Sky Factory launches next-generation virtual skylight for restorative indoor environments

by Brianna Crandall — July 18, 2014—Fine art and technology company Sky Factory’s new Revelation SkyCeiling is an innovative virtual skylight that provides an engaging biophilic illusion-of-sky 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 is engineered to transform deep-plan enclosed interiors into beautiful, healthier and more restorative environments.

Sky Factory explains that virtual skylights designed as biophilic illusions of nature are used by leading healthcare and commercial environments worldwide to trigger an automated relaxation response in the physiology. This experience enhances human wellness and task performance by enlivening our innate connection to nature, or “biophilia.”

Revelation SkyCeiling is designed for large indoor spaces, featuring image panels with a 400% larger surface area than the company’s award-winning Luminous SkyCeiling, making the enhanced dimensions ideal for the high ceilings found in most commercial, corporate, and public spaces (minimum required height: 9 ft./2.74 m).

The enhanced dimensions and angled profile of the Revelation SkyCeiling create a coffered ceiling feature independent of ceiling grid systems, says Sky Factory. Capable of supporting larger image panels—up to 4′ x 4′ (1.22 x 1.22 m)—the biophilic impact of Sky Factory’s unique Open Sky Compositions is greatly amplified, adds the company.

“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.”

The new image panels used for the Revelation SkyCeiling, called SkyTiles, are reportedly four 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.

The new image panels are four times larger than the current standard size of 2′ x 2′, and the linear direction of the reveal was modified to a wider, deeper angle (106 degrees) to enhance the viewing experience.

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, according to the company.

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 designed to faithfully reproduce the soft hues and rich saturation of real skies.

The launch of the Revelation SkyCeiling comes on the heels of a new Texas Tech 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.

Sky Factory is a unique fine art and technology company based in Fairfield, Iowa. Founded in 2002, the company creates realistic Illusions of Nature—virtual skylights and windows—that transform interior spaces. Sky Factory’s new digital cinema product line features UltraHD motion and sound displayed on commercial-grade LED monitors.