the best possible conditions for recreational as well as for professional football.

Testing laboratories specialising in sports flooring provide the required on-going quality monitoring by way of both laboratory and field testing.

Oliver Schneider of the Lehmacher/Schneider Laboratories states “we have significantly extended our services in regard to subsoil, monitoring and suitability testing of sporting and landscaping constructions and will be presenting them at FSB 2015."

Technological advances have been made both in the area of artificial turf surfaces and in infill granules. Polytan will present artificial blades of grass which maintain their shape and position for prolonged periods of time. Two-tone fibres are becoming more commonly used for visual appearance as the combination of light and darker green blades creates a more natural, deeper shade of green. 

The ‘Infill Bionic Fibre’ granules from Melos are inspired by nature and impress with the natural appearance of their organic grain shape, optimum health and environmentally friendly features as well as their pleasing conditions for play. 

Suppliers like Stargum have taken the manufacture of infill products from 100% recyclable materials one step further and offer products which are extremely attractive both from an ecological and economic perspective.

The specialists from SMG have developed a new machine for the removal of grass strips while simultaneously recycling used artificial turf surfaces. 

SMG’s Tobias Owegeser adds "the infill material is separated from the grass during the winding process which means the ‘harvested’ granules can be immediately supplied for recycling.” 

Innovative materials for the most challenging requirements
FSB exhibitors are perfectly prepared for the upcoming world championships. 

Australian company Play Hard will present the next generation of hammer and discus throwing cages in Cologne. Instead of the standard eight to ten net posts, these cages require only three or four. 

Howitech Netting will introduce a new tennis net in red which provides a better contrast to the blue tennis court surfaces currently on trend.

The Stechert Gruppe has developed ‘customised’ stadium seating for its clients. A choice of individual materials, logo application, heated or cooled seats, electrical adjustment options, lumbar support, cup-holders or storage nets - the most demanding of stadium operators will find seating solutions for all purposes.

Visitors will find the latest hardware and software innovations for measuring competition results and recording performances at FSB 2015, with Quince Electronics presenting a new timing system for swimming championships for instance, as well as many other highlights.

Climate protection and sustainability in sporting events
The German Olympic Sports Association will introduce its new online portal for sustainable sporting events ‘Green Champions 2.0’ at FSB 2015. Protecting the climate and the sensible use of resources in sporting facilities are feasible and logical. In addition, these measures help to counterbalance the rising operational costs of energy and water. Outdoor facilities like the McArena are also an innovative solution for the provision of sporting arenas which can be used very economically, all year long.

Resource-friendly lightweight construction methods can also be combined with comfort features like heating and air-conditioning, as Veldeman recently proved in Moscow with its construction of a 60x100 metre indoor football pitch which facilitates ongoing training in comfortable temperatures even during a Russian winter.

New indoor trends in school sports, health-focused exercise and gyms
Climbing walls, bouldering walls and slacklining systems increasingly feature in school sports halls and promote balance and trying out new types of sports. 

Raimar Nestler of the Federal Association of the German Sports Goods Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Sportartikel-Industrie) explains "the sports halls facilities of today are no longer used for traditional gymnastics or sport-specific applications.

"Where previously, certain equipment was used to do specific exercises, now the concept of getting involved is at the forefront." 

Team sports are becoming less achievement-based and are more and more often played in smaller sports halls. Companies operating health centres and gyms require a range of separate rooms for weights, circuit, cardio and group training activities. 

‘Fit on Demand’ means training alone or in pairs in smaller spaces with the most up-to-date online equipment, with personalised interactive fitness programs.

Swimming pools as providers of health and recreational experiences
Assuming responsibility for personal health is becoming increasingly significant in line with today's changing demographic. These days, swimming pools are sports facilities with elements of health promotion and could be said to function almost as underwater gyms. However, they are recreational facilities first and foremost, meaning that swimming pool operators are in competition with providers of other types of recreational experiences and activities. In order to access younger target groups, more attractive facilities like spectacular slides or climbing walls must be integrated.

Exhibitors in the area of public swimming pools will present products and solutions, in association with planners and pool operators, for meeting users' challenging demands.

FSB (the International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities) is being held in Cologne, Germany from 27th to 30th October.

Click here for event details in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Related Articles

14th January 2015 - IOC, IPC and IAKS launch 2015 international architectural awards

24th October 2013 - IAKS awards excellence in aquatic, recreation and sport facility architecture

19th September 2013 - FSB to present global forum on synthetic turf

29th September 2009 - Latest International Aquatic Trends at Aquanale 2009

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