By packaging both aesthetics and acoustics in an undulating ceiling, Atlantic Packaging, Charlotte, North Carolina, has added visual impact and sound absorption to its newly remodeled Packaging Solution Center and Customer Experience Center while maintaining the look of the existing exposed structure.
The company opened the 4645-m2 (50,000-sf) Solution Center to help its customers develop the optimal packaging to protect their products. It is the first-of-its-kind in the industry to offer this type of help to its customers.
According to architect Tom Duzan of Redline Design Group in Charlotte, aesthetics, acoustics, and imagery were the primary drivers behind the interior design of the facility.
“The existing space had a bare-bones industrial warehouse look including a dark, 7-m (24-ft) high, exposed precast concrete deck,” he said. “Because of its new function, we wanted the space to be cleaner, brighter, and better reflect the modern nature of their business. A traditional acoustical tile ceiling was an option, but we also wanted to keep the open look.”
3D curved metal ceiling system
The design team selected 3D curved metal ceiling panels that add dramatic visual impact to a space through the creation of hills, valleys, and wave configurations. Especially well-suited for use in exposed structures, the panels at Atlantic Packaging are white, 0.6 x 1.5 m (2 x 5 ft) in size, and installed in runs of 15 m (50 ft) each.
To impart even more visual interest, each run features a pair of undulating ribbons of the serpentine panels installed parallel to each other and offset by half an arc. Duzan explains that Atlantic Packaging’s initial product line was large flowing rolls of per. “The long, undulating ceiling ribbons represent that portion of their history,” he said.
Acoustics an important consideration
The facility also functions as a Customer Experience Center where the company can demonstrate different types of packaging lines as well as testing equipment that simulates how to safely and efficiently package products for transport with minimal cost and loss. To implement this portion of the center’s function, the company conducts tours of the facility.
“Customers must be able to hear and understand the guide, so acoustics was an important consideration,” Duzan said. “In addition, the machinery can get loud, making it even more essential to control reverberation in the space.”
To obtain the desired acoustic performance, the panels are perforated and backed with a white acoustical fleece. This results in a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of 0.77, indicating the panels absorb 77 percent of the sound striking them.
“Even though it is a manufacturing type of environment, we wanted to do something special,” Duzan states, “and the ability of the ceiling panels to address both acoustics and aesthetics went a long way toward reaching that goal.”
Much lower mezzanine ceiling height
Duzan said acoustics were also a key consideration in a 929-m2 (10,000-sf) mezzanine that overlooks the main floor. The elevated level provides customers with a viewing gallery where they can peruse the space below. It also houses a conference room and an open space where the company conducts ‘Stretch University,’ a comprehensive program designed to make customers more knowledgeable about their own stretch wrapping processes.
The architect notes, because the mezzanine is elevated, the ceiling height is much lower than that of the manufacturing floor, resulting in different design concerns.
“We wanted to maintain the exposed structure look, but the serpentine panels were not going to be viable here because of the lower height and the number of light fixtures in the ceiling,” he said. “Because of the nature of the functions conducted on the mezzanine, we also felt we needed to increase the NRC of the ceilings panels to obtain even more sound absorption and reverberation control.”
Maintained exposed structure design
To attain the aesthetics and acoustical performance they wanted in the mezzanine, the design team chose high performance ceiling panels that provide excellent sound absorption while maintaining the look and feel of an exposed structure design.
At Atlantic Packaging, the panels are white and installed in a variety of sizes directly to the deck in between the precast beams.
“This allowed us to maximize ceiling height and still keep the open look,” Duzan said. “In addition, the panels have a very high NRC of 0.90 which means sound essentially gets trapped up there and provides us with the acoustic environment we desired along with the look we desired.”