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How to improve the finish of your interior design with a ceiling

16 April 2020

Designing a space is a delicate balance between art and science. The interior of a building needs to offer comfort and wellbeing as well as being both eye-catching and dynamic. This emphasises the importance that interior design requires an in-depth knowledge of technical issues and design.

UK, SamsungKX, London, KSS, Retail, Rockfon Mono Acoustic, 1800x1200, White, Showrooms

Samsung KX, London – Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic

The key to great design

Bringing a specific vision into a reality, while juggling the needs and expectations of the customer, is one of the many things that makes interior design a thrilling and continuously stimulating job. While challenging, and maybe even extremely frustrating at times, when the two elements successfully meet, excellent design is what’s created. As Tony Stavish of A.W. Stavish Design said “The key to great design is capturing the spirit of the client and the essence of the space”.

When designing a building, one area that can often be overlooked as a design element in a space is the ceiling. According to Stephen Fanuka, who is a “contractor to the stars” in New York City, the ceiling is not to be overlooked or unused, in fact, he refers to it as the fifth wall in a room.

It is really interesting how Fanuka highlights the importance of the ceiling. By repositioning how we look at it, it easily becomes another dimension for creative expression and a canvas to design with.

What can you do with all that extra space?

The fifth wall

Recently the ceiling has become much more of a linchpin in designing many commercial spaces.

More and more we are seeing deliberate choices to explore bold ceiling design solutions, be that with colours, more refined suspended ceilings, different surfaces and materials or specific room types. For example, Deb Barnes, the Director of Interior Design with HGA Architects and Engineers, an American design firm, says “You can really influence the fit and feel of a space when you use the ceiling plane as a design element”.

It is really very interesting to see how the ceiling has evolved to become an important element of interior design.

A beautiful ceiling is more than just meets the eye

A ceiling can be much more than just a striking standout piece - it’s at its best when it also has a functional component. An important part of interior design is creating a healthy environment. The ceiling, because of its size, is a great means to focus on achieving optimal lighting, acoustics and creating an overall indoor climate where people are going to be as comfortable being in the room as they are looking at it.

A functional and beautiful ceiling design can be like any stunning work of art.

The key to great design is capturing the spirit of the client and the essence of the space

Tony Stavish

Interior Designer

Create an eye-catching focal point at the centre of your design

Let’s have a look at some interesting ways that you can turn your ceiling design into a beautiful and modern visual finish.

Don’t be afraid to add some colour

When people commonly think of a commercial ceiling, they traditionally picture a white standard suspended ceiling. A colourful ceiling is not always the first thought and sadly, sometimes choosing a colour for a ceiling can be left to the end of the architectural design process, making it secondary to other elements in the building phase. This is rather regrettable, because choosing colours for your ceiling design early in the development process helps you find the perfect meeting of function and effect.

While designing a modern ceiling with colour can be a daunting assignment, it helps working from a colour palette because it can help you choose coordinated colour schemes to meet your goal. It can mean the difference between a harmonised finish or a disjointed one.

Colour by baffles

An example of a beautiful ceiling solution is found in Amsterdam. The Meininger Hotel went with an exposed open plenum design combined with an epic colourful ceiling that was inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers. This dynamic space offers a modern ceiling to the lobby environment, which emphasises the vibrant feel of the rooms in the hotel. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture used 931 Rockfon Contour® baffles throughout the lobby.

Image: The Meininger Hotel, Amsterdam – Rockfon Contour

Meininger Hotel,The Netherlands,Amsterdam,Christian Sandor Tschersich,LAVA Architecture,Rockfon Contour,Ac-edge,Chicago Metallic™ T24 Hook 2850

Discover our 34 exclusive colours for acoustic ceilings and wall solutions to inspire and enhance your interior design scheme. You can find everything for your next ceiling design. You can read more about bringing your ceiling design to life using colourful ceiling tiles or colour panels on our website.

Emphasise a style for a modern ceiling design

One of the more recently fashionable trends has been open plenum design, which is great because of its eco-friendly architecture. It makes sense not only because it is more environmentally friendly, driving down energy costs and supply, but because it also makes buildings more affordable.

Open plenum design has become this very edgy solution, often connected to creativity and originality, where the openness and rawness of the design doesn’t conceal the functional elements of a building behind a ceiling.

