Hunter Douglas has produced an aluminium ceiling panel system for Amsterdams North-South subway line that retains their flat appearance and rigidity even at a maximum length of 2.5 metres. Most panels this size have a tendency to bend under their own weight. The rigidity of the new panels, manufactured at Hunter Douglas Rotterdam plant, is a result of the production process with a double layer of aluminium separated by a honeycomb filling. Their sound absorption (αw: 0.75) means the panels reduce the noise of metros and trains. At the request of Amsterdams Benthem Crouwel Architects, the panels have a high reflective value, too (82 per cent) another characteristic resulting from the use of aluminium. This means the stations along the North-South Line will enjoy a large amount of reflected light.
Hunter Douglas research and development department spent almost a year working on the XL ceiling panels. The commissioning of the North-South Line accelerated production, enabling Hunter Douglas to align production with the specific needs of this project from an early design stage.
The average size of the panels is 1.8 by 0.90 metres, although the Ceintuurbaan Station will feature panels as large as 2.5 by 1.25 metres.
Underground stations in particular have a shortage of natural daylight. To make the stations as light as possible, the architect requested a reflecting ceiling. Another advantage of the panels´ sandwich structure is that they can be sawn to size on location.
In the Central Stations distribution hall, the structure for the ceiling has already been installed. The first of the unique Hunter Douglas panels were also recently mounted. The last of the stations connected by the North-South Line is to be completed in 2017.
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