The Coliseo Iván de Bedout in Medellín, Colombia, was built in 1955 and mainly hosts basketball and futsal sporting events. It is one of the four sports arenas that is part of the Medellín Sports Coliseum, the main sports facility in Medellín.
In 2018, the Coliseum began preparing for an event that was beyond the scope of the typical sporting event. In 2019, they would be hosting an event by the entertainment and performance group Cirque du Soleil. Cirque du Soleil has received numerous awards and a growing fanbase due to their elaborate productions, which involve intense acrobatics, vivid costumes, and often intricate staging. Because of the robust stage and lighting plans they had for the show in Medellín, preparation needed to begin early. The Coliseum enlisted expert flooring contractor Juan Carlos Uribe and his company Manju S.A.S. to assist with the project and make sure that the flooring could accommodate and support Cirque du Soleil’s plans.
Image courtesy of eticket.com
A Two-Part Maple Flooring Challenge
Although the maple sports flooring in the Coliseum was strong and durable, the heavy weight of the stage and lighting rigs would have damaged it. So, Uribe and his team had to get creative.
“We had to make four different 3mx3m (9m2) square holes in the floor, making sure not to cut over void spaces so that we had solid starting points for the flooring replacement. We also had to replace the affected plywood sheets, so the holes expanded up to 22m2. We also made handcrafted, keyed-in dents so the new wood would fit in seamlessly with the original floor.”
Uribe stressed that the main challenge to this project was not accommodating the temporary stage, but restoring the flooring to its original appearance and performance characteristics once the Cirque du Soleil show was over. Not only did it have to look like it did previously, players would need to have consistent performance throughout the floor with no loss of quality in the areas where the holes were cut.
Finding the Right Maple Wood
To make this project as seamless as possible, Uribe matched the exact wood type of the existing floor system, which they were able to source from Action Floors. Using 20x57mm pieces of MFMA Random Length (RL) Second and Better Grade Maple wood, the repairing and refinishing came together without any issues. Second and Better Grade Maple contains some variations in wood. So, if they would have replaced the flooring with a different grade, the replacement flooring would have looked noticeably different from the rest of the floor. Second and Better Grade Maple is also close-grained and hard-fibered, which helps keep it free from splintering and slivering. Matching this character of the wood was also important so that the wear over time would be consistent with the other flooring.
Selecting Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) graded wood for the replacement flooring was also a noteworthy decision in this process. As an organization representing the worldwide sports flooring industry, the goal of the MFMA is to balance technical standards with practical flooring system design to create uniform standards of performance for competition sports floors. They have established grading rules and they inspect and monitor member manufacturers’ compliance to these strict grading rules. They also provide extensive technical information and have established the PUR performance criteria.
MFMA’s PUR Standards focus on shock absorption, vertical deflection, area of deflection, ball bounce, and surface friction. These standards use exacting testing methodologies to ensure that sports floors are reliable, well-performing, and competitive. Compliance with MFMA PUR is based on a strict pass/fail evaluation.
Using MFMA-graded wood helped keep a high level of performance quality throughout the entire floor once the replacement was finished.
Ultimately, the goal for Uribe was to have a seamless flooring restoration and to have the floor appear as if no holes had been cut into it. As you can see in the picture below, this was accomplished. Although substantial parts of the flooring were removed and a massive stage was installed, the flooring shows no sign that it ever occurred there.
Perfect Restoration is Possible with the Right Material and Experts
Sometimes sports facilities need to accommodate opportunities outside their usual activity, and this Project Profile is a perfect example of how that can be done without disrupting future events. With the right materials and expert installers, almost anything is possible.
If your facility needs modification or repair work, you can trust the experts at Action Floors to advise on and supply the right materials for your project. From complete flooring systems to unique replacement projects, contact us to learn more about what we can do for your project.