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Over View: a 3D fabric ceiling

Case Studies | March 1, 2020 | By:

Over View, an installation at MuseumLab in Pittsburgh, Pa., is intricately patterned to replicate the leaded glass ceiling that once graced the space. Photo: FreelandBuck.

Walk into the central lobby of MuseumLab, an experiential learning center for older children created by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and look up. While you may think you’re looking at a historic leaded glass ceiling, you’re actually viewing a textile reproduction of the original 19th century ceiling that was removed years ago.  

The Children’s Museum took over the former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, which was built in 1890, to house MuseumLab. The museum’s renovation preserved much of the building’s original design, including detailed archways, columns and mosaic floors.

But the ceiling required a more modern solution. The museum worked with FreelandBuck, a Los Angeles, Calif., and New York City-based architectural firm, to create Over View, a three-dimensional drawing permanently installed in the space. 

Consisting of three layers of printed and cut fabric, the 34-by-38-foot installation is suspended over an aluminum frame. The design creates the illusion of depth so when a visitor is standing in the center of the room, it looks as though the ceiling is projecting upward. From other points of view, the perspective changes and it looks as though the design is an abstract pattern of lines projecting down toward the floor. Each visitor
sees the space differently while strolling about the room. For more information, visit

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