The Impact of Ceilings on Space Dynamics

I was recently in the Atlanta airport and as I was recovering from my refreshing sprint from my arrival gate to my departure gate, I noticed the waiting area felt... odd. Quickly I saw that the ceiling was missing, all the fixtures sporting bright flags assuring the passerby they were affixed to the deck regardless. So, while my fellow travelers stared down at their mobile devices, I stared up, tracing the network of cabling, conduit, and piping, and reflecting on the weirdness that the lack of ceiling tile created. With no reflective surface overhead, the space was darker than it should have been, more cavelike. Had the exposed ceiling been done on purpose, with the fixtures arranged to suit, I'm sure the effect would have been industrial chic. But this, project mid-stride, was oddly poetic and dislocating, at least to my eye.

How much thought do you give your ceilings? They're as important as the floor and walls, perhaps more so, influencing the efficiency of the lighting scheme, absorbing noise in the open office, and providing privacy behind closed doors. What's more, they set a tone for the space and options now abound to make subtle, or bold, design statements on the sixth surface. Yet I suspect they might not get the attention they deserve.

Before your next ceiling project, check out this Building Operating Management article for some of the main considerations in selecting a quality ceiling.


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