Not much has changed in terms of the technical aspects of a ceiling installation in the last ten years, but this doesn’t mean that ceilings in modern interiors still look the same than they did a decade back.
How has aesthetic trends changed over the last 10 years?
According to Richard Fenton, Regional Sales Manager at Pelican Systems, there is a move to a more monolithic, uncluttered ceiling look. “Decorative cornice and mouldings have a place, but we are seeing a strong move towards aluminium shadowline profiles for the perimeter trims – less is definitely more.

“In terms of suspended commercial ceilings, the look is clean and uninterrupted, with a preference for smooth acoustic tiles. To break up different areas in an open plan, such as work or play areas, different coloured acoustic tiles are been used,” he says.

1. Bulkheads used to feature suspended ceilings at Ethekweni Hospital. 2. Ceilings are increasingly being used as a design feature – here it mirrors the floor. 3. Ceilings mirror the floor. Photos courtesy of Pelican

What are some of the most significant advancements?
“Acoustic and thermal comfort is a very hot topic as people want their homes to be quiet and have a consistent temperature all year round, in order to help save electricity and the environment at the same time,” notes Fenton.

“Translucent ceilings, which allow natural light through a skylit roof, are one advancement that adds a fresh feel to any room and boosts energy efficiency and well-being.

“Incorporating accent lighting into the ceiling design is another development that can transform a residential ceiling or create the desired ambiance in a commercial office space,” Fenton states.

Denise Gould, General Manager at Pelican Systems, adds that the ability to print on ceiling tiles can transform a ceiling into a starlit or cloudy sky, or personalise it in any way. “Ceilings are increasingly seen as a design feature, using colour blocking, curved bulkheads, patterns and even colour to create a certain look.”

1. A bulkhead with back lighting provides soft but ample lighting in the boardroom at Ferrari Umhlanga. 2. Colour blocking on the ceiling of Virgin Active in Hillcrest. 3. A great example of using colour on a ceiling. This is at Ethekweni Hospital.

The many roles of ceilings

“Over the years, ceilings have evolved to perform more functions than simply facilitating and concealing services and providing a platform for insulation,” says Capco’s Barry Gould. “Nowadays, ceilings are designed to provide a wide range of acoustic, thermal, fire, lighting and aesthetic options.”

1. The staggered acoustic ceiling with indirect lighting recesses in this Regent Business School auditorium helps to create an optimal learning environment. 2. The ceiling installed in the meeting room at RCL Foods’ office in Westville, Durban, enhances the unique industrial aesthetic of the truly African working environment. 3. A clean, modern look ceiling with straight lines at MG Electrical’s offices in Durban. Courtesy of Capco

How has aesthetic preferences evolved over the last few decades?
“Whereas before, people simply had the traditional ceiling-and-cornice option, modern design trends have led to the development of a wide variety of bulkheads, shadow lines, indirect lighting recesses, floating and raft ceiling options. In terms of the overall look, Architects and Designers are using ceilings as a major contributor to their designs; featuring multilayers, multi-facets, curves, waves, domes and rafts. The sky is the limit! A serious trend is that various building elements appear unattached to each other with the use of reveals, shadow lines and recesses. Capco provides Sigma ceiling profiles to accommodate each detail. Trends are moving to a more contemporary, modern look, achieved with sharp, clean lines,”states Barry Gould.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Pelican Systems and Capco for the information given to write this article.