Designing for Events: Stretch Ceilings in Conference and Banquet Spaces of Hotels
When we design event spaces, aesthetics and acoustics are at the top of our minds. The space needs to look and sound great if we are to throw grand galas and host memorable conferences. When it comes to designing large, open spaces, few areas carry as much visual weight as the high ceilings.
Turning those large voids into stunning focal points is a great way to attract new business and keep that schedule full. Stretch ceilings are a wonderful way to achieve the luxury hotel interior you’re after, and they can benefit your acoustics as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with what stretch ceilings are, don’t worry. They’re a relatively new building material and many of us are not yet fully aware of what they provide. We’ll cover what they are, the benefits they provide, and how you can incorporate them into your own design.
What is a stretch ceiling?
Stretch ceilings, also known as dynamic ceilings, tensioned membrane ceilings, or stretch fabric ceilings, are a type of suspended ceiling created by stretching a flexible PVC ceiling fabric across a frame. This creates a smooth, seamless surface that’s highly customizable and lasts a very long time.
Stretch ceilings provide an easy way to customize irregularly shaped ceilings with a high end look that demands attention. Beyond that, there are a host of other benefits associated with stretch ceilings. We’ll begin with the most important—the aesthetics.
Aesthetic benefits of stretch ceilings
One of the main reasons people look into stretch ceilings is because they look great. They do deliver a number of other benefits, but this is the main driver for many designers. The reason they deliver so deftly in the aesthetic sphere is because they are so versatile.
Stretch ceilings deliver a clean look
The stretched fabric construction of this type of ceiling allows it to deliver an incredibly clean and sleek look. No joints, seams, or other imperfections to deal with. This is a great look for any modern space but lends itself especially well to event spaces.
Even if the ceiling needs to be removed or replaced at some point, you’ll never notice a patched access point or mismatched texture.
Stretch ceilings are highly customizable
No matter what kind of look you’re after, you can achieve it with a stretch ceiling. They are available in nearly any color under the sun and can even be printed on. That means that whether you want your company’s color palette or a beautiful night sky, it’s doable with stretch ceilings.
You can even create unique shapes with the aluminum frame in a stretch ceiling design that accents the space in interesting ways. Utilizing a series of shapes can help you define individual areas within the space and provide an artistic flair to the room that’s hard to replicate with other materials.
Lighting options are also customizable
Lighting design for hotel event spaces is a high priority when prospective clients compare your space against others. Luckily, your lighting scheme becomes highly customizable with stretch ceilings.
When backlit, they can convey any look or feel you want. This gives you the ability to tailor this aesthetic powerhouse to the needs of any client. No matter what color, texture, or image you choose, it will display beautifully and the light will be perfectly diffused.
Pair stretch ceilings with backlighting or other interesting accents and you’ve got a focal point that sells itself.
Acoustic benefits of stretch ceilings
It’s one thing for a space to look great, but to be fully functional, it’s got to sound great too. Stretch ceilings can deliver vastly improved acoustics over the competition. The level of acoustic benefits you receive is up to you.
Microperforated stretch ceilings
If you want to increase the acoustical performance of your stretch ceiling, opting for a fabric with microperforations goes a long way. These microscopic holes allow sound waves to pass through the fabric, trapping a fair amount of them in the overhead space.
If you want to add additional sound trapping performance to your ceiling, installing acoustical materials as a backer will allow your ceiling to deliver high end acoustical performance while maintaining the sleek look you’re after.
General benefits of stretch ceilings
Beyond acoustic and aesthetic performance, there are some very good, practical reasons to choose this type of ceiling for conference or banquet spaces.
Easy to install and maintain
They are easy to install and maintain, meaning you won’t have to spend huge amounts on labor when you decide to give the room a refresh. The simple construction and lightweight materials make installation a breeze. This can save you considerable money on labor, and may even open the door to a DIY project.
Resistant to damage
The same properties that make stretch ceilings so simple to maintain also make them resistant to damage. Most materials resist moisture, which also helps protect them against mold and mildew. Even when they appear to stain, most marks will simply wipe clean. Maintenance requires no harsh chemicals or toxic fumes.
PVC is also a naturally fire resistant material, making it a good choice for fire safety. When you’ve got a group of people gathered for an event, giving them additional time to escape a fire safely is a big benefit. In any space where fire safety is a concern, stretch ceilings are a viable option.
Great for hiding MEP systems
Overhead mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems can contribute to a very industrial look. That’s great if that’s the look you’re after, but if not, you’ll likely want to cover them up. Stretch ceilings are a fantastic way to hide these systems.
Using your stretch ceiling system to hide MEP systems replaces the busyness of ducts, pipes and wires with a simple stretch of fabric that can meet the needs of any client.
Stretch Ceilings make repairs easier
When the time comes that you need to repair or replace something above the ceiling, the cost is substantial with most materials. We must cut out an access point, make the repair, and hide that access point without leaving noticeable marks. It’s very tough to match most materials, but stretch ceilings make it incredibly simple.
All we have to do is remove the fabric from its frame, fix what needs fixing, and replace the fabric. It’s much easier to remove than traditional ceiling materials and can be replaced without leaving a trace.
They are cost effective
Another important consideration that tips the scales in favor of stretch ceilings is the monetary incentive. Stretch ceilings are incredibly cost effective, due to their low material and installation cost. When you want eye-catching aesthetics with an acoustical bonus that doesn’t break the bank, few material choices can match the performance and price point that make stretch ceilings such an attractive option.
Environmental benefits of stretch ceilings
We’ve covered a lot of benefits, but there are some sound environmental benefits associated with choosing stretch ceilings for your conference or banquet space as well. If you’re concerned about your impact on our planet, this section is for you.
They last a long time
As single use products have proliferated throughout the past half century, landfills have grown exponentially as a result. Many people now prefer to source materials that have been gently used or will last a very long time to lessen their contributions to those landfills. Most manufacturers guarantee their stretch ceilings for a decade or longer, with a good deal of them lasting 20 years or more.
PVC is recyclable
Few building materials can boast the fact that they are fully recyclable, but that’s exactly the case with PVC. That means you can repurpose your stretch ceiling if you decide to make a change, or you can recycle it when you’re done. Either way, you’re reducing your impact on the environment when choosing to go with a stretch fabric ceiling.
Where to buy stretch ceilings
Now that you’re familiar with the various benefits of choosing stretch ceilings for hotels with conference spaces or banquet rooms, we should go over how one might go about purchasing one for their own space. It’s not as simple as hitting the local hardware store and picking up the supplies.
If you’re interested in stretch ceilings for your conference and banquet spaces, you’ll want to work with professionals. Not only can we help you source everything you need to get the job done right, but we’ve got the experience to help you avoid any pitfalls. Whether that means hiring us for the installation or just consulting on best practices, we’ve got you covered.