Libby Smoot, July 10, 2014

This Catfish Makes Quite A Splash

We're always delighted by creative and unique applications for Trex decking boards. Whether wheelchair accessible mobile gardens, bridges or  planter boxes, the uses are endless. Earlier this year, when a young girl petitioned her city’s officials to replace a “book” stolen from a bronze statue, her grandfather stepped in and made the “book” from a Trex deck board.


But for the splashiest use of Trex we've seen, check out the “catfish” that came ashore at a Memphis, Tenn., playground last fall. The 8-foot tall, 30-foot long hollow, curved structure was made in part with Trex wood composite decking. Children climb on and through the belly, gills and mouth of the catfish, a natural mascot for the site that sits along the Mississippi River.

The project, part of a children's play area at Beale Street Landing that opened in April, was designed by architects at Haizlip Studio in Memphis and fabricated by 1220 Exhibits in Nashville, Tenn. Trex Transcend® boards in Spiced Rum, Gravel Path and Rope Swing were chosen for the job because of their durability, low maintenance and ability to be easily curved. The boards, attached to a steel frame, were used to create the body of the catfish and the floor. The head is a cast concrete.

The body and flooring of this


 “We stretched the material to its greatest elasticity,” said Reb Haizlip, partner at Haizlip Studio.

While the floor was designed in a simple wave, the boards that made up the body of the catfish were heated in a special oven and then bent and twisted at the same time, a complex and unusual application. “It was quite a feat,” said Eric Berg, project manager with 1220 Exhibits. But choosing Trex, he said, “was a no-brainer for what we wanted to do. It was the perfect application for the design.”

The floor of this


 Both Haizlip and Berg said they are pleased with the end result and, more importantly said Haizlip, “the client is happy with it.”

This one-of-a-kind structure has “become a staple of the playground,” Berg added. “It’s the highlight as far as aesthetics go.”

To view more unique applications using Trex decking, check out our inspiration gallery.

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