When designing the University of Alabama Football Locker Room at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the design team from Forty Nine Degrees wanted to create an atmosphere that would leave a lasting impression on anyone visiting the space.
“We wanted to create a unique experience so that anyone walking through the space would know they were in the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide,” explains Jesse Ranly, VP-Creative, Client Strategy at Forty Nine Degrees. Situated at the end of the new team tunnel, where visitors are enveloped in audio-visual highlights of Alabama football history, the locker room is intended to be an extension of the sights and sounds of the tunnel.
“We wanted the locker room to be a little bit darker, a little bit more subdued,” says Ranly, “creating an intimate atmosphere and mood.” To achieve that, the design team opted for a 360-degree panoramic photo of a game day stadium for the walls and began exploring ways the ceiling could be used to add impact to the space. “We didn’t want a standard illuminated Alabama Script A logo in the ceiling,” explains Ranly. “We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before, leaving a memorable experience and strong visual impression.”
The concept the Forty Nine Degrees design team developed called for a metal ceiling, perforated with the Alabama Script A logo and random trails of additional perforations. Diffused lighting from a series of LED light boxes behind the ceiling would accentuate the Script A logo and illuminate the space below.
To make the ceiling concept a reality, Forty Nine Degrees turned to the design professionals at Armstrong who realized the design intent with a custom perforated METALWORKS Torsion Spring Ceiling System.
While the original concept called for the perforations in all the ceiling panels to be unique, the design team found a way to reduce the cost by commonizing the perforation patterns in the panels that were not part of the Script A logo.
“Of the 194 panels that make up the ceiling, only 65 unique panels were required to make up the logo,” explains Design Manager Dan Holdridge. “The rest of them are four different types of common panels. The perforation patterns in the common panels look random, but they aren’t.”
Concerned that the perforations would not allow enough light to penetrate the space, Forty Nine Degrees considered adding auxiliary light fixtures to the ceiling. “That would have really detracted from the design,” explains Holdridge. “So, we played around with the perforations in the logo to open them up a bit and let more light into the room.”
To demonstrate how much light output the larger perforations would provide, Armstrong created virtual mockups that simulated how bright the room would be with the design. “That really helped them to see how much light they would actually get and that it would be enough to light the space,” says Holdridge..
Pleased with the result, Ranly says the ceiling is a “show stopper” and credited the Armstrong team with making it possible. “They helped us transform our vision into reality,” he says. “Its team of specialists provided solutions that made our concept achievable both in design and function.”