Lab Company

The Challenge:

One of the world’s leading water treatment companies recently completed a major renovation of its corporate auditorium. Measuring 2,400 square feet and holding 110 occupants, the space is used for everything from customer training to corporate meetings. One of the design goals was to create a space that would reflect the company’s commitment to water and its purification.

The Solution:

To help meet that goal, the design team at Whitney Architects, Oak Brook, IL created a ceiling that features three overlapping curved tiers, each representing a ripple of water flowing from the back of the room to the front. Each of the tiers incorporates a light cove that emits blue LED lighting to further impart the feeling of water.

Initial construction plans called for the coves to be constructed from drywall. However, Guy Ranallo, Vice President of Construction Management for Maman Corporation, the general contractor on the project, notes that because of the radius of each tier, far too much traditional stick-framing construction would be required. “Constructing curved drywall light coves would have been far too time consuming and difficult considering all the framing, taping, sanding, and painting required. It would have also resulted in a great deal of scrap material.”

In place of drywall coves, Ranallo worked in collaboration with the Armstrong Ceiling Solutions team to design custom light coves using Armstrong AXIOM Perimeter Trim. Manufactured from lightweight aluminum, 4" high AXIOM Curved VECTOR trim was used for the front of the cove and 6" high AXIOM Curved Transitions for the rear. To facilitate installation, Armstrong manufactured the cove sections to match each tier’s radius. Each section was then labeled by tier and position in the cove.

Because the cove sections arrived at the jobsite factory-finished and -engineered, Ranallo says his crews were able to install them in half the time as a drywall assembly. “Plus, we were able to install them using only one trade instead of two or three that would have been required for drywall.” This saved construction time, trade scheduling, and reduced labor costs. The coves were attached using grid clips and suspension wires.

Ranallo notes almost all of the ceiling panels in the space are full size. “We wanted to eliminate small sections of cut panels at the intersections with each tier and to maximize panel sizes as much as possible, so we designed a staggered grid layout that allowed us to step back the ceiling panels and create the clean visual we desired.”

Project: Corporate Auditorium

Location: Naperville, IL

Architect: Maman Corporation

Products: AXIOM Perimeter Trim