jewels of the ceiling have been around for a long time and are the
focal point of interior design. In earlier homes of distinction they were
hand crafted in plaster then painted or foiled with gold in only the
palaces of the elite. As an applied delicate ceiling motif, it took
artisans hundreds of hours to create and install these gems by hand.
Finally, a less
complicated idea from Greek and Roman times allowed the medallion to be cast
from plaster as a whole piece and actually be plastered in place on the
ceiling as one unit.
This allowed for mass production of this magnificent art form making it available to
the average home at a fraction of the original cost of the hand crafted masterpieces.
Technical progress and urbanization resulted in more people having money
for medallions in
their own homes. Ceiling heights were lower than that of the
larger palaces of
royalty, thus the
chandeliers were hung closer to the ceiling. This became a
problem particularly with the proximity of the candle flame to the ceiling above. The
whole piece plaster medallion became an excellent economical way to create
a non-combustible fire barrier between the ceiling and the open flame. It even
allowed for wall paper to adorn a ceiling with less
fear of fire.
introduction of the gas lamp, although safer, still required a heat and
fire barrier just as the
candles did in earlier times. In order to be an effective fire
barrier, the medallion had
to be 2/3rds larger than
the arms of the chandelier holding the flame.
electric age dawned, medallions became less of a functional entity and
more of an anchor for
ceiling decoration. Now available to all, through mass production,
these gems of
ceiling decor are economical and easy to install. Plaster requires
so producers have made them from a lite weight
material has the same consistency as white pine and installs with a
construction adhesive and
looks like detailed plaster at a fraction of the cost.
medallion collection can be made from
in order to provide the necessary ASTM-E84 non combustible fire rating for
commercial applications. One can also
order the ArchPolymerTM treated with a
fire retardant primer that allows two hours of
As a major element
of interior design, ceiling medallions have evolved from delicate rococo spider
lines, to the heavier acanthus leaves, to the elegant lines of the Federal period, to the
modern waves of Art Deco. Today they re the focal point of interest in a room that
creates an illusion of height and are a major element setting the style of the entire
we try to incorporate the various traditional element in a more modern
context. The medallion
shown here combines the traditional egg and dart molding
with acanthus leaves in a symmetrical effect.
This wonderful design has
three similar matching sizes. Speaking about
sizing a medallion we have written a great article on
How to Size a Medallion which you might be interested
For those that are looking for the modernism that was expressed in the Art Deco
period we created IPMRD8012 and IPMRD8014 ovals. The graduated
ovals are smooth and can appeal to many modern collections.
rectangular medallion has over 30 metal inserts and holes can
be drilled anywhere on the surface area for drop lights.
In conclusion, the
ceiling medallion is a truly brilliant design
gem that has evolved from pure decoration, to a fire barrier
protector to the epicenter of a room's style.
extensive collection @