A Feast for the Eyes: Golden Aluminum Metal Mesh
The European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is an intergovernmental initiative that monitors the global climate and weather. Commissioned by 30 member states of the European Union, it collects data using complex satellite systems. In light of climate change, this data is becoming increasingly important, and the organization’s continual growth is a direct reflection of its importance as a global leader.
While the EUMETSAT headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany is constantly expanding, the construction of a new six-floor office building develops a new design language for the organization. It also gave designers from Pielok Marquardt Architects a clean slate to work with.
In order to provide nearly 600 employees a tranquil space to eat, relax and converse, the design team created a state-of-the-art cafeteria. Featuring contemporary design and acoustic management, the space is capped off with a glowing suspended ceiling made of GKD golden aluminum mesh.
Modern weather forecasting has little in common with the science that preceded it. Satellite technology makes it possible to monitor the climate on a global scale, and the data collected by governments and organizations is used to keep authorities, citizens and companies up-to-date with the latest developments.
In Europe, EUMETSAT monitors the atmosphere, oceans and the earth's surface around the clock, transmitting the data back to 30 EU member states. Established in 1986, the organization opened its Darmstadt, Germany headquarters in 1991. However, increasing requirements and a growing staff meant that the operation quickly outgrew its original space.
A brand new six-floor office building represents the final phase of the organization’s campus expansion. Designed by Pielok Marquardt Architects, it is a model of energy efficiency and functionality, complete with a transparent, distinctly modern design.
The ground level of the new building is composed of two important, yet very different areas, each accessed via separate entrances. One half of the floor is home to the control center for the organization’s newest satellite program while the other half includes the campus kitchen and cafeteria.
The only cafeteria on campus, it seats 250 people in a bright and airy space. A glass façade ensures the room is flooded with light, and carefully chosen furnishings divide the area into acoustically optimized zones. White tables and chairs coordinate with stripes of inset flooring and other aesthetic details. In addition, the central zone of the cafeteria includes bright red benches with sound-absorbing backrests.
The contrasting color scheme is rounded off with a warm brown stone floor and wooden acoustic cladding. However, the most striking element in the room is the suspended ceiling.
A Shimmering Solution
Made from 4,300 square feet of GKD golden aluminum metal mesh, the ceiling panels in the EUMETSAT cafeteria are combined with integrated LED lighting to mimic the appearance of the sun. The discreet shimmer created by the two elements add to the ambiance formed by natural materials and the transparent façade.
The ceiling also conceals ventilation technology by incorporating HVAC vents into the suspended ceiling frame. In order to do this, designers worked with GKD to select an open mesh that would allow air to easily flow through the panels. Various warp and weft wire thickness made it easy to control the airflow, while adding a unique aesthetic to the space.
The result is a true feast for the eyes that combines function with aesthetics in a new way. As the EUMETSAT continues to grow, climate scientists won’t have to travel halfway around the world to find a first-class dining experience.