Derived from the “bois”, the french word for wood, Boiseries simply means wood processing. In Interior Design is the refers to wall covering wooden panels. These can be functional or decorative, modern or traditional, minimal or decorated with carvings and engravings.
Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiserie
History of the boiserie
This trend was born in French in the XVII sec., where it became very popular for interior decoration throughout the Baroque and late-Baroque period. The first example of boiseries was ispired by typical themes of that period. The decoration recalled from natural forms and floral shapes. The inlays and engravings were big and majestic almost overwhelming.
This decorative technique is based on wood processing and aim is to create a sort of picture frames and reliefs, with different kind of texture and ground which can be geometrical or not. This panels are repeated in the room, in order to decorate and customize the space starting from the walls themselves.
The panels were also on doors, wardrobe, furnishings and separé, not only on walls. Frequently, the paintings were set in the boiseries wich act as frame of the paintings or the bas-relief.
This handcrafted decoration were very expansive and appreciated from the nobility and high French bourgeoisie. We can find numerous example of these decoration in offices, consulting rooms and houses belonging to upper classes of Paris. This trend was exported throughout Europe. There are a lot of example of this decoration inside the Palace of Versailles.
Info source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiserie
Design from the old times…
Currently, many craft productions have resumed the use of wood paneling. In Italy, the production is concetrated in the north-east (Veneto). Some of this labs are specialized in this type of boiseries wich require specific skills and experiences.
What was once a special decoration very used in stately appartments and palace, today we rediscover it as a decorative technique and not only as carved wood panels. With the term “boiseries” we identify different sistems to enhance the space, with different characteristics for different houses even the most modern one.
Info source: http://www.archiproducts.com/it/prodotti/boiserie
Design and fashion got used to seeing this kind of transformation and reinterpretation in a modern way, starting from a typical old decoration which was considered heavy and sickly to a new trend in terms of interior design.
Thanks to the use of sundry materials, not only wood, and the infinite possibility of shapes, colors and textures, now this technique became incredibly versatile and adaptive to any kind of space and style.
Now it’s possible to use the traditional boiseries and give to a space the old fashion of an ancient palace, or make it more modern with simple texture and metal frames, or give it a vintage touch by inserting pastel colors and fabric parts, or even exaggerate with incredible complex textures engraved on wood or plaster.