When creativity hits the ceiling

DECOR

When creativity hits the ceiling

EYEING THE SKY Ceiling mural in the Vaasna Room, Le Sutra.

Ceilings as a decor element can evoke mixed reactions, ranging from “what can you do on the ceiling” to “you can do so much.” With evolving technologies, changing times and people willing to experiment, the market has options like never before.

Starting with fundamentals, it is important that ceiling height is appropriate to the design of your home. The minimum height for dwelling spaces is between eight feet and ten feet. “The trend is to have a high ceiling with reference to scale and functional demands of a space. Lately, we are witnessing the use of 15-20 ft high ceilings in the most used spaces of the home, like living and dining areas.

These ceilings are supported with skylit roofs which add to the aesthetic value of the space and provide good lighting,” says Basavaraj Sriraj, Realm Architects. Another vital consideration in India is the heat factor. “Natural cooling is the best solution to avoid health issues. This needs higher ceiling height, which allows greater circulation of natural air. For artificial cooling systems, you don’t need more height as the consumption of power to run the cooler will increase,” explains Suman Chakarborty, Interior Expert, Lafarge Home Building Center. Variation of ceiling heights along spaces can add to a sense of drama and enliven even the most mundane of spaces.

Options galore

Ceiling decorations are in. False ceilings accentuated with patterned tiles are highly popular in acoustical areas where the television or the music system is placed. Pop/gypsum ceilings help designers in lighting. Other spatial aspects like levels and finishes are very effective when trying to set up the mood and ambience of a particular space. “A relatively new design concept, we have explored the idea of using glass blocks and toughened glass as a roof, thus creating patterns in the ceiling with a light beam filter,” says Sriraj.

Stencils and wallpapers are a great way to accentuate ceilings. Both are inexpensive ways to add drama to your home. Ceiling panels are available in a wide selection of styles, sizes, colours and materials, which often include aluminium, brass, chrome, copper, steel, tin and more. “Depending on the style used, they can give the room a bold, contemporary look, a very formal look or a snug, inviting feel. When it comes to decoration, the designs of metal panels can be the most elaborate and grandiose of styles. They can be modestly embellished, which is great if you want them to complement simple decor.

Ceiling medallions are used to draw attention to chandeliers and light fixtures or to enhance crown molding. They can also be combined with a rosette and used to decorate an otherwise plain ceiling. You can use these architectural ornaments as wall decorations too. Ceiling domes are similar to ceiling medallions in that they can transform any room into a work of art,” says Anjum Jung, Managing Director, Morph Design Company.

The latest trend in ceilings is glass combined with wood, and patterned ceilings either in POP or moulds that are set in exposed concrete surfaces. Drop ceiling, cove ceiling, grid ceiling and wave ceiling are gaining popularity. (Pic in the centre: POP  wall and ceiling, courtesy: Realm Architects).

The latest trends include simple straight-lined ceilings with indirect lighting for homes. Restaurants and hotels prefer patterned ceilings as they add to the concept and feel of the space. Wallpapers, stencils and woodwork on ceilings further add value to them. In addition to getting the sky within the built space through thoughtfully designed skylights, ceiling decor is becoming fundamentally integral to the design.

The best ceiling ideas would be to have high ceilings in your drawing and dining rooms while lower ceiling is recommended for kitchens and bedrooms. Ceilings look dull if effective use of light is not made. The various trendy ceiling design ideas which you can choose from are cove ceilings, exposed beams, suspended ceilings, sculptural ceilings, cathedral ceilings, tray ceilings, drop ceilings, vaulted ceilings, Tudor style ceilings, etc.
Hewlett Packard brings the boon of customised art printing for home decor. It is now possible for consumers to customise art for interiors and put it up on the ceiling.

This application caters to the innovative ideas of people who yearn for outstanding home decor. “The technology of HP enables consumers to design 2D and 3D graphics to complement their interiors. The company’s products have enabled pocket-friendly, environment-friendly, easy-to-access, washable, changeable and highly-personalised walls and ceilings, something that was not possible until now,” says Puneet Chadha, Director - GSB, HP-IPG India.

Mitali Bajaj, Dr. Art+Design opines, “lately we have been noticing a trend in ceiling work.
During the Renaissance, painting a ceiling was commonplace. Most ceilings were transformed by murals. This is making a comeback, and is the latest trend in ceiling designs. With the rise in popularity of the decorative arts, ceilings are fast becoming the most popular focal point in a home.

Home owners are becoming aware of the fact that a ceiling can and needs to make a visual impact to whoever enters their home. A fascinating new study reveals that high-ceiling areas encourage big picture thinking and greater creativity, while lower-ceiling areas induce better focus and attention to detail.”

Looking beyond

False ceilings are used in office buildings and homes because they are fire-resistant. A drop ceiling can hold its position during a fire for 109 minutes of duress; allowing more than 1 ½ hours for rescue, recovery or extinguishing efforts before the ceiling collapses.

False ceilings can also help in isolating a room in terms of sound travel. Because the ceiling does not directly lie against a structure (i.e. the roof or the floor above), it does not vibrate with the noise coming from that area.

Sound waves have a chance to dissipate in the space between the false ceiling and the overhead structure, so sounds from above are muffled in the room. Similarly, lightweight panels reflect sound back into the room, improving sound travel in the room that contains the ceiling. 

Looking for harmony?

Proper treatment of ceilings can bring in harmony between the walls and the floor. “Integrally ceilings can be used as a powerful media tool. Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco in the Sistine chapel is probably the greatest example of modulation of ceiling into an art form,” opines Kembhavi. Ashwini Jaisim, Communications Director, Jaisim-Fountainhead explains, “anything that a person wants to see on his ceiling is available in the market.

If one wants a stucco finish, one can get it. One can even get wooden rafters, laminate, Plaster of Paris or tiles. One can even choose to paint a cement ceiling with a pattern one likes. Wall/ceiling papers are available too with various designs and patterns, for instance, the solar system on a child’s bedroom ceiling. Decorations in the form of lamps, chandeliers, attractive ceiling fans, etc are common.” Go ahead and move up to the next level of home decor, quite literally!

Seeing a pattern

Patterned ceilings are popular with the younger, tech-savvy generation. “Decorative ceilings play a vital role in enhancing the design of your room. You can fix light fixtures, chandeliers and other decorative items with a mix of different products to incorporate style and elegance,” says Chakarborty.

The popularity of patterns largely depends on the concept and the space being designed.

“For classical concepts which are mostly developed in restaurants and hotels, patterned ceilings are used. In such a case, cornices are probably the most important architectural elements used to define the space. Cornices ease the transition from wall to ceiling and do a lot to define the conceptual style of the room,” explains Jung. 

Next big thing

Patterned ceilings are considered to be the next big thing after contemporary furniture and embellished furnishings.

“Patterned ceilings have the ability to bring in a new dimension of light and colour into the room, creating a sense of depth. Patterns can be created on the ceiling by using paint, lacquer, metal, embellishments, POP, wallpaper brushes, texturing tool and more,” says Indrajit S Kembhavi, Principal Architect, Kembhavi Architecture Foundation.

Adds Asif Iqbal, architect, “A patterned ceiling creates a beautiful focal point. Patterns can be created on the ceiling with the use of paint, lacquer, metal embellishments, Plaster of Paris, wallpaper, brushes, texturing tool and more.

The easiest way to create patterns on the ceiling is to paper the ceiling with wallpaper. You can either purchase patterned wallpaper and have it pasted on the ceiling or use two or three designs of wallpapers to create patterns on the ceiling.”

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