Supermassive Black Holes

Client: LA Chamber of Commerce

Program: Interior

Size: Approx. 1,000 sq. ft.

Budget: Withheld by client

Completion Date: 2021

Material: Aluminum, Wool Felt

Architect: Baumgartner + Uriu

Team: Garrett Sutherlin Santo, Ke Li, Yiting Hsieh

Consultant: Structural Engineer: NOUS Engineering: Matthew Melnyk

Supermassive Black Holes
Supermassive Black Holes is an acoustic ceiling installation for the main lobby of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. The design is part of a series of projects in which we work with small primitives that are aggregated into a larger whole. In this case, there are over 10,000 felt cones stitched together into three gigantic, 20’ tall, hanging felt vortexes that that absorb sound through its materiality and geometry. The thousands of cone shape parts trap and disperse sound waves while softening the overall acoustic quality of the space. The main lobby space is often used for announcements and press briefings, but has been acoustically problematic due to its vaulted ceiling and reflective surfaces (walls, ceilings, and floor). Beyond its acoustical problems, the space also lacks character and atmosphere. The final product not only solves the acoustic problems of the space but also creates a new contemporary identity for the lobby.

The making of Supermassive Black Holes relies on the combination of different manufacturing techniques from the local garment industry that specialize in mass manufacturing of self-similar parts. Through this combination of different manufacturing techniques, we were able to pre-fabricate the entire structure off-site and then hang it with steel cables from the exiting ceiling. This method allows for the entire project to be installed within a couple of days.