Ranma (transom) panels
Sometimes a space is left intentional free above the sliding shōji or fusuma. This could be to highlight the panels, to provide ventilation between rooms, perhaps because of an obstruction or just the shape of the ceiling.
The design used to fill and enhance this space is called ranma, or transom. There are many different types, either simple and geometric as shown, or complex kumiko designs can be used. Alternatively, elaborate carved panels can be sourced.
We design and make ranma to effectively lower the ceiling height in relation to the shoji height. This allows for a better-proported shoji, width-to-height, making it more visually appealing.
The ranma can have very close spacing, which makes it difficult to see objects behind, or open spacing providing more airflow.
Ranma are often used by clients who wish to partition one of their rooms with shoji: they allow air circulation even when the shoji are all closed.
Tea rooms also use ranma to allow the fusuma to be built to a lower height to accomodate available materials.