While it increases the visual volume in a room, and it gives those high ceilings that most people crave, it also leaves a lot of hard surfaces exposed, which is terrible for the indoor climate and the wellbeing of the people using the space.

An excellent way to keep that openness, without sacrificing on the indoor climate, is to use acoustic panels or islands.

Concrete design softened by acoustic islands

The Solutions office building in Warsaw, a co-working office, is an example of an open plenum design matched with a stylish interior that offers ideal working conditions for people despite having a lot of reflective surfaces. The design base of the interior is a classic and timeless combination of white, black and grey, which was enriched using bold colours on the walls, various upholstery fabrics, paintings, and carpets. The glazing and doors used muntin bars and the walls were stuccoed. This interior is a stylish design with attention to the smallest details.

Image: The Solutions Co-working Office, Warsaw - Rockfon Eclipse®

PL, Solusions Rent Coworking Office, Warsaw, The Design Group, Office, Rockfon Eclipse, A edge, 1160x1160, White, Meeting room

Discover our innovative and aesthetically pleasing frameless acoustic ceiling island, offering excellent sound absorption and supplied in a smooth, deep-matt, super white surface providing high light reflection, light diffusion, and anti-static properties, extending its product lifetime.

Give some glamour to your ceiling and make a statement

Another popular design trend that has seen a renaissance in recent years is monolithic architecture. It can trace its roots back to the Neolithic period, where our ancestors constructed carvings and excavated buildings from a single block of stone. Meaning “single stone” in Greek, monolithic design avoids separating the exterior from the interior and seamlessly migrates the two surfaces into one singular expression.

Monolithic architecture seeks to exploit the expressive potential of a structure into one gesture, and while ancient, still finds a place in today’s buildings such as Le Baron Vert in Osaka by Phillippe Stark, the Royal Library in Copenhagen by SHL Architects or the Messner Mountain Museum Corones in Bolzano by Zaha Hadid.  

However, monolithic architecture is notorious known for having poor acoustics because of all the reflective surfaces, but there are ways to achieve that natural seamlessness found in monolithic architecture which provides a good acoustic performance. A ceiling surface that lets you manipulate and sculpt your vision.

Daring architecture marries monolithic design and acoustics

The Novo Nordisk headquarters by Henning Larsen Architects created a stylish circular building inspired by the shape of insulin molecules. The curved building design called for flexible building materials to complement its circular shape. Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic was chosen for both the vertical and horizontal surfaces, making it possible to create a stunning design with continuous surfaces that ties the room together.

Image: Novo Nordisk Headquarters, Bagsværd – Rockfon Mono Acoustic

Novo Nordisk, DK, MONO, Industrial,
Henning Larsen Architects, Novo Nordisk, MTHøjgaard, Svend Christensen
You can really influence the fit and feel of a space when you use the ceiling plane as a design element.

Deb Barnes

Director of Interior Design with HGA Architects and Engineers

Unlock the perfect acoustic solution for ceilings and walls. This innovative monolithic surface delivers outstanding acoustic comfort with a seamless stunning visual.

Check out our interior acoustic surfaces for monolithic architecture, a RIBA accredited CPD, and a must have for all architects and designers involved in monolithic building designs.

How to improve the finish of your interior design with a ceiling?

Playing with the ceiling is an excellent way to create that standout finish that can be like any beautiful piece of artwork. It can even be the centre piece of your design. For example, if you have high ceilings, you might want to play around with darker colours. Because of the height, darker colours on the ceiling won’t create the heavy feeling that you might find in some spaces with a lower ceiling.

If you have a very busy space, you might want to tone down the ceiling design and go for a more neutral colour or a seamless surface to really let the furniture and other design elements in the room shine through. On the other hand, colour on the ceiling can also be a great way to spice up a neutral space. 

There are so many beautiful acoustic panel solutions out there that can help you create the details that you’re looking for. As Charles Eames, an American Designer and Architect, said, “ The details are not the details. They make the design.”

The details are not the details. They make the design.

Charles Eames

Architect and Designer

Knowing how to get the perfect balance of wellbeing and creating that beautiful finish is really a balance of art and science. Having the right solutions just helps make the process that much easier and the possibilities endless. You decide how to bring your interior design to life using acoustic panels.

Planning a design project - with Rockfon acoustic solutions you can create your unique space.