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Wire Mesh Creates a Striking Ceiling That Puts Safety First

September 20, 2021

Between sprinklers, smoke control, HVAC and more, there are many necessary building elements that can get in a designer’s way of creating a beautiful ceiling installation in commercial environments. This was the case for a new prominent corporate office in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the ceiling required a visually pleasing material that would allow for the modern smoke control system to properly function.

Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects utilized Banker Wire’s SZ-4 wire mesh pattern to create a striking ceiling design in the space for its simultaneous decorative, architectural and technical qualities.

Banker Wire
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects made sure to put safety first when it came to creating a striking ceiling installation in this new corporate office. Image courtesy of Tim Hursley

Bridging two separate, glass-clad office spaces linked by a five-story, atrium-like structure, the wire mesh-fabricated ceiling anchors the interior as a key focal point. Similarly, SZ-4’s placement within the organic ceiling shapes nods to the mountainous exterior landscape while adhering to the building’s safety requirements.

In the instance of a fire within the office, once ceiling beam detectors recognize the smoke, the make-up air system is activated and six exhaust fans on the roof work to minimize the fire. To ensure this process happens within 15 seconds—per building standards—while upholding the contemporary design scheme, the team relied on Banker Wire’s versatile but sturdy material. Founded in 1896, Banker Wire has been refining wire mesh in its Wisconsin-based facility for over a century and offers customization in architectural and industrial projects both big and small.

[Related: Custom Tiaras by Banker Wire Shine at Hamel Music Center]

“SZ-4’s 40 percent open area allows for the exhaust to flow through the ceiling plenum while hiding the fan elements—enabling our team to create a contemporary, unexpected design scheme in place of the mechanical grills typically found in this area of a building,” said Patty Opitz, architect for Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects.

Wire Mesh
SZ-4’s 40% open area allows for the exhaust to flow through the ceiling plenum while hiding the fan elements. Image courtesy of Tim Hursley

Created with mixed alloys—stainless steel and brass—SZ-4 uses modern technology to design a unique weave that changes with the perspective of the viewer. A round, brass wire is melded with a flat, stainless steel wire, creating a strong, multi-purpose fabric. The stainless steel and brass finish also add visual warmth, complementing the building’s gold and silver accents while contrasting the ivory shapes that weave between the wire mesh.

“The natural light filtering through the doors, along with the warm down lighting of the ceiling, glints off the stainless steel and brass wire mesh, creating a warm and inviting working environment,” added Opitz. “Overall, the progressive architecture and design of this corporate office headquarters—including the use of unexpected materials, such as architectural wire mesh—exemplifies the prominent company’s rapid national expansion and their design-forward approach.”

From intricate design highlights to large-scale applications, wire mesh is an ideal element for any project, regardless of function or aesthetic.

Read next: The 1920s Come Roaring Back with This Textile Collection

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About the author
Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today.