A screen is a rather ancient invention, most of us undeservedly forgotten. This is perhaps the most unusual piece of furniture exotics brought to Europe. You will not dare to call it furniture, but rather a movable wall or a folding screen. The history of the screen begins in China. It was in China in the 7th century that screens appeared, and already in the 8th century they moved to Japan.
Screens came to Europe in the 17th century, along with fashion for everything Chinese. In the duality of its function – hiding something behind the wings, at least partially revealing it – Europeans immediately saw not only decorative effects, but also opportunities for very elegant spatial games. Particularly popular screens found in the XIX-XX centuries. The layout of the apartments of that time required dividing the living space into zones, and the screens easily coped with this task, covering with themselves what should not be seen by outsiders.
The open spaces of the modern home with their zoning principles again make us turn our eyes to the guest from the past. Instead of the complicated design of the movable partitions, it is sometimes better to get a screen. It is cheaper, it can be transported, folded and cleaned. The space organized with its help can be designed for a variety of purposes. This exotic item takes pride of place in boudoirs, bedrooms and small living rooms, sometimes separating the dining area or the likeness of an office. But the real reason for the love of screens is the atmosphere of chamber and solitude created by them. Therefore, most often, corners for reading, talking or sleeping are arranged behind the wings. Of course, this is an ideal place for relaxation and communication of the elite – a narrow circle of close friends.
In modern interiors, very few ancient Japanese products, including screens, have been preserved. If you happen to meet these unique things with the traditional motifs of pagodas, tigers and dragons, with wood carvings, inlaid with colored stones or silk paintings, look carefully at their conditional and full of meaning, thoughts and fantasies. They can consist of countless cusps, but the most common are six-leaved and eight-leaved. The painting was placed at eye level, and then people were sitting on the floor. In contrast to the images on scrolls, tapestries, canopies and curtains, the drawings on the screens are horizontal and pass from leaf to leaf. The mural plot should be read from right to left. If you look behind the back of the screen, you will find that it is decorated with a completely different pattern. Products in complex lacquer technique are especially striking – pieces of gold foil in a thick layer of varnish do not shine, but flicker, as in a Japanese house with its diffused light.
In modern screens, little has been preserved from the historical prototype. Produced by well-known furniture companies, they are striking in variety: a wooden or metal frame can be the most bizarre silhouettes, covered with fabric, paper, leather or filled with glass. Even Kevlar mesh is used – a high-tech material used in the space industry.
Do you think the screen is old fashioned? Of course, you can’t name it a necessity. But the eastern ability to turn everyday life into art, and even a kind of ritual, always created a special aura around these objects. And it’s not a sin for us to learn the ability to orientally, organically combine benefit and beauty. Whether it will become a useful item in the house and at the same time its real decoration – depends only on us.
Where is the best place for the screen
We offer some ideas for using screens in the interior.
The screen in the photo on the left is just an example of multifunctionality. Moreover, its different parts can be arranged in different ways. You can paint in any color, but so that it harmonizes with the general environment of the room. For the office, stricter colors are appropriate, for the bedroom – more subtle.
Such a property of the screen as mobility is very useful in the kitchen. And if it is still adequately equipped, it will be simply irreplaceable. Metal frames with holes of different sizes and shapes are attached to the frames of two wings using patch strips. Screws are screwed into small ones; metal hooks are enough to insert into large ones. The third case is simply framed with crossbars, which are convenient for hanging ladles and other kitchen utensils.
Hiding and blocking is not everything the screen is capable of. She can “reprofile” in the rack. Become almost transparent, but take on responsibilities for the placement and storage of things. Planks are thrown over the crossbars, resulting in convenient shelves. They are a kind of stiffening ribs, giving stability to the newly made cabinet. The design is light and mobile, if desired, it can be quickly disassembled.
The desire to give the screen more functionality has led to the idea of having large pockets on it. Moreover, they can be with zippers, buttons, Velcro and simply open. Transparent pockets are especially exquisite. But they must be filled with the same exquisite decorative contents.