The Sky Factory

The Sky Factory

Fairfield, IA


Sky Factory Earns 2nd Achitizer A+ Award for Revelation SkyCeiling

By TheSkyFactory
Jun 5, '15 4:58 PM EST

May 15, 2015 – The Revelation SkyCeiling won the Popular Choice Award at the 3rd Annual A+ Architizer Awards. Architizer, called the “Facebook for Architects” by the New York Times, is the world’s largest and fastest growing website for architecture with a global award program featuring 3,000 entries from over 80 countries.

The contest generated 43,000+ votes, cast from over 100 countries and territories. The event also features an illustrious jury that includes architect notables such as Charles Renfro, Bjarke Ingels, Rem Koolhas, and Tom Kundig.

Sky Factory’s Next Generation Virtual Skylight, the Revelation SkyCeiling, designed for larger indoor spaces, features image panels with 400% the surface area of the award-winning Luminous SkyCeiling™, the Jury Winner at the Architizer A+ Awards last year, making the enhanced dimensions ideal for the high ceilings found in most commercial, corporate, and public spaces (min. req. height: 9 ft. - 2.74 m).

The technology used to design Sky Factory’s biophilic illusions is different from the standard process involved in backlit representational nature imagery. Unlike symbolic nature art, set in an arbitrary compositional scale—close ups, panoramic views, vantage points—at odds with the surrounding space, biophilic illusions of nature™ are designed to be perceived as part of the external perimeter.

This key distinction, to compose the visual content within the context of the space, is among the 20 or so design parameters that play a pivotal role in uniquely engaging areas of the brain involved in spatial perception.

The Revelation SkyCeiling provides the most engaging biophilic illusion-of-sky available featuring an independent, modular system that works with or without the ceiling grid. The large, self-supporting gridwork resembles the structure of a real skylight while its clean aesthetic design transforms deep-plan enclosed interiors into beautiful, healthier and more restorative environments.

The enhanced dimensions and angled profile of the Revelation SkyCeiling create a coffered ceiling feature independent of ceiling grid systems. Capable of supporting larger image panels—up to 4’ X 4’ (1.22 X 1.22 m., plus custom sizes)—the biophilic impact of Sky Factory’s unique, Open Skies Image Technology is greatly amplified.

 “Architects have been looking for a virtual skylight with a clean aesthetic perimeter that would complement the larger, higher ceilings common in the lobbies and entryways of contemporary commercial buildings,” says Bill Witherspoon, founder of The Sky Factory.  “The new Revelation SkyCeiling was designed to magnify the healing physiological experience of open skies that our flagship product, the Luminous SkyCeiling, delivers.

“We can now exploit the full range of our Open Skies Image Technology and match the most sweeping interior architectural spaces with an equally powerful and engrossing illusion of overhead skies,” remarks Witherspoon.

The new image panels used for the Revelation SkyCeiling, called SkyTiles, are 4 times larger than the current standard size of 2’ X 2’ (0.61 X 0.61 m). The larger size allowed the design team to also deepen the profile of the reveal and underscore the visual dislocation from the ceiling plane.

At the same time, the linear direction of the reveal was modified from a rectangular design (90 degrees) to a softer, wider angle (106 degrees) that is also much deeper  (2.75” vs. 1.25” or 69.8 mm vs. 31.75 mm), effectively forcing perspective and leading the mind to a more engrossing ‘view’ of virtual sky.

Sky Factory uses proprietary large format digital sky compositions in modular arrays to create biophilic illusions of nature that visually ‘open up’ enclosed environments. Using standard 6500K high CRI (color rendering index) light, Sky Factory’s custom SkyTiles are designed to retain most of the emitted light, yielding a luminescence that faithfully reproduces the soft hues and rich saturation of real skies.

The launch of the Revelation SkyCeiling comes on the heels of a new study, Neural Correlates of Nature Stimuli: An fMRI Study, published in the winter 2014 issue of the peer-reviewed Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD). The study explored the unique neural pathways involved in the perception of open sky photography, a key component in the design of virtual skylights that deepen biophilic engagement.

Employing Sky Factory’s award-winning Open Skies Image Technology, an artistic tool that consistently elicits an experience of vastness by engaging the areas of the brain involved in spatial cognition, the Revelation SkyCeiling provides restorative benefits in enclosed surroundings by offering realistic simulations of safe vantage points into panoramic views of nature. These traits are known as Prospect & Refuge Theory, an environmental combination that our psycho-physiology inherently finds deeply restorative and healing.

This landmark study in neuroarchitecture earned the prestigious Best International Research Project Award at the Design & Health International Academy Awards held at the Royal York Fairmont Hotel in Toronto, Canada, on July 12, 2014, during the 10th Design & Health World Congress.

Virtual skylights designed as biophilic illusions of nature are used by leading healthcare and commercial environments worldwide to trigger an automatic “relaxation response” in the physiology. This experience enhances human wellness and task performance by enlivening our innate connection to nature known as biophilia.