Overcast Insights
Design Meets Function Campaign - Jay Martin


Jay is Director of Engineering at Overcast Innovations where he focuses on crafting product solutions that push limits and support a built world that is more sustainable, beautiful, and efficient.  With experience practicing architecture and managing products, Jay brings extensive building industry knowledge, a broad perspective, and an abundance of curiosity to his role. His passion for continuous improvement and innovation in product development drives his work.



Jay has answered 8 questions on the importance of respecting architectural design when creating products:

What was the motivation behind creating assemblies that both look great but also meet various functional needs in spaces?

The ceiling plane stands as a crucial element in the design of all spaces, underscoring the necessity of a balance between aesthetic vision and the myriad performance requirements within integrated rooms. Overcast products are crafted to bolster both the design and functional performance of spaces, including lighting, acoustics, mechanical systems, and technology, among others. It’s our conviction that a product’s success hinges not only on its aesthetic appeal but also on its performance, underscoring our commitment to creating solutions that are both beautiful and meet the performance demands of modern spaces.

Why is it so important to have products that are tailored to the functional needs of a space but still complement architectural design?

Considering function separate from design is a very expensive proposition. At Overcast, hundreds of hours have been spent focusing on the acoustic performance of our products to understand and improve how they perform in spaces of all shapes and sizes. Our goal is to develop assemblies that outperform the most demanding acoustic requirements. The result is that our products exceed the absorption targets of most rooms and avoid the need for additional acoustic wall treatment, commonly used to add more absorptive surface area to a space.

How does the Overcast team collaborate with project teams to make sure that their functional needs are met?

We engage with the design team early to understand the performance requirements of each space in a project. Lighting is a good example of this approach. How a room is used determines the level of light required in the space.  Paperwork-intensive office activities may require up to a 50% increase in light levels vs. a computer-oriented office, for example. The more we understand the performance and use of each space the better we can configure our lighting solution to meet the needs of the customer.

What benefits do clients and end-users see by utilizing assemblies that are created to fit both their functional and aesthetic needs?

Utilizing assemblies that are created to fit both functional and aesthetic needs saves the customer money, meets the performance needs of the space, and keeps the walls free of wall panels.

What options are implemented in Overcast products specifically to create the perfect assembly for a client’s space and functional needs?

Overcast has curated a myriad of  options including finishes, acoustic products, luminaires, sensors, and other technology that will support the vision and performance needs of the design team.  Overcast finishes include solid and perforated metals, wood slats, felt, cleanable acoustic surfaces, etc.  We listen closely and continue to add new offerings to satisfy the needs of our customers and their projects.

What are some possible long-term issues that can occur when a spaces functional needs are not taken into consideration?

When the functional needs of a space are not adequately considered during its initial design and construction, several long-term issues can arise, compounding difficulties for occupants and owners. Firstly, spaces that don’t function well often require more effort and resources to maintain. Oversights might necessitate more frequent repairs or adjustments to tune the space, leading to increased maintenance costs over time. A lack of functionality can lead to a need for modifications or renovations sooner than expected and as well as negatively impact the well-being and productivity of those using them.

Are configurable products normal for the built environment? If not, should they be?

Yes, there are many configurable products on the market.  However, Overcast’s solution is unique because our system integrates what traditionally are disparate systems.  Our products include mechanical, electrical/lighting, acoustic, technology, and architectural finishes that can be configured to meet the needs of a given space. This comprehensive approach not only simplifies the design and installation process but also enhances the aesthetic coherence of the space, ensuring that functionality and design work in harmony to achieve an optimal environment. By streamlining these systems into a single, versatile solution, Overcast empowers architects and designers to maintain their vision without compromise, delivering spaces that are as beautiful as they are functional.

What final thought or message would you like to leave with readers regarding respecting the functional needs of a space without impacting aesthetic design?

The synthesis of design and function is a complex problem in today’s architectural landscape. At Overcast, we are dedicated to continually improving the visual integration of systems into our products. We aspire to create versatile, simple, and elegant solutions that address the complex needs of modern spaces without compromising the design vision, thereby delivering spaces that not only perform exceptionally but also resonate deeply with end users.