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Design Inspiration

Acoustic Ceiling Clouds: Considerations and Design Ideas

July 16, 2020
Acoustic Clouds | Arktura-SoundStar-Red-

Office design and commercial spaces have been changing rapidly over the last several years. More and more companies are gravitating toward the idea of wide open, shared spaces where employees and guests have more flexibility in how they’ll spend their time. Unfortunately, those open shared spaces often become acoustical nightmares for anyone trying to converse or concentrate with so many people nearby.

That’s why acoustic ceiling clouds have become so popular; they help absorb sound and control the acoustics in open or noisy spaces, while also visually enhancing the areas at the same time. Strategically placed acoustic ceiling clouds can have a big impact on how well a space is able to function while improving visual ambiance as well.

What Are Acoustic Ceiling Clouds?

Acoustic Ceiling Clouds | Arktura SoundStar
“One Medical Lobby” Chicago, IL, Callison RTKL – SEA, Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Acoustic clouds are made up of ceiling panels and designs meant to help absorb sound and provide better acoustics for an area. They can completely cover the ceiling of a room or be strategically placed in areas that need better sound control. 

Rather than a solid ceiling covered in acoustic material or old-fashioned drop ceiling tiles, acoustic sound clouds are made with stylish lines and designs that help create unique looks and eye-catching details on the ceiling. The cloud materials are usually suspended from the ceiling and can be evenly distributed or clustered as needed to meet the needs of each specific space.

Designing Your Ideal Ceiling Cloud

cloud ceiling panels SoundStar® faceted, acoustical system installed in office.
“Modern Workspace” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Every space is different in terms of its style, size, and specific use. Therefore, ceiling clouds are not a one-size-fits-all type of product. The space itself should be looked at in terms of both the way that it looks and how people use it when designing the cloud plan.

Areas where people are more likely to be carrying on numerous conversations, such as a shared office space, may need more acoustic cloud ceiling panels to help control the sound, for example. Or, alcoves, where people may be concentrating or need a silent area for study, may do well with a concentrated area of sound-absorbing acoustic paneling just above.

The way that the room looks is also a big consideration. Industrial spaces with high ceilings need more acoustic control, but the style of the existing ceiling should not be overlooked as it’s part of the room’s design. By using suspended acoustic ceiling cloud panels in distinctive shapes and designated areas, you can allow the original ceiling to remain visible while controlling for sound as well. 

For rooms that have lower ceilings, but still need sound control, you may wish to use flatter or thinner panel designs in those areas to get the acoustic control without lowering the ceiling too far. 

9 Design Ideas for Acoustic Sound Clouds

Acoustic sound clouds come in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles, all of which can be used to create the atmosphere you need in your commercial space or building. If you’re wondering what types of material or styles may be available and how they may look in different settings, take a look at these 9 design ideas: 

1. Strategic Placement

ceiling clouds
“Optiv” Denver, CO, IA Interior Architects – DEN, Featuring: SoundStar® by Arktura

These SoundStar panels are placed right where people are likely to be gathering and conversing. They help block and control sound from the staircase nearby and still allow the original ceiling to be seen, complementing the interior of the room. 

2. Complete Coverage

Arktura SoundStar
“Cozy Breakroom” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

This room can hold a lot of people at one time, and the different placements of tables and chairs may mean a lot of different conversations happening within a relatively small space. The SoundStar ceiling cloud gives complete coverage of the room, so no matter where you’re seated, you’ll get better acoustic control.

3. Minimal Appearance

acoustic ceiling clouds Arktura SoundStar
“Bright Salon” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Comfort and quiet are key to the design of this space, as is good lighting. By lowering the lights down further than the acoustic cloud, the cloud panels themselves become a subtle part of the ceiling background, rather than a focus on the design. The result is fresh, modern and very functional which is what this area requires. 

4. Suspended Shapes

acoustic ceiling cloud SoundStar faceted acoustical system installed in JP Morgan Chase Corporate Center's office.
“Secluded Meeting Area” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

This sound cloud truly lives up to its name, clustered in groups of various sizes across the ceiling, reminiscent of clouds in the sky. The placement is ideal for the seating areas, while the suspension of the system makes for an airy atmosphere and aesthetic.

5. Bold Statement

acoustic ceiling cloud panels Arktura-SoundStar-Red-
“Close Up” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Sound clouds can come in many shapes, sizes and colors. This bold red system makes an eye-catching statement on the ceiling.

“Introducing bold, contrasting colors into ceiling clouds creates focal points that draw the eye and invigorate the environment. These vivid hues not only enhance the aesthetic dimension but also delineate different zones within a room, guiding movement and influencing mood,” says Betty, color expert at Your Paint Advisor.

And the clouds can be altered on-site, so the fire suppression sprinkler heads can come right through the panels, allowing for ideal placement without sacrificing other functions.

6. Center Clusters

Arktura SoundStar acoustic ceiling clouds
“Bright Office” Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Most of the acoustics needed in this space are centered toward the middle of the room. The groupings from the ceiling cloud help to put the placement right where it’s needed. By putting them right against the ceiling, rather than suspending them, it makes a more subtle statement and doesn’t detract from the high ceiling that provides drama to the space.

7. Stairwell Acoustics

“One Medical Lobby” Chicago, IL, Callison RTKL – SEA, Featuring: SoundStar by Arktura

Stairwells and spaces with high ceilings are often echo chambers that make it difficult to hear conversations nearby. These acoustic ceiling clouds are positioned right where the most control is needed, so there’s no need for raised voices.

8. Long Clean Lines

Arktura SoftGrid
“Brentwood Library” Brentwood, CA, Mark Davis – Architect, Featuring: SoftGrid – Round by Arktura

Sometimes large clusters of paneling aren’t the right fit for a space. That’s why acoustic ceiling clouds can be designed in so many different ways. These soft, open circles, reminiscent of the round tables and chairs, are made up of many clean lines that mimic the rows and shelves of books below, making it an ideal place for quiet readers.

9. Subtle Ceiling Design

SoftGrid® Round installed above office.
“White Workspace” Featuring: SoftGrid® Round by Arktura

The high ceilings in this large room call out for acoustic control for the people working and studying below. However, the minimalist architecture of the room doesn’t call for anything bold to be positioned overhead, making these soft circles the ideal complement to the design, adding much needed acoustic control at the same time.

Get Better Acoustics With a Ceiling Cloud

Ceiling clouds can be found in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and they can be customized to fit your ideal needs. Gain better control of your acoustics with a ceiling cloud and take your commercial space design to the next level. 

Get additional design assistance from Arktura when creating the perfect acoustic ceiling clouds for your space.

Office Ceiling Panels | Trace® Slant with Soft Sound® backers and Arktura's InLine Integrated Lighting installed in office.
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