"Rigid members of structure supported at each and, subject to pending stresses from a direction perpendicular to its length" - this is an engineering definition of the beam. As we all (or most of us) know they are part of building structure. However in this post I am going to stress their decorative aspect.
It is quite often that during design process we have to make a decision if the structural beams (supporting floors above) are going to stay exposed or enclosed.
In renovation projects I do like to look for existing elements of the building and estimate their visual/aesthetic value. Then weight it against clients aesthetic preferences and atmosphere of the space we are aiming to achieve.
Exposed beams manifest solidity, strength, power, authenticity, history.
They also provide rhythm, and in many cases provide texture and detail which can be enhanced by treatment of the material from which they are manufactured.
Below several images of exposed beams in projects we were involved in.