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Ceiling as Site

An exercise in understanding that everything is an opportunity for intervention, including those suspended tile ceilings. Look up!

Tell me more: Given a great new studio and shop space, but one with a generic suspended tile ceiling, we challenged our students to consider the ceiling as a site for intervention. Dividing into groups based on the words Studio H / Design / Build / Transform, students mapped out text designs on the ceiling tiles, painted them, and reinstalled the tiles, transforming the space into one that urges us to be curious in all dimensions.

Classroom applications: We began our own ceiling intervention with a lecture about text graphics. In groups, students collaborated on the layout, orientation and design of the letters. After choosing a letter, students projected its outline onto a ceiling tile and used tape to mask off the area of the title not to be painted.

But what if the ceilings are impossibly high, or you aren’t fortunate enough to have ceiling tiles at all? The ceiling is just a metaphor for those spaces that we instinctively believe are off-limits or dead zones but in fact are just waiting for some creative intervention. Consider the spaces and objects in classrooms that are typically underutilized: What if the hall pass was a rubber chicken? What if the underside of the classroom tables were painted with secret messages? What if the floor tiles were covered in whiteboard paint? Can the windows be manipulated with objects that will cast interesting shadows? Is there an opportunity for the trash bin to feel less like something to avoid, and instead something to study? Nothing is off limits!

Go further:

  • See The Fun Theory for ideas about bringing creativity to ordinary spaces.