What’s old is new and hip again. Reviving a classic trend in workplace design.
For many decades the industrial architectural style featuring high open ceilings with exposed pipes, electrical wiring, lighting fixtures, and ventilation was extremely popular in large commercial offices, warehouses, and factories. Then along came the Information Age with its’ miles of data and communications cables crisscrossing the ceiling and there was a shift to decorative dropped ceilings to keep them out of sight. Now the pendulum has swung back.
Today, the industrial-style office aesthetic is making a comeback. Not that it ever really was a “style” when originally conceived in the mid-20th century. It was simply the fastest, cheapest way to build a commercial structure. Fifty years or more later, the unfinished look is now viewed in retrospect as an architectural movement, a bold statement in design using a minimalist approach.
You’ll find open ceilings in corporate offices, restaurants, large retail and wholesale stores, museums, and loft-style apartments converted from historic buildings. Only now they are being designed to be more visually attractive and part of the building aesthetic, not just to cut corners by leaving ductwork exposed.
High tech companies, architectural firms, art studios, and start-ups are using the open ceiling concept to make a statement about workplace culture. But there is also a functional motivation: simplifying the cabling of large spaces for modern networking and automation needs. In addition to lighting, fire suppression systems, and HVAC ductwork, engineers must now account for structured cable pathways as part of the open ceiling concept.
Advantages of Open Ceilings
Open ceilings allow for a contrast between vintage and modern elements of building infrastructure. By properly designing the cable pathways and meticulously dressing cables in the trays, engineers can transform what was once an unsightly mess into an architectural highlight that attracts attention in a positive way.
The cable trays can be finished to blend with, accent, or stand out from other parts of overhead infrastructure so that the pathways match the statement the builder or landlord wants to make. Even the cables themselves can be color coordinated with building design.
Besides aesthetics there are a number of functional advantages to the open ceiling concept and leaving cable trays exposed:
- Easy access to cables for loading and future changes, additions, and moves
- End-to-end cable visibility for easier inspection and repairs
- Eliminates the time, labor, and cost associated with installed dropped ceiling tiles
- Simplifies navigation around lighting, ductwork, and pipes
- Snake Tray and Mega Snake can be used to hang other assets such as cameras, occupancy sensors, wireless access points, and light fixtures
- Allows for the modernization of older buildings constructed without space reserved for structured cable pathways
Snake Tray Cable Trays Look as Good as They Perform
Snake Tray offers a number of cable management solutions well suited to the open ceiling concept.
The 801 Series Mega Snake and 653 Series Aluminum Cable Trays are lightweight, high-capacity solutions for structured cable pathways. The cables can be left exposed from the underside, or liners can be placed into the trays to conceal the cables.
Our hand-bendable cable trays like the 454 Series Universal Snake Tray, the 501 Series, and 201 Series are best for making more creative architectural statements with serpentine twists and turns. They easily navigate around existing elements of ceiling infrastructure without additional tools or accessories. Built in mounting rings eliminate the need for support struts and trapezes for a cleaner look.
Further, all Snake Tray cable trays are available in a number of finishes to match any décor.
Choose pre-galvanized for a true industrial look, or stainless steel if the trays are to be exposed to corrosive conditions. Or pick any color in the rainbow. Snake Tray can powder coat cable trays in any color you choose in our state-of-the-art facility. Make the trays blend in with the background, match a wall color, or make them stand out.
Larger facilities with multiple separate pathways can use different colors to identify the cables in each tray, for example using blue pathways to carry data cables, yellow for high voltage power lines, and red for critical or emergency services.
Taking advantage of the open ceiling concept for your next architectural project? Snake Tray has the cable management solutions that can be made to seem almost invisible or create a bold and edgy colorful architectural statement. Visit www.snaketray.com to learn more.