Inspiring Interiors | Heads Up - Design Bureau

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Consolidated Gypsum wanted to complement its state-of-the-art distribution operation with a ‘Nordstromquality’ retail showroom to provide display and educational resources for a diverse customer base,” says Starr.

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Strategically positioned, dramatic ceiling systems bring dimension to the distinct, functional areas.

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Inspiring Interiors | Heads Up

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Photos by Anthony May

At Consolidated Gypsum’s new showroom in Ellerslie, Alberta, all eyes are looking up—and that’s just how interior designer Yetta Starr planned it. “The owner wanted to wow visitors, including tradespeople, designers, and do-it-yourself mavericks, with its ceiling products and integrated ceiling systems,” she says. Using the building supply company’s own products, the founder and creative director of Chicago-based Starr Design made ceilings the star of the showroom. 

Suspended from an open plenum, large expanses of floating finished ceilings hover above the showroom floor. “These dramatic ceiling systems are strategically positioned and illuminated to highlight the showroom’s circulation and bring a dimensional component to the distinct, functional areas below,” Starr says. Integrated lighting, from radial light bars to adjustable accents, helps to orient customers and illuminates the goods below.

 The ceilings don’t just direct customers to product displays; they are product displays. More than 20 of the latest ceiling products and systems, including grids, trims, and lighting, are shown in the floating ceilings on the showroom level. On the second floor, which is currently an event space, oversize copper and silver acoustic tiles, reminiscent of antique tin ceilings, are displayed in an open-grid configuration.

Other building materials are likewise displayed in action. With her team of Danielle Clarke, Joseph H. Bryant, and Barbara Siegel Ryan, and contractors/ materials suppliers Action Electrical, Burke Interior Systems, Cormode & Dickson, Curved Walls, Jasper Millwork, Source Display, and CGC , Starr lined the walls of heavily trafficked areas with Consolidated Gypsum’s aggregate wall finishes to demonstrate their durability. In the entry vestibules, this exteriorgrade product protects walls against moisture and low temperatures common during the winter months. After de-icing themselves, visitors are treated to free coffee and doughnuts at the beverage station, where another product—a water-resistant wall finish— was used to showcase its washability. 

Even the most functional piece of showroom furniture does double duty as a brand ambassador. “There is a deliberate connection between the interior product displays and the [adjacent] exterior warehouse,” Starr says. “Recalling the massive [warehouse] storage racks, open-grid shelving units in Consolidated Gypsum brand blue hold precision tools and related contractor supplies.” It’s a touch that Starr says harks back to the company’s identity, which “exemplifies organized efficiency, ease of buying, and cleanliness

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