New fully-concealed edge to Ultima+ mineral tile range combines form with function.

To meet the growing trend for monolithic ceilings as well as sustainable interior solutions, Armstrong Ceilings has enhanced its popular Ultima+ range with a new fully-concealed ceiling system solution.

Called Finesse, the fully-concealed, fully-painted edge detail combines the uniform visual popular in contemporary design with the key benefits of suspended ceilings.

Its sleek monolithic visual has been designed to appeal to architects and interior designers while its ease of accessibility for maintenance will be equally attractive to building managers. This is complemented by ease of installation for contractors who can pre-define accessible tiles when planning the installation.

Available in 600mm x 600mm and 1200mm x 600mm modules, the tiles can be installed in standard and staggered layouts. Ultima+ Finesse ceilings feature all the advantages of the Ultima+ system but with no visible grid.

The Ultima+ range offers acoustic and aesthetic advantages such as its Class C sound absorption performance, ISO 5 Clean Room Classification, and a bright-white finely-textured surface. This surface finish not only provides high light-reflectance but also excellent cleanability, scratch-resistance and a longer life.

Manufactured with up to 36% recycled content, it is also 95% humidity resistant and the tiles’ 87% light reflectance helps achieve 16% cost savings compared with indirect lighting. These factors help to make the Ultima+ Finesse edge detail particularly suitable for open and closed-plan spaces such as lobbies, reception areas and corridors in offices, healthcare and education establishments, and retail outlets.

With Ultima+ Finesse, specifiers can now choose healthy materials for their next interior project as both the tile and grid are Cradle to Cradle™ certified. The Ultima+ range is also fully recyclable and can be re-used continuously, helping architects and interior designers meet sustainable targets.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website


The refurbishment of a ward at Bristol children’s hospital includes printed ceilings.

Hospital stays for children striving against cancer in the Bristol area are now more positive and stimulating, thanks to Armstrong Ceiling Solutions and its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine, a charity that brightens the lives of recovering children by granting their wishes and providing support in hospitals.

A refurbishment of the oncology day beds unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, part of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, includes acoustic ceilings featuring sky scenes and shoals of fish to reflect its new name as the Ocean Unit.

The ceiling systems donated by Armstrong, totalling almost 300m2, were installed for free as a part of a ward wish by specialist sub-contractor H + L ceilings- a member of Armstrong’s approved national network of Omega contractors.

The BioGuard ceiling tiles that feature anti-bacterial benefits for healthcare environments were finished with a coating of sky scenes in the recovery bay for older children, a school of fish swimming down a river in the reception/waiting area corridor, and a shoal of fish in a small treatment room.

They were installed by a team of three from H + L over two weekends, with the old tiles from the 10-bed ward being sent to Armstrong’s factory in Gateshead for recycling and the company’s streamlined TLS grid, which is up to 20% faster to install, replacing the existing suspension system.

Around 35% of the total tiles were white and screen-printed which Armstrong supplied with a number on the back so H+L could follow appropriate layout guidelines.

Armstrong became involved in the project after its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine identified the refurbishment of the ward, which had not been updated for 15 years, under its Hospital Ward Wish programme.

This works to, among other elements, decorate treatment rooms to transform sterile spaces into stimulating environments which provide a distraction and enable children to respond better to treatment.

The refurbishment of the Ocean Unit, which has two six-bed bays and four single rooms as well as four consulting rooms, and looks after all oncology, haematology and bone marrow transplant children up to 19 years, also included new wall art and furniture.

H+L director Darren Hopkins said: “When Armstrong asked us to install the project we were more than happy to get involved. It was treated like any other job but the installation team volunteered themselves for the weekend work.”

And of the tile numbering system he added: “We have never had to work that way before but it was pretty easy to install by following the instructions Armstrong gave us.”

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, said: “A very big thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. The ceiling makeover will make such a massive difference to the children visiting the ward for treatment. It will make their time there so much more bearable and will put lots of smiles on lots of faces.”

