Blu Lounge

Indianapolis’s newest hot spot opened to rave re­views and big crowds. Its savvy and rectilinear space is pregnant with modern design and an open­ness that allows all to see and be seen. Next to its enriching ambiance, Blu Lounge has taken a step beyond traditional design methods and into the realm of Digital Fabrication for answers to some of Blu’s mi­nor challenges. Architect Chris Short, AIA, with HAUS utilized the services of Designer Wil­liam Marquez, and Fabricator Dick Lutin, with ACS Sign Systems to fabricate the ceiling for Blu Lounge.

Faced with the challenge of disguising existing HVAC ducts and sound equipment Short offered a design that would allow all equipment to be masked, while providing a design element that could be dropped for full service access to the HVAC system in the future. With the design concept at hand Marquez and Short worked to create a unique dimensionally formed ceil­ing that spanned 30’-0” in length above the bar.

Using a parametric based modeling software, Marquez moved to create and opti­mize the design. Created entirely in 3D, the dimension­al ceiling was set up and sent electronically to Lutin. Lutin, an owner of a two way CNC (Computer Numeric Control) Router, cut the over 200 pieces in a matter of days and immediately assembled with zero issues or changes during assembly. It is through this machinery and its associated software that a relationship between Architect and manufacturer can now be strongly estab­lished, providing a twist and reorganization in the con­struction process.

While the technique of two way routing or subtractive fabrication isn’t a new concept, the construction meth­od and relationship of architect and local fabricator is. With-out having to select from a magazine, catalog, or “off the shelf” product, the architect had full control to design, create, optimize, and fabricate a ceiling un­der budget and ahead of schedule.