The clients requested an uplifting sunroom, full of light, enjoyable year-round. The architect desired a fluid presence to soften the rectilinear space. The result: a hand-sculpted, not algorithmically-generated, three-dimensional, curvilinear, translucent, backlit, full-room suspended ceiling.
While daylight enhances the sculptural presence, even illumination across the ceiling was a fundamental nighttime goal. With minimal distance between the sculptural panels and the roof underside, hotspots and dim areas were a major concern and eliminated the option for dispersed perimeter lights or point fixtures. Low-voltage LED tape strips were used to create a large, uniform lighting array. Blending a fuller light spectrum, fixtures alternate between 3100K and 4000K. Wiring halves the room, diving again by color temperature before tying into four dimmers. Although exempt from energy codes, minimal power achieves comfortable illumination while providing client adjustability.
Avoiding shadows by scattering indirect illumination was critical to success. Eschewing opaque formwork, a tab and slot L-panel system was devised, hanging each sculptural piece by two thin suspension wires. The LED array, aimed up, not down, on clear acrylic sheets just above the translucent ceiling, converts the roof’s underside into a massive lightbox dispersing direct rays off its flat white paint, eliminating cast wire shadows, and radiating soft light to the room below.
The architect designed custom bending tables to thermoform 397 uniquely-shaped translucent pieces and, together with the client, the two fabricated and installed the entire ceiling including 128 clear acrylic support panels, 1,200 eyehooks CNC-drilled into 33 plywood parts, 5,000’ of suspension wire, and over 29,000 LED diodes.