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Fabric ceiling helps megamall keep up appearances

Fabric Structures, Projects | November 1, 2012 | By:

Mall of America® in Bloomington, Minn., hosts more than 400 events each year, and the ceiling in its frequently used east rotunda wasn’t keeping up appearances. Design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates Inc. developed several concepts that incorporated tensioned fabric and illumination, including the final design, a six-ringed sloped ceiling construction with subtle lighting and great visibility from all four levels of the megamall.

The 5,200-square-foot ceiling, fabricated by Eventscape Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, began as a full-size scaled mock-up, followed by construction of the ring structures. The printable textile panels that cover the overlapping rings were created in white (for the innermost and outside rings) and gradients of grey for the middle rings, giving the entire construction a three-dimensional appearance. The 85-foot-high atrium and the mall’s almost continual use posed a challenge for ceiling construction. Eventscape staff worked after hours with a mobile lift, installed hang points, cables and custom lighting, then slowly lifted each ring into place. The tilting, vortex-like ceiling circles provide a striking cover for the popular atrium space, at a cost substantially less than a drywall ceiling, construction that would have interfered with ongoing public events for months.

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