As an ecologically-friendly material, bamboo has enjoyed growing U.S. acceptance as an architectural finish. Now, it can also be used as an attractive and affordable ceiling finish. More than 9,000 sq.ft. of Arboreal ceiling panels with a custom bamboo finish were installed in the recently completed Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. Arboreal ceilings, manufactured by Ceilings Plus, Los Angeles, California, are lightweight aluminum panels finished with wood or other natural veneers.
Ceilings Plus developed the bamboo finish at the request of Polshek Partnership, New York, the project's architect. Polshek selected bamboo for the Library's floors and ceilings because it is a rapidly renewable material and helped the building qualify for credits under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program. Arboreal panels qualify for additional LEED credits because their aluminum core contains up to 98 percent recycled materials, including 75 percent post-consumer content from recycled aluminum beverage cans. The bamboo was carbonized by heat-treating until it obtained the rich amber color desired by the architect, then factory finished with a clear UV-coating with zero volatile organic compounds (VOC) and no added formaldehyde.
According to Nancy Mercolino, president of Ceilings Plus, "Arboreal panels are fabricated with automated CAD/CAM equipment. That enabled us to economically produce panels in hundreds of sizes and configurations to satisfy the unique design requirements of the Clinton Library. In addition to providing the bamboo veneer and meeting rigorous environmental conditions, the Arboreal panels were custom perforated to provide the desired appearance and create a high noise reduction coefficient. And because Arboreal panels are so lightweight, we could provide them in sizes up to twelve feet long by four feet wide to fit the large scale of the Library's exhibit halls."
In addition to the bamboo panels in the main exhibit areas, Ceilings Plus provided the custom painted and Grau-anodized aluminum ceiling and wall panels used throughout the Clinton Library.