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Creative commercial ceilings

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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When working with a commercial space like a store, restaurant or hotel, a designer has the opportunity to take risks and make the kind of big statements that might not be well received in a private home. A home is somewhere we spend long periods of time, and so we want our houses to be relaxing. While we all aim for style, we tend to avoid home décor that stands out too much. After all, we look at our homes everyday, and we do not want to get tired of them! Commercial spaces, on the other hand, are not generally somewhere that people live for long periods of time, so designers of these locations can go all out; saturating the space with more colour, brighter accessories, and lots of detail. One area that provides ample opportunity for this kind of decoration is ceiling and lighting design. In homes, we tend to keep the ceiling and lights more or less understated, in order to avoid excessive stimulants, but the photos in this ideabook show examples where restraint was not required. The resulting spaces are truly innovative. Take a look…

Milky way

For the Dairy Don ice cream shop, design group Future Spaces Organization created a ceiling that is both eye catching and perfectly suited the space. The dark ceiling features large cut outs to a bright white space. The cuts are made in fluid, organic shapes that resemble clouds or, more appropriately, spilt milk, creating a milky way in the interior sky.

Bright lights

The designers of this bar made two unique choices when planing this space. First, for the light on the ceiling, they choose to install long, rectangular stripes of light, perfect for framing the decorative glass elements that hang over the bar. Secondly, instead of restricting light source to the over hard space, they installed incandescent panels along the bar itself and framing the shelves. These help to make the space glow, perfect for a cosy bar ambiance. 

Subtle drama

The ceiling of this restaurant is a bit more understated than some of the others featured here, but, it nonetheless adds that element of subtle drama that is so sought after in décor. The ceiling features large, sunken squares that are filled with warm light. The faded effect of the light suggests a deep recesses, making the room feel expansive and grand, while the yellow colour compliments the other neutral tones and gives the restaurant a comfortable, homey feel.


This picture provides a good example of how ceiling design and lighting can be used to divide a room into multiple sections. Here, the room is quite large, and a smaller seating area has been carved out in one corner. The circular seating would of course feel comfy on its own, thanks to its sunken quality, but without the ceiling décor, the area might seems rather haphazardly placed in its large surroundings. The use of circular lighting directly above the seating area solves this problem. The concentric circles are located directly above, in effect, giving the area its own ceiling so that those sitting there feel they are in their own cosy space.

A sophisticated bakery

Cake Walk Bakery&Coffee House:  Commercial Spaces by Balan & Nambisan Architects
Balan & Nambisan Architects

Cake Walk Bakery&Coffee House

Balan & Nambisan Architects

From floor to ceiling, the team behind this bakery cafe have designed a memorable interior that effortlessly combines sharp lines with curved, organic shapes. Perhaps the first thing that grabs our attention is the brick wall, which curves in undulating waves. The geometrical furniture and dark wood of the floor, which is lit from below, provide an interesting contrast to the wall. The whole room, however, is pulled together by the ceiling, whose geometric patterns and exposed beams, work with the updated brick to suggest a contemporary take on a warehouse space. One might think that adding another eye-catching feature to the room would be overwhelming, but this example proves that sometimes more is more as opposed to less is more. 

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