When an architect, interior designer or a construction company wonder if they could incorporate a wood coffered ceiling in one of their rooms, they usually have some doubts turning up on this handcraft decorative element. In spite of its great tradition in our architecture, it was gradually lost during the last decades but luckily nowadays it´s back in town thanks to owners´ good taste who want to add exquisite and handcrafted materials to indoors, achieving a surprising eclecticism.
We want to know more about coffered ceilings, their manufacturing method, and the 40 years of experience of this high-end décor company located in Toledo, so we´ve made an interview to David Ruiz designer and manager of Ruarte Contract.
When did you make the first coffered ceilings? The first ones were made by Jesus Ruiz, our President, over 40 years ago when he was 14 years old! At that time he began to work for other company that used to make coffered ceilings for hotels, banks and public buildings.
How were the projects of Morocco and Saudi Arabia in 1978? They were carried out through an architecture studio in London. Apart from the coffered ceilings in Arabian style, they made not only the decoration with wood furnishings for different rooms but also for the Palace (for one of the members of the Saudi Royal Family) as well as for the mosque, using latticeworks and Arab details.
How was the beginning as partners of Aranda Steakhouses, leader in Spain? My father worked with them in the company where he started his career, and once he founded his own company Ruarte, he went on developing restaurants for Aranda Steakhouses in Spain, and very soon we´ll be part of their international expansion.
What kind of technologies do you use to design the coffered ceilings? We always use Auto-cad, one of the most popular design programs for Architecture and we work with renders like 3D max as well as Photoshop for the slide-shows with the aim to transfer usually the project and the customer can get the closest perception of the project.
What kind of wood do you use? A variety of woods, pine, walnut… We usually work with light wood for the coffered ceilings, they can´t weight a lot because they are hung from the forged. When we use other kind of woods as the ash tree, oak or walnut tree, we usually advise to make an stronger forged in order to hold the weight. The finish can be lacquered, polychromed and natural. When we refer to polychromed we always use materials of low or medium water resistance. We use for the lacquered finish polyurethanes and microcellulose, they´re very steel products.
Do you produce taking into account the customer´s or the interior designer´s design? Both things, but when we talk about a predefined design, Ruarte adds a handcrafted personal touch to the coffered ceiling.
What styles of coffered ceilings do you use? We´ve made all different styles from Castilian, Arab, Mudéjar, latticework. This important decorative piece has been evolved through History in Spain.
Which one is your flagship project? At a national level, Aranda Steakhouses stand out because of the quantity, customer, variety of products and for all the coffered ceilings we have made for them. At an international level, a Mosque made in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia 40 years ago. It was a high quality project and we are very proud of it.
How is the production process? All the coffered ceilings are set in the factory, with the purpose that all the pieces must be well assembled like a meccano set. Once all the pieces are numbered and the coffered ceiling fitted, the next step will be painting the piece for the finished and get ready to move it to the mounting site. Once the straps are hanging from the ceilings the pieces are installed like a meccano set.
How long does it take to have the coffered ceiling installed? The process can take 3 or 4 days if the ceiling has got a big surface area. It depends on the size of the coffered ceiling, but it´s a quick installation thanks to the accurate work we develop in previous phases.
Are there other materials apart from wood? We like to work with colored glass for panel moulded coffering, besides ceramic, leaded glass, but wood goes on being the main actor of the decoration project.
Do you carry out other kind of installations during the assembly? We´re in charge of the lighting but air-conditioned and home automation depend on the provider. Talking about the lighting we´ve integrated coffered ceilings with stained glass lighting and LED, it represents an added value and doesn´t mean a great additional effort to us.
How do you prepare your projects abroad? The measurement is essential not only abroad but also in Spain. We can´t allow any mistakes during the setup due to wrong calculations. That´s why we always travel we get to know the place carefully, and reach an agreement of the special conditions to have into account, we produce, assemble, disassemble, and carry the components items for the final setup. Two of our employees travel to the place where they have to carry out the setup helped by staff of the building site or even if it´s necessary more people of our staff can work there if the budget is viable, so we´ll take care of all the work.
Any projects for the future? We´ve budgeted some interior design projects in Qatar and Dubai (with coffered ceilings included) and we´re waiting for the response. They´re projects of a great magnitude that will fructify in short.
What kind of professionals work with Ruarte? We´re used to work with architects and interior designers but sometimes owners ask for execution of works as well as the design. The best option is to trust in a turn-key high-end décor company like us. As examples, we´ve worked pretty much with Peter Kern (a famous German designer) for specific furniture collections and the Spanish designer Luis Puerta, to decorate in white lacquered wood finishings a residence in Madrid downtown)
New trends? People are demanding a lacquered finish, but there are other customers who prefer the natural look of wood. We´ve done some lacquered coffered ceilings but the quality of wood is better valued with varnishes and polychromed to use very natural products with the purpose that wood and its texture bright in all its magnitude.
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