Jane Thomas, donations co-ordinator for the children’s services division of University Hospitals Bristol, thanked Armstrong for their support in “transforming” the ceilings for the patients and their families.

She said: “The work completed by Armstrong Ceilings has made the area a brighter but still calm place for the children to be in, with the fish gently swimming through. Especially popular is the large bay under the tropical picture where the children can recover following treatment.”

Isabel Blanco, Armstrong’s marketing communications manager, said: “Our latest exercise for Rays of Sunshine was particularly rewarding as it was easy to see the difference the bright, fun ceilings made to the children.”

BioGuard tiles are cleanable and perform to Sound Absorption Class C and Clean Room Classification ISO 5. They are also 85% light reflecting and 95% humidity resistant and manufactured from 42% recycled content.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

Black metal ceilings are a key feature of HSBC UK’s new headquarters.

Armstrong Ceiling Solutions were specified for key features in a next-generation UK headquarters building because they are the architect’s trusted brand capable of supplying a complete system.

Armstrong’s B-L302 jet black custom-mesh metal planks were complemented by the manufacturer’s Bandraster grid and Axiom blind box on levels 1 and 2 of the “university” reception, marketplace (canteen) and break-out areas for HSBC UK’s new headquarters at 1 Centenary Square at Arena Central in central Birmingham.

They were selected by regular Armstrong users TP Bennett architects who, while referring to the client’s design guidelines, wanted at the same time to innovate to create a new kind of headquarters for HSBC UK to focus on retail banking and training for 2,500 people.


Located on nine acres of a key regeneration area for the city and the former home of Carlton TV, the 11-storey, 210,000ft2 building with three basement levels is constructed of steel frame with rainscreen cladding and houses offices, the HSBC university, a staff gym, restaurant and café, and an executive suite with catering.

Extensive landscaping and external public realm works help to create a new “urban meadow” and public square at what is now known as Bank Court for developers ACDL – a joint venture between Miller Developments and Pro Vinci Asset Management.

The Armstrong systems form the main feature ceiling in the university reception area and the key break-out and collaboration areas and comprise 283m2 of 1210mm x 687mm metal planks with 71% open mesh area along with 193 metres of 100mm Bandraster unslotted exposed suspension grid and 272 metres of 100mm Axiom Blind Box transitions, both also in jet black (RAL 9005).

TP Bennett associate director and interior designer Francesco Tidona said: “We specified the Armstrong systems because they are a trustworthy company who are able to provide a full system which is convenient as it includes the mesh tiles and the supporting structure as well the proprietary Blind Boxes which we integrated with linear luminaires.”

They were installed for main contractor GallifordTry over two months by a team of 10 from specialist sub-contractor Taylor Hart, a member of Armstrong’s national network of approved Omega installers.

Managing director Phil Lewis said: “The Armstrong products were excellent, incorporating a Blind Box to allow M&E to install lights into the system in place of the Bandraster grid in various areas. The system was easily built and the colour march was of a high quality for each of the components.”

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

Photos: Jack Hobhouse

Refurb of Radio House is set to send potential tenants Ga Ga.

Ceiling systems from Armstrong were specified for the £7 million high-spec refurbishment of a landmark Cambridge building for their cost effectiveness and functionality.

The striking wall-to-wall ceiling solutions featuring in the makeover of Radio House, which is renowned for its wave-form barrel-vaulted roof, allow for flawless transitions between varying ceiling materials, including Armstrong’s demountable metal MicroLook 8 1200mm x 300mm rectangular panels and plasterboard margins, to provide a streamlined visual which is versatile and exceptionally functional.

On the ground floor and part of the first floor, Armstrong’s Drywall Grid System (DGS) was pre-configured to the required shape to form a sloping bulkhead around the perimeter which allowed for safer installation and a reduced working height in these offices.

The sloped bulkhead was joined to the metal area with Axiom transitions, creating a seamless finish. The recyclable white metal lay-in planks were extra micro-perforated and backed with a black acoustic fleece to perform acoustically to sound absorption performance 0.70 aw and sound attenuation performance 31db and were installed using a Prelude 15mm XL2 grid.

