April 16, 2013

Looking back at looking up

A case study benefits designers because it highlights their firm and their work.

A case study benefits designers because it highlights their firm and their work.

Much to my wife’s dismay, every time we walk into a building, whether it’s a restaurant, hospital or office, I look up.

The reason: For the past 20 years, I’ve handled public relations for the Ceilings Division of Armstrong, the country’s largest manufacturer of acoustical ceiling systems.

If you’re reading this at work, take a look up. Chances are there’s an acoustical or “drop” ceiling above you. Who would have thought someone could write about drop ceilings for 20 years?

Well, the reason I’ve been able to is that drop ceilings don’t have to be flat, white and full of holes anymore. They can have the warmth of wood or the sophistication of metal. They can be concave, convex or even serpentine. And they don’t have to be continuous, wall-to-wall ceilings to provide their acoustical benefit.  There are plenty of ceiling clouds and canopies that can do that just as well.

As a result, architects and interior designers can now create signature ceilings that make people look up as they enter a space. And that’s the basis for one of the most important, and my favorite, aspect of the Armstrong Ceilings program: case studies. 

A case study benefits designers because it highlights their firm and their work. And it benefits Armstrong because it highlights their product and its successful use in an actual application, including a third-party endorsement from the designer.

Architects and interior designers love to see their work published, so it’s usually not difficult to get a designer to agree to an interview. And case studies are usually well read because other architects and interior designers are always interested in what their peers are doing and why.

I’ve probably written close to 200 case studies over the years. My most recent dealt with the use of acoustical ceiling clouds to create a large abstract tree in the ceiling of Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina (see photo).

Unfortunately, it will also be my last since I’m retiring in a month or so. I’ll probably miss working. But you can bet retirement is not going to stop me from looking up.

View case studies at Armstrong.com.

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