When was the last time you saw ceiling graphics? It’s an unfortunate truth that they’ve become a pretty rare site in the modern world. However, there are quite a few historic examples open to tourists. Furthermore, in the commercial interior design world, they’re starting to reappear, and we couldn’t be more pleased.
Wall and glass graphics have grown enormously in popularity in office spaces the past 30 years. But far fewer people are even aware that ceiling graphics are an option available to them. So why should you be excited about ceiling graphics?
1. Spectacular History
Every year, about 6 million visitors travel to the Sistine Chapel and look up. Michelangelo’s infamous frescoes are so spectacular that they draw massive crowds willing to stand in line for hours for this experience. And although the Sistine Chapel is the most famous example, there are many other buildings around the world who attract fascinated visitors with their beautiful ceiling art and architecture.
For centuries, ceilings have been transformed by artists and architects into works of art. Churches are of course a commonly known example, but there are many others. The baroque palace Würzburg Residence in Germany has a vast ceiling fresco of a scene featuring the Greek god Apollo. A more recent example is the subway stations of Stockholm, Sweden, the ceilings of which have a wide variety of murals and art installations that started being added in the 1950s.
There is a long and incredible tradition of ceiling art. And those that remain open to the public inevitably draw many awestruck visitors each year. Perhaps it’s the grandiose perspective that comes naturally from being overhead. Maybe it’s the rarity of ceiling art compared to other types of artwork. Whatever it is about ceiling art that captures our fascination, it’s an architectural tradition worthy of carrying forward into the modern age.
Unfortunately, despite the long and beautiful history of ceiling paintings, ceilings are frequently neglected by architects and interior designers alike. In fact, many modern buildings choose to leave their ceilings open, with vents and piping exposed. This more industrial extreme aside, it’s rare to find a space with more than flat white paint overhead. And commercial office spaces are still frequently plagued with ugly ceiling tiles.
The bright side of this, for the few spaces who do choose to do something with their ceilings, the effect is multiplied by its rarity. Wall murals and window graphics have been increasingly incorporated into commercial spaces, however ceiling graphics remain few and far between. They are therefore instantly more memorable and eye-catching to the average visitor. And sure, that’s delightful to any designer, but to a business – that’s invaluable.
After all, environmental graphics aren’t just about aesthetics, they’re about making an impact on people. Employees, clients, investors, visitors – everyone who walks through your front doors is hopefully forming a positive impression of your business. Environmental branding ensures that impression isn’t a vague feeling, but a strong sense of your brand. Your company is instantly more memorable than the competitor in an anonymous office. Unusual and exciting elements like ceiling graphics, are going to be even more memorable, creating an even stronger impression on those who work with and for your business.
3. Puts Your Free Space To Work
Space disappears really quickly in a working office. Desks, copiers, industry specific machinery, storage cabinets, shelving – it all adds up real quickly. And it can turn adding larger design elements into a game of Tetris. Many times when we install wall murals in an occupied space, we need to plan the artwork to work around existing furniture which inevitably cuts pieces off from view. In other spaces, the trade-off for great windows and natural sunlight is a shortage of continuous wall space.
Ceilings provide a ton of open space for environmental graphics. So why not consider this wide expanse for your office graphics? Of course, certain types of imagery won’t work as well on the ceiling as on walls – for example, most typographic designs would be a bad choice. Who wants to strain their neck reading text overhead after all. But there’s plenty of graphical elements that work well on the ceiling.
Large patterns, brand colors, geometric elements, and abstract designs are great choices to add personality and style. The distanced perspective also makes it an excellent choice for large elements that might otherwise seem oversized and overwhelming.
4. Design Unity
The best interior designers take a great deal of care in making sure that every element of a space works harmoniously together. No element should be jarring or disjointed from the rest. Color palettes are endlessly poured over. Material samples are carefully compared so that the blinds go with the flooring and the furniture fabric. Furniture styles are diligently considered.
The result of all this thoughtfulness are spaces where there is a sense of unity and balance. It’s a lot of details to consider, and frankly time and budget means that it’s impossible for most projects to carefully consider every aspect. One element that often gets forgotten about? The ceiling.
Ceilings are universally so often plain and unremarkable, that it’s not often considered an oversight to ignore it in a space. But making the effort to incorporate it deliberately into the rest of the design, can really elevate the space as a whole.
One way to do this is to incorporate ceiling graphics that reference patterns, colors, or shapes that are in the rest of space. Another fantastic strategy is to install graphics that continue from the wall onto the ceiling. Both of these techniques build a greater sense of unity and continuity in the space, and hugely elevate the overall design of the building.
Love Ceiling Graphics as Much as We Do?
If this blog has inspired you to take an architectural tour of the world, then wonderful! On the other hand, if this list has sparked your interest in ceiling graphics, then MetWest would be thrilled to assist you on your project! Contact us today and we can get your project started.