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Club Nokia, Los Angeles

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Located in Los Angeles, Club Nokia is the center of the L.A. LIVE! entertainment complex and occupies the three upper floors of a five-story mixed-use building. The 59,000-square-foot venue creates an intimate and popular entertainment experience with a 30- by 40-foot stage, a 2,300 capacity reception space, and a dynamic design courtesy of architect, Gensler.

Because the facility houses a number of different types of spaces, one of the goals was to link them together spatially. The ceiling thus became one of the central design elements because it offered one continuous surface that could help achieve that goal. As a result, Ceiling Concepts Inc. installed 8,000 square feet of Armstrong MetalWorks RH215 Custom Ceiling Panels. The ceiling system offers a cost-effective solution for curved visuals by using flat panels faceted onto a curved grid.

The metal ceiling system had to fit within and match the atmosphere of Club Nokia. The ceiling features an extensive flat section plus a vaulted barrel-shaped section that rises 20 feet above the floor to allow patrons on a nearby balcony to view the dance floor below. Additionally, Club Nokia features catering by Wolfgang Puck. With the number of food preparation areas, the ceiling panels are butted against each other and unperforated to comply with FDA standards.

Ceiling panels in all other areas have gaps between them, and are perforated and backed with a black acoustical fleece for sound control. The perforations are 1.5-mm in diameter, resulting in a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.65, meaning the metal ceiling panels absorb 65 percent of the sound that strikes them. The gaps are there as Gensler did not want to create a completely monolithic design and by using different panel sizes, a smooth ceiling pattern was created. Meanwhile, lights, sprinklers and other ceiling apparatuses were installed between the panels rather than within the panels themselves.

The installers faced a number of challenges, as Andy Ulrich of Ceiling Concepts notes, specifically the number of differently sized panels, which range from 1 by 2 feet to 2 by 5 feet. "Each metal panel had to be hung individually," he says. "An installer couldn't simply take any panel and attach it."

Another challenge was laying out the grid system. "This was a very intricate and important part of the job because this ceiling usually doesn't have the spacing between the panels that we had here and doesn't use as many different sized panels," explains Ulrich. "From our point of view, we considered the ceiling an engineering marvel."

Architect: Gensler, Santa Monica, Calif.

Installer: Ceiling Concepts Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.

Metal ceiling panels: Armstrong Ceilings, Lancaster, Pa., www.armstrong.com