Timber ceiling at National Assembly for Wales by Richard Rogers

The incredible timber ceiling at National Assembly for Wales by Richard Rogers makes me go weak at the knees.

I am often asked which element is the most important in interiors. And… I find this a really difficult question to answer. As I’m sure most of you would agree, any successful space is made up of many many components which need to work together as a cohesive (fully sick) unit. Just like a well rehearsed orchestra, or a symphony which requires a myriad of notes and changing rhythms to produce something which is worthwhile listening to, similar rules apply to architecture and interiors.

I guess if I had to single out one of those elements, even though I just said that I find this virtually impossible… then, yes – you’ve guessed it – I would probably place ceilings on the top of the list (boom-boom, get it? It’s a dad joke). I see ceilings as unifying elements within a space. The icing on the cake. They are almost always the most complex and the hardest to get right. Ceilings usually need to work pretty hard from the functional point of view, often incorporating those highly annoying yet super useful things like air-conditioning, fire sprinklers, acoustic treatment etc. Why do I say all this? Because I spent almost 6 months testing my patience designing a very complex sculptural ceiling on one of my recent projects. Also, ceilings are something we can always see, unlike floors and walls which are often obscured by furniture or people. A beautiful ceiling is almost like a good head of hair… or an interesting hat. It’s one of the first things we notice on a person, and the same goes with an interior.