Using Armstrong’s DGS system to lay out the openings for lighting, air grilles and plasterboard margins allowed for faster and accurate boarding and meant no cutting out was needed post-installation.

The ceiling systems were specified by Aukett Swanke architects whose brief was to refurbish the building internally and externally to bring the internal layout and services up to modern standards, to celebrate and enhance the positive aspects of the building envelope, and to improve the areas of the existing envelope which were no longer fit for purpose.

Radio House now offers approximately 7,452ft2 to 43,382ft2 of BREEAM “Excellent” Grade A office space in a self-contained building situated in the Chesterton Conservation Area between the city centre and the northern fringe business parks. It was vacated by the critical communications company Sepura who moved their headquarters elsewhere in the city.

The distinctive building underwent an 18-month comprehensive refurbishment to provide a new main entrance and central core with double-height reception, full access raised floor, and Armstrong’s suspended ceilings on the ground floor with a floor to ceiling height of 2.7m. The feature ‘wavy’ roof on first floor has a floor to ceiling height of between 2.95m and 4.75m.

Aukett Swanke studio principal Daniel Winters said: “We carried out a careful design process that balanced the constraints of the existing building and budget to deliver a transformation that retained and augmented the special qualities of the existing building and its landmark wave form roof. The Armstrong products helped us deliver that by being cost effective and functional.”

The CE Marked and Cradle to Cradle™ certified DGS and metal tiles were installed by specialist sub-contractor Lorus Projects who were joined on site by Armstrong Drywall Grid specialists to go through the build and ensure the fixing teams were fully educated on the process.

The building’s external appearance was rejuvenated with careful integration of terracotta cladding systems, with brick slips appropriate within the Cambridge and Chesterton area which will bolster the building’s heritage qualities.

Will Heigham from agents Bidwells said: “Finding Grade A office space in Cambridge is a huge challenge because office supply levels have fallen to the lowest level for 15 years and availability rates are down to just 8.5%. What this means is that there is very little space available, let alone units of over 10,000ft2.

“Radio House’s completion therefore represents a real opportunity for existing Cambridge occupiers looking for new open-plan expansion space or new entrants considering establishing themselves in Cambridge.

“A huge amount of money has been invested in upgrading Radio House and it will provide efficient and substantial open plan floors, with flexible floorplates, that will appeal to a wide variety of occupiers from professional services to the technology sector.”

Cambridge is home to a range of well-known R&D, technology and life sciences companies including AstraZeneca, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Microsoft, Huawei and Apple.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

Photos: Claire Lize Photography

Systems, including a custom one, toe the visual line for collaborative teaching.

A myriad of metal wall-to-wall systems by Armstrong Ceilings were specified for a next-generation laboratory facility for their cost-effectiveness and versatility.

A total of 2,500m2 of them feature on the University of Birmingham’s Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) building which aims to replace traditional, discipline-specific laboratories with a range of innovative teaching methods beyond the classical bench-style laboratory model.

Armstrong’s DGS (Drywall Grid) system for plasterboard interfaces features as bulkheads alongside metal S-Clip F planks in laboratories, classrooms and meeting rooms while the metal clip-in F-L601 system has been used in corridors.

But arguably the most striking system is the custom C-Profile linear modular metal system used on the ceiling and the walls of the three-storey atrium as well as in corridors and break-out areas.

Rated BREEAM “Excellent”, the 72,120ft2 CTL building takes the shape of a robust brick structure with variation in materials and form to represent the three different internal laboratory environments. Large angled brise soleil made from gold anodised aluminium, which project over the main entrance, are reflected internally for continuity.

The purpose-built CTL building comprises wet, dry and e-laboratories, and along with a recent new laboratory in the School of Engineering building, represents a £40 million investment in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at the university.

