Elevating Shades to New Heights
In the Spring of 2019, a special mission was underway—not in outer space, but in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission in question was piloted by A Shade Above, a leader in window treatments in the southeastern United States. In collaboration with our long-term partner, E. Kelly Enterprises and The Haskell Company in Jacksonville, Florida, our skilled team of seven installers set out for Blue Origin’s colossal New Glenn rocket manufacturing facility. Their task? To measure and install state-of-the-art solar screen shades that would stand up to the rigors of a truly extraordinary environment.
As soon as our team set foot in the facility, it was apparent that this was no ordinary project. Valued at over $1 billion, the manufacturing space spanned an impressive 300,000 square feet—though one might argue it felt much more expansive with rockets in the room. But what really caught our eye was the architectural complexity of the place. Single stacked openings towered at heights of more than 40 feet, demanding specialized solutions to shield against Florida’s relentless sun.
For an assignment this unique, standard shades just wouldn’t do. We needed to think big—really big. Enter our large, motorized solar screen shades with Somfy motors, designed for maximum sun protection without sacrificing the view of the outdoor surroundings. But we didn’t stop there. To ensure optimal light control, we integrated advanced features like sun sensors, which would automatically adjust the shades based on the sun’s position in the sky.
Privacy and multimedia functionality were other key considerations. We used blackout fabrics to ensure privacy and dual shades that were integrated with the A/V systems, providing the flexibility to raise or lower them as needed during presentations or meetings.
Chad Alexander, the Manager of A Shade Above’s Commercial Division, reflected on the monumental task. “This facility was truly a feat of architecture, and one of the largest—if not the largest—that A Shade Above has ever tackled in the realm of commercial window coverings,” he said. “The scale of a real-life rocket factory is hard to fathom until you’re standing in it, but we were more than up for the challenge.”
Not only did our solutions meet the functional requirements, but they also elevated the aesthetic appeal of this cutting-edge facility, adding a subtle, yet impactful, design element that complements the technological wonders being created at Blue Origin.
As rockets prepare to launch into the great unknown, A Shade Above is proud to have contributed to a terrestrial endeavor that feels almost as thrilling. With this project, we’ve proven that when it comes to tackling challenges of astronomical proportions, our team is more than capable— they’re out of this world!