For solar control, sails are a natural partner to an atrium. The simple lines and fabric construction of sails make them versatile and adaptable no matter the aspect of the building or intensity of the sunlight.

An atrium lets in natural light, and we sense an openness which lifts our mood and interactions. Sails address glare and heat gain, without compromising architectural features, aesthetics or the atrium’s connection to the outdoors.

Sails can be designed and configured to each setting for precision solar control, no matter the intensity of the sunlight. There’s no adjusting, and no motors, cords or pullies to maintain. Sails have a light footprint with exceptional results for your glass roof or atrium.
Roof lantern Atrium Shades
Atrium Shades


Simple and effective - no moving parts to maintain or replace. Easy to retrofit without additional works – most solutions can be installed in 1 day and work can be carried out outside of normal business hours. Each design is optimised for year-round comfort allowing maximum natural light at all times. In addition to creating an optimum working environment InShade sail blinds can significantly reduce cooling costs during peak summer weather.

Sail blinds are fully tensioned and self-supporting. Sail blinds work with the environment as-is: no electrics to fix or moving parts to fail, easy to retrofit in just about any space.

Our ISX fabric eliminates glare yet transmits four times as much natural light as traditional blind fabrics. No need to open and close with changing weather.

The varied shade in a multi-sail design yields a soft light that aids depth perception, optimising a space for reading and working.

UK design and manufacture - 10 year warranty.

Case 1

Atrium sails control sun and acoustics

A large multi story atrium suffered from glare and overheating. Its echo and reverberation made the space uncomfortable to use and affected adjacent offices during parts of the day, while rain drumming on the roof could become very loud.

Pleased with tensARC’s work on another large space, the client requested sails for the main reception area and a sizable break out space where staff eat, relax and carry out informal meetings.

We assessed the atrium’s design, location, aspect and materials in order to determine the required sail coverage to meet the current use case. A modular design was proposed to allow the coverage to be adapted to future requirements.

tensARC recommended and installed a two-layer sail solution. Upper sails are fixed to the roof stucture while lower sails are clipped onto an offset cable grid sitting 0.5m below. The client was delighted that there was no need to retrofit electrics, as with roller blinds, and pleased with the way the sails complement the existing décor.

This configuration reduced peak summer light to comfortable levels yet maintained minimum light levels on dull overcast days. The sails absorb reflected sound to improve the acoustics. Heat gain decreased significantly, cutting air conditioning costs in the summer.
Stevenage Atrium Shades
Leeds Law School

Case 2

Single sail cuts glare for receptionists

The client wanted to address the needs of receptionists who struggled with excessive glare whilst sitting at their desk at the entry to an atrium at the University of Leeds law school. There had been multiple complaints about the severe glare as well as heat extremes in the peak summer months.

The client did not wish to compromise the building’s beautiful wood, stone and glazing features. Roller blinds would lose the atrium’s open feel and views to the outside. Any solution to shade the reception area needed to ensure there was minimum impact to light levels elsewhere in the atrium.

tensARC developed a solution to provide targeted shade. We conducted a sun study which confirmed the minimum coverage required to shade the reception desk at all times of the day, year round. We worked with the client to determine whether a single, strategically positioned sail or a set of smaller sails would be preferable. Our ISX-IFR self-tensioning fabric allowed the use of small, simple fittings to support the sail and applied negligible loads to the structure. The sail had a light footprint yet a highly effective impact and was well-received.

Some of the great companies we have worked with

  • Arena Ground Logo
  • barnardos color Logo
  • landrover Logo
  • Toyota Logo
  • pizza express Logo
  • National Health Service
  • Jagquar Logo
  • Adidas Logo
  • Mitie Logo
  • Red Bull Logo
  • Papa Johns Logo
  • Moss Boss Group PLC Logo
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