Studio Jesse James was brought on to design / build a reclaimed wood "wave" ceiling that connected two different parts of a creative office, and we had two weeks to pull it off.
First order of business, visit the space. The current construction zone was well underway, but a lot of elements were missing to get proper measurements. As time was ticking down, SJJ went about preparing other elements to gear up for the install.
One of the most important steps was to layout the future slats in CAD to find out what our kit of parts was going to be, and ultimately create our wave pattern, this was being mitigated by the existing site conditions (mainly the lowest portion of the HVAC equipment and the height of the future doors).
The next course of action was to order the wood. The architect gave us the wood samples from North Cal Wood Products, and after tallying up the total amount of slats, an order was sent off.
When the wood arrived, we spent a day shifting through the pieces. As with most reclaimed pieces, even with 10% overage built in, you end up with varying degrees of defects throughout the boards.
The boards that were rejected were either too broken, or had their aging patina planed off back to the natural wood color, making them too bright of an orange to hang with the other grayish boards. A valuable lesson we learned with using reclaimed wood, is that you never know what you are going to get if you have no time to visit the site to handpick the pieces you want.
We then had to get the ribs cut, these were the pieces that would ultimately hold the slats into place, and help create the motion of the wave. Once these were cut, we had to paint them black. This would help them visually recede into the background, allowing the reclaimed slats to be the prominent feature.
We then had to suspend them in the space per the plan we had drawn. This was a critical step as the ribs would dictate the flow of the reclaimed slats, and if these were off, then installing the slats would be next to impossible (or at least very very time consuming). A good base always leads to good results. Another important thing to note, we had to make sure that our ceiling acted accordingly when it came to earthquake resistance. Which was achieved by using metal struts, along with a suspended cable system, to hold it in place so that the ceiling wouldn't "bounce up" during an earthquake, but still be flexible enough to move where it needed to (this is sometimes coined as a "chandelier" ceiling.)
Next we had to cut the slatted pieces down to fit in the space, now that construction had moved forward by installing the drywall, we could begin with measuring out the distance between the walls, and cutting the boards down to fit in their zones. Of course, when it comes to construction, you have to roll with unforeseen site conditions, and our first night had no power in the space, except for one lone plug in the hallway. This made for a cozy work area, around a shared plug.
Once the ribs were installed, and the boards cut down, we had to wait until the lights were installed. We made sure our ribs accounted for the height and width of the linear light fixtures that were specced by the client.
Finally, we were ready to go with the slat installation, and we had three days left before we had to finalize our work, in order for the installation of the finish materials to commence with the contractor (e.g. flooring, etc). Time was ticking and the fastest way we were going to do this was to create an assembly line of boards.
One of the most important elements was the fasteners. The ceiling had to remain accessible, due to future maintenance for both the light fixtures and the HVAC equipment above, and the best (and fastest) way to achieve this, was to make each slat accessible with it's own set of fasteners.
Once we got a rhythem going, we managed to rock out the first half within the first night. 42 Boards, done and done.
The second night took a little bit longer, due to the intricate nature of zones.
But we did it, and finished the entire space within the given time. 114 boards installed. Phew.
And of course when the final finishes went in, we were pretty stoked to see it all come together. Way to go Studio Jesse James team.