A custom stainless steel metal fabric ceiling system from Cambridge Architectural smartly drapes between lighting fixtures, creating a clean and modern overhead surface for the newly renovated Louisiana State University (LSU) Student Union Theater lobby in Baton Rouge, LA.
Originally constructed in 1965, the LSU Student Union Theater remains the largest theater venue on campus. In 2004, renovation began on the facility to redesign the performance space for better acoustics, and to redesign the building’s lobby to be larger and more welcoming for guests. Today, the renovations are complete and the theater boasts a new look and the premiere season of a new series, titled “Union Theater Presents.”
Metal fabric became a preferred material for the LSU Student Union Theater project due to its unmatched visual and functional capabilities. The mesh brightened up the formerly dark space and the delicate nature of the fabric assured that the draped ceiling would be comforting, not oppressive.
A Cambridge LandscapeInteriors™ architectural mesh ceiling system was custom installed inside the new foyer to elegantly cloak the space above visitors, contributing to a contemporary and pleasant lobby area.
“We did some research, and really liked the idea of using metal fabric,” says Keith Steger, Principal of HMS Architects, the architect of record for the theater’s design. “After looking at a number of sources of the material, we chose to include Cambridge in the specifications because their product aesthetically worked well and met our technical requirements.”
The new LandscapeInteriors ceiling system inside the LSU Student Union Theater, like all Cambridge systems of its kind, also expertly hides structural elements like ductwork, plumbing and wiring, blending its beauty with important functional characteristics.
“This is another first-of-its-kind project, where we started from scratch and, together with the architect, built something unique with our material,” says Erica Wright, LandscapeInteriors Sales Manager for Cambridge Architectural. “The result, we think, is a beautiful draping effect with metal that we’re proud to say has never been done before.”
Cambridge’s design-build approach and support throughout the project helped to make the draped ceiling system concept and implementation successful.
“Cambridge developed shop drawings, provided installation details and worked with us to answer all of our questions,” says Keith Steger. “Eventually, they provided us with a full-size mock-up which showed exactly how to install the system, and in the end it came out really well.”
The LSU Student Union Theater ceiling system was created with mesh in Cambridge’s Slink pattern, which features flexible, open weaves that resemble chain mail and can be installed as window treatments, virtual space dividers or as dynamic design elements with track hardware.
A Cambridge custom ceiling attachment system was used to install the Slink pattern. It uses a combination of Cambridge’s Eclipse™ tension attachment hardware and additional steel components to anchor the mesh panels at an angle for draping – a first for architectural mesh.
“Cambridge was very helpful in assessing the lobby area, determining the best structural attachment method, and ensuring that the design team had all information necessary to create an appropriate point of attachment, both structurally and aesthetically,” says Baker Brooks, Project Manager for Buquet & LeBlanc, Inc., general contractor of the project.
Construction on the LSU Student Union Theater was completed in August 2008. The project team included architect of record for theater design HMS Architects, New Orleans, LA, theater consultant Grace & Hebert Architects, Baton Rouge, LA and general contractor Buquet & LeBlanc, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA.
One of the primary functions of LandscapeInteriors metal fabric applications is to dramatically define and separate space, while additionally providing visibility, light and air flow. In addition to LandscapeInteriors, Cambridge offers a variety of additional architectural metal fabric systems, and is available for assistance throughout the design-build process.