Although screens form a comparatively small group of products, there are still many high-quality options for the consumer wishing to create soft, temporary space division in his or her interior. Aside from being decorative, screens can provide a higher degree of privacy and acoustic comfort, and increase the functionality of a given room without sacrificing flexibility and the overall sense of space.
The renowned Irish-born designer Eileen Grey designed her classic ‘Folding Screen’ in 1930, today manufactured by ClassiCon, combining a wooden frame with a metal mesh and uniting them in a high-gloss, lacquer finish. But it is probably the sinuous pinewood ‘Screen 100’, designed by the Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto in 1936 and manufactured to this day by Artek, that has become a modern icon.
Following in Aalto’s footsteps, Charles and Ray Eames designed the Vitra-produced ‘Folding Screen’ in 1946, whose wavy plywood panels are unfolded and positioned according to the client’s wishes. In 1997, Benjamin Thut traded wood for aluminium, but his Seledue|Seleform-produced ‘Paraflex screen’ supports storage shelves and racks within its curves. Recently, Frédéric Dedelley and Komplot design have returned to an acoustically ‘softer’ version of this modern classic, the former with his ‘Wogg 39’ for Wogg, constructed out of ash wood, while the latter’s ‘Room divider’ for GUBI owes its fuzzy look to the usage of felt PET fibres.
However, folding screens are also favoured by many. ‘Suzy Wong Screen’ by Kenneth Cobonpue and Gervasoni’s ‘Black 90’ screen, designed by Paola Navone, refer to the rich tradition of Asian screens with their natural materials such as rattan and bamboo, whereas ‘By-side’, designed by Patricia Urquiola for Bisazza, deconstructs the folding screen into many seemingly overlapping planes. In ‘Gold Folding screen’ by Boca do Lobo, rectangular planes are replaced by pebble-like disks, finished in gold leaf.
Countless other options exist as well, from Anya Sebton’s playful and bold ‘Loop floor screen’ for Abstracta, which weaves thick strands of fabric into a single metal frame, to the ‘Green Wall’, manufactured by Deesawat and designed by Koike Atsushi, which can accommodate small plants and personal objects.