Over the centuries the variety of materials and surfaces used, its multiple treatments and various shapes have made the screen a piece of furniture that is genuinely interesting and curious. Its versatility, movability and variety of shapes and colours make it an item suitable for any type of furniture. In fact it is possible to find screens of decorated or natural wood, bamboo, steel or wrought iron, paper or cardboard, fabric, glass or plexiglass. The strength of this simple but sought-after item of furniture lies in its ability to change the spatial arrangement of a room and decorate it with the beauty of a picture.
In this regard, someone defined the screen as something similar to and architecture, a sculpture, or even more appropriately as “a poetic space”. In modern times, the screen is used mainly for decorative purposes but at the same time it provides an elegant way to divide a room, creating private corners that are much loved above all by the female public.
So we can say that in spite of its ancient origins, the screen is a decidedly modern furniture item that fits in well with the lack of space that today results in dividing and separating a number of zones in the same room. In the end the screen is not just a question of pure decoration and personal taste but it is also unquestionably practical.
Its origins date back to the Han period of ancient China, later spreading to Japan, especially in the Momoyama period (16th century).
In Japan, screens usually consisted of 2-6 panels, some were richly decorated with landscapes or scenes of life. Genuine works of art were produced by Japanese painters such as Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610), Ike Taiga (1723-1776), Maruyama Okyo (1732-1795). These artists have recently been the subject of a successful exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery of Florence entitled “The Japanese Renaissance. Nature on painted screens from the 15th to the 17th centuries.”
In Europe the screen was already being used in the Middle Ages; for example it was used to separate the beds of aristocrats, when for some reason they had to stay in a single room, or it was used in churches at the side of the altar to protect the priests from drafts. However it was only in the 18th century that it acquired decorative importance when lacquered screens expertly decorated by important painters or made with fine fabrics became widespread.
In the eighteen hundreds the perfection of heating systems overshadowed the use of the screen which then seemed to be an almost useless item. It was only in the 20th century that it made a comeback thanks to the efforts of some artists that reaffirmed the ornamental aspect of the screen in furniture. For example, we could mention the portrait of Emile Zola painted by Eduard Manet in 1868, in which the French painter includes a Japanese screen on the right of the composition to stress the revolutionary importance of oriental culture in the new artistic and cultural movements of the late eighteen hundreds.
Perfect for separating areas in open space layouts or contemporary style lofts, the screen is an indispensable accessory for furnishing with an amazing impact and fine stylish details. Paolo Castelli SpA suggests that you get won over by Flare or Anodine, two original design screens that combine elegant finishes in dull, satin and polished gold with marked contemporary aesthetics.