Cloud-Watching From The Cubicle
An Answer to the Tyranny Of The Gridded Ceiling
The gridded acoustical tile ceiling is standard fare in post-war modernist offices. All environmental controls are consolidated into one coordinated system that promises to hush office chatter, heat and cool the air, and lend work surfaces an even, gentle glow.
In practice, the open office ceiling yields a flat, generic quality of sound, heats the warmest part of the room in the winter, and blows superfluous cold air in the summer to compensate for unnecessarily bright lights. In the name of modular flexibility, the gridded acoustical ceiling is taken for granted and has produced an incredible sameness of light, temperature, and sound- absolute rigidity from absolute flexibility.
As designers address the changing nature of the contemporary workspace, they must expand their field of view to include the ceiling as a malleable surface that can define space and meaningfully shape the acoustical qualities of that space.
We propose a challenge to the accepted model of interior space. This proposal is a provocation, one solution out of many possible solutions to this pressing question. Lighting, heating and cooling, sound attenuation, and seating are all reconsidered.