A mobile, engaged, and highly motivated workforce is essential to the success of innovative technology firms. As a result, their office environments have become increasingly open and flexible to foster collaboration and socialization, while also enabling them to promote brand identity and retain and attract talent. 

When NN Inc., a diversified industrial business, decided to relocate its headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., the company desired an engaging and energetic workplace that balanced the need for private offices with the aesthetics and flexibility required by the modern workforce. The resulting mid-century modern design was based on an extensive workplace analysis and a visioning process conducted by IA Interior Architects (IA) with the NN Inc. management team.

Within the 60,000-square-foot, multi-level headquarters are several areas that allow for alternative work settings, group meetings, or taking a break for a quick game of ping-pong. Notable and unique spaces include a strategy room, huddle areas, conference rooms, cafes, fitness center, auditorium, and product innovation center. The new corporate offices also incorporate various spaces with high-end finishes and architectural detailing, such as the executive lounge that features a putting green and a stunning 620-square-foot ceiling that is an immediate show stopper upon entry.  


Custom Ceiling Design

To create a visual focus to the exposed structure in the executive lounge space, IA modelled an upscale linear ceiling design using virtual reality and the NN Inc. leadership team approved the concept.

“While our team had a clear vision of what the ceiling should look like, we needed the support of a manufacturer to help bring the design concept to life on a fast-track schedule,” says IA associate designer Lacey Johnson. “To that end, we engaged the You Inspire Solutions Center at Armstrong Ceilings and requested their assistance in creating and building the unique ceiling.” The center is a free service that Armstrong Ceiling Solutions offers to architects, designers, and contractors to help turn one-of-a-kind ceiling concepts into reality.

After reviewing the architect’s virtual reality video, image renderings, and plan, the design team at the You Inspire Solutions Center met with the IA project team and quickly followed up with three different custom-ceiling options for creating and capturing the architect’s design intent in a new and unique way.

The creative ceiling solution that was selected for the executive lounge space utilized MetalWorks Blades – Classics panels with an Effects Walnut Wood Looks finish. These custom-made metal panels were precisely cut at the angles required to make triangular modules in the ceiling grid.    


Installation Goes Smoothly

Preplanning and ongoing coordination between the ceiling installation contractor—Acousti Engineering Company of Florida—and other trade professionals were of paramount importance to the success of this project.

The process started with the contractor laying out the specialty ceiling on the floor and hanging the suspension wires from the joists. The architect next determined the layout of the light fixtures within the triangular ceiling modules, and the electrician aligned all the electrical systems in the plenum. Other contractors then worked around the ceiling suspension wires to install HVAC ducts, sprinkler systems, and other building service mechanical components. The entire plenum was then painted black to obscure and blend everything in. 

Relying on a pre-painted black grid suspension system supplied by Armstrong Ceilings, the Acousti team installed the specialty ceiling at a height of 9-1/2 feet above the floor. The 1-inch-wide by 6-inch-high crisscross vertical panels were installed from the inside of the space working outward, attached to the straight beams with clips, and then screwed into the grid. The length of vertical panels varied depending on the location within the geometric ceiling grid.

Working on a tight deadline, Acousti completed the ceiling installation within two weeks. “The entire installation went very smoothly due to the kit of parts, detailed record set, and excellent shop drawings provided by Armstrong Ceilings,” says Acousti project manager Randall Stockley. “The unique ceiling design had an unusual layout, but all the pre-engineered components went together like a puzzle within two weeks—as all the parts were precisely cut, prelabeled, and numbered.”


Dramatic Visual Statement

The successful design and installation of the unique custom ceiling—on time and under budget—exemplifies the power of teamwork among designers, engineers, product representatives, and highly skilled contactors. Its engaging look makes a dramatic visual impact in the tailored space and leaves a memorable impression for all who visit the lounge.

The NN Inc. executive lounge project won Gold in the East Region Office (less than 50,000 square feet) category of the 2019 Construction Excellence Award competition of CISCA. “The wood-look feature ceiling in our executive lounge really stands out, and we couldn’t be happier with how everything came together,” says NN Inc. special projects manager Karl Houdeschell. W&C