They enable the university to re-think the way STEM subjects are taught by making more effective use of staff time and resources through the efficient use of practical teaching space, innovations in teaching delivery and the reinvention of practical classes. This allows both undergraduate and postgraduate students to benefit from transformational teaching in a space designed to encourage and facilitate collaborative and interdisciplinary working.

In addition, the CTL on the university’s Edgbaston campus provides a visually stimulating and interactive environment in which to showcase STEM subjects to a wider audience, providing a flexible space for outreach and business engagement activities, open days, events and CPD.

The recyclable ceiling systems were designed in conjunction with architects Sheppard Robson to reflect this focus on aesthetics but without loss of acoustic performance.

Armstrong Ceiling Solutions

Timothy Clement, design manager (construction) for main contractor Morgan Sindall, added: “The Armstrong systems were specified as a more cost-effective option to a system that was originally proposed while maintaining a similar aesthetic and quality for the client.”

Armstrong’s DGS is typically faster and easier to install than traditional drywall framing and at the CTL building the metal S-Clip F planks and metal clip-in F-L601 tiles were perforated for even greater acoustic performance. Despite its slender frames the C-Profile linear system incorporates services such as lighting and sprinklers.

The highly light-reflecting white Armstrong Ceiling Solutions were installed over six months by a team of up to 30 operatives from specialist sub-contractor Grimes Finishings, a member of Armstrong’s approved national network of Omega installers.

Grimes’ head of commercial operations Rob Harriman said: “In 25 years of working with suspended ceilings I believe this was the most technically challenging ceiling project I’ve ever been involved with or am aware of by some margin.

“But the Armstrong systems performed excellently and integrated into the build seamlessly and the project support from the Armstrong team was second to none.”

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

Bespoke mesh metal ceilings bring form and function to an office refurbishment.

When architects TP Bennett needed a trusted supplier to deliver their vision for a central London office refurbishment they knew immediately where to look.

And it was Armstrong Ceiling Solutions, specifically 150m2 of the manufacturer’s configurable mesh metal K-H 400 MT tile and grid system featuring versatile hook-on planks, that they specified for areas of the ground floor of 65 Gresham Street.

Project director Pragna Shah said: “The product needed to suit an adaptive, flexible and creative design for our work with a client that is an industry disruptor and has a brand message of ‘out of the ordinary’.”

And that proved the case from the moment go as the Armstrong systems were originally specified for a dining hall and informal lounge with adjacent booths on one side but by the time it came to installation the dining hall had become open-plan office space.

Nevertheless, the jet black (RAL 9005 with 5% gloss) mesh metal tiles from Armstrong, customised with a larger-than-usual 70% open area mesh and installed using a standard crossing box and c-profile suspension system with 75mm trim strips and custom metal bulkheads around the complete perimeter of the space, deliver the industrial aesthetic the architect was looking for, complete with functionality as the exposed services above the ceiling needed to be accessible.

Pragna Shah said: “The Armstrong system suited the design intent. The mesh ceiling was complicated in that it needed to meet lots of criteria, such as access and fixed sizes, and we needed a trusted supplier to help us deliver our vision.

“It helps to create a more contemporary and industrial aesthetic with the addition of up lighting creating an inviting atmosphere. The client is an exciting organisation and our partnership has delivered a workspace that enables new ways of working and captures the vitality and essence of their brand.”

The Armstrong systems were installed over two months by a team of up to 10 from specialist sub-contractor OCP Contracts for fit-out and refurbishment specialists BW: Workplace Experts who required the installation to be defect free at completion. OCP are a member of Armstrong’s Omega network of approved ceiling installers.

OCP’s contracts manager Charles Corbyn said: “Due to the complex nature of the bespoke mesh metal ceiling, OCP liaised with Armstrong’s technical department and together ensured we could achieve procurement for the project.

‘With OCP’s team of specialist fixers, it allowed for a straightforward and perfect installation which is versatile and met what the client had specified. OCP were privileged to have been given the opportunity to install the bespoke ceiling system and are excited by the changes within the industry towards more specialist ceiling systems and unique designs.”

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website

Photos: Tom Green