Derek O’Connell: “We often hear cubes referred to as open cell or egg-crate ceiling. Essentially when you look up, you are going to see a bunch of squares. You’re going to have wood running both ways that will intersect each other, creating that shape.”
DO: “The two different assembly styles we offer is first a modular cube which is a panel in itself, so you’re going to have a square panel and then as you look up in the ceiling, it will be very obvious that you have individual panels that are hung. You can still see the T-bar because of the reveal. When you move into a monolithic cube, it appears as though the wood members are running completely across the space in both directions. It’s going to be much more open, and you won’t be able to see the T-Bar grid. Monolithic cubes by themselves are more like a cloud, they’re very porous since they do have such wide-open cells. The big difference between that and the rest of our products is that it is very difficult to get that acoustic value out of it because you can’t top load it with an acoustical blanket, so you have to find another way to achieve that.”
Panel (Cell) Sizes
DO: “For some of our more standard cubes, the cell size is pretty flexible. So 4” x 4”, all the way up to 8” x 8” for our modular. Then when you get into the monolithic cube, there is really a lot of flexibility. You can go all the way up to 4’ x 4’. When looking at the member itself, it’s going to come down to species selection, whether or not you choose a solid wood or a veneer. With a solid you’ll have 5/8” up to 1 3/8” width and then up to 5 1/4″ depth. Then as you move to a veneer on a fire-rated particleboard substrate, it’s 3/4″ up to 1 7/16” wide, and that’s with a depth that you can play around with, getting 10”, maybe 12” in depth.
We have options with our cubes to break away from the single cell, square pattern that you see. We can run them diagonally to create triangles, trapezoids, all sorts of shapes to make the ceiling look very unique.”
Species & Finishes
DO: “There are plenty of options for the wood cube when it comes to species. We have all the solids listed on our website, and there is a wide variety of options. Then as you move into veneer on a fire-rated particle board core we have just as many options shown on our website. The three main finish options you have for cubes is the clear finish, which is going to accentuate the wood and the grain, bringing out the natural color that species offers. Then another great option is stain, which is taking a more economical species and mimicking a color that you would like. Then the last option would be opaque finish, which is like a paint and it’s really going to conceal all that color and the grain that the wood offers.”
Suspension & Details
DO: “Typically cubes are going to be suspended from a heavy-duty T-bar grid, but we do have other options. You could drop it with an aircraft cable, there’s a direct attach option, you can use lag screws. So really there are a few different things you can work in there. 9Wood offers a ton of different resources when it comes to technical information, specifying your product, details, all those things. A majority of them can be found on our website, but you can reach out to your design assist specialist and they will help equip you with whatever you need for your project.”
DO: “There are a few different options for accessibility within our cubes. The modular cube for instance, since it is a single panel, those can all be accessible, depending on the attachment option and whether you are putting it in a 15/16ths grid or not. When you move into monolithic, we would have to create access panels for that. However, you also have the ability to do much wider cells, so there is some area within the ceiling to get through to an access area above.”
DO: “Pricing ranges for our cubes, when looking at the modular option, is anywhere between low 30’s to mid 50s per square foot. Then in the monolithic cube it is a bit wider, a little more hardware is required, so you’re looking at the low 40’s to mid 60’s per square foot. There is such a wide range with our modular cube because you can get a dense panel, have a lot of wood per square foot, and then depending on the species selection, that could be more expensive and add a bit of a premium to the price. Then with a monolithic cube, even though it is less wood and more of an open ceiling, it’s much more technical and is going to require much more engineering and hardware because 9Wood will engineer a complete system to send out to the field.
DO: “Going from cubes to coffers, there are some similarities with the overall aesthetic. The difference with a coffer is that it does have a veneer topping it to close off that square. Coffers are a very traditional look, it’s very stately, something you would see in a bank or a law firm. Not a lot of companies are making coffers anymore, 9Wood still offers them because there is a market for it. It’s a valued look, that’s lasted for a long time now.”
DO: “The two main types of coffer that we offer are modern molding and crown molding. Modern molding around the perimeter can be solid or veneer, it’s really more of a straight slat. When you get into crown molding it is always solid wood because of the shape and the accents shown on that piece.”
Panel (Module) Sizes
DO: “In terms of construction for the coffer itself, it requires a very high level of craftsmanship. The trims and the molding that go around the tile itself have a very distinct miter cut. It’s going to make it so there is no joint as you transition from one piece to the next. Then the cut at the bottom of the molding that attaches to the tile, it essentially looks like a seamless joint.
Due to the overall weight of the system, 2’ x 2’ is typically the size for a coffer. Where you get some flexibility is in the molding of the piece. Typically, 3/4” is the thickness we would require but you can play around with the depth of it.”
Species & Finishes
DO: “So species selection for the coffer, since it’s on a 2’ x 2’ tile, due to that size, it has to be a veneer on a fire-rated particle board core. Then when you move into the molding on the sides you can do either veneer or solid. With the crown molding, it will be solid just because of the shape of that piece, so you could have some issues with color differentiation between the two, from a veneer to a solid wood, but we will work really hard to make sure they match and you don’t have a very obvious difference in color. A great option for species with the coffer is going to be a hardwood, like a cherry or a white oak, and that’s because they are very easy to get in both a solid and a veneer.
Another area where you have flexibility in the coffer and the overall design is the veneer slice on the face of the tile. We can do a couple different things. Quarter sliced, which is vertical grain running up and down or plain sliced veneers where you get more of that cathedraling, some of that openness. So just like cubes, we have three standard finish options for coffers, you got the clear finish, the stain and then the opaque. We can also do custom stains and opaques, if you just send us the color control, let us formulate a stain and then send it back to you for approval.”
Suspension & Details
DO: “Coffers are suspended from a heavy-duty T-Bar grid and then in between each coffer there will be a gap or a reveal that can range in size, depending on your design intent. 9Wood has quite a few resources, technical information, installation guides, and things like that for our wood coffers. You can either reach out to your design assist specialist or it can also be found on our website.”
DO: “The coffer itself is not an accessible system but if you do have a project that requires access in to the ceiling above, reach out to 9Wood and we will help you find a solution for that.”
DO: “Price per square foot for the coffers can really range, anywhere between the low to mid 30’s, all the way up to mid to high 50’s per square foot. That does not include installation, a good rule of thumb for that would be to double the material cost. That will include your labor rates, T-bar, everything that your subcontractor will need to actually install into the ceiling. Just like cubes, coffers have a wide range, mostly because of species selection, so you’re dealing with a solid wood on the perimeter in some cases and then depending on the species of veneer you select, some of those will carry a premium.”
DO: “Lead times for cubes and for coffers is typically 8 to 10 weeks up front. That includes your approvals process, which is your shop drawings and submittal samples. Then post approval you’ll move into fabrication, which is 8 to 10 weeks for production, totaling 16 to 20 weeks. If you do come up against a schedule crunch, let us know, we may have some options that speed up the schedule. Another great resource is your design assist specialist will work with you to help simplify your design so we can speed up production. The thing I enjoy most about cubes and coffers is that cubes are a very modern design, they allow an architect to get creative and put their own unique stamp on a space whereas coffers are very timeless, traditional type of product, and so watching architects be creative and bring that into a modern space is very exciting.”
MR: “Derek, thank you for walking us through the basics of cubes and coffers. We covered some of the highlights but if you want specifics for your project please reach out to us. Give us a call, send us an email, we are here to provide the technical information you need as you craft your spec. Check out all the information on our website, and we really appreciate you watching the video today. We’ll see you next time.”