The architects behind the reconfiguration of a secondary school in County Durham as an arts college have found an unusual application for the illuminated ceiling coffers manufactured by Ecophon Limited.

The King James I College in Bishop Auckland has been expanded from a straightforward secondary school to create a community college specialising in the arts. As part of this the project team, led by Planarch Design, sought a means of converting a tired reception area into a bright and exciting exhibition space. They achieved it by installing a complete new Ecophon ceiling system featuring three raised, illuminated coffers, each of which acts as a very visible display space for both sculptures and paintings.

The installation of the illuminated coffers together with significant areas of Ecophon Focus D tiles was carried out by RSI from Gateshead, working as the specialist sub-contractor to interiors specialist, Interserve Ltd.

The architect in charge of the project for Planarch, Mr Stephen Citrone, comments: “King James I Community Arts College is run by Durham County Council and as part of the conversion from being just a secondary school they wanted to convert the rather dark and outdated Sixties reception area, with a low ceiling, into a bright and light exhibition space.”

“We did look at what other systems were available but there was nothing else that matched the Ecophon coffers. It was the perfect system to achieve the visual impact we were looking for and did everything we wanted in terms of creating the right light and space. Ecophon was also very helpful in the design process and in supporting the school afterwards.”

“The space is roughly 20 metres by 20 with the three rectangular coffers sitting between the structural grid of the building. Lightweight pieces of art and shapes can be suspended from the Focus D ceiling or from the curved profiles of the coffers.”

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