What the Pros Know Faux Bois on Capella Kincheloe Interior Design Phoenix

1. Kevin O'Brien Woodgrain Jacquard 2. Global Views Faux Bois Dining Table 3. Martha Stewart Layered Faux Bois Area Rug 4. Duralee Chun in Charcoal 5. Ross Sveback Dinnerware 6. Oly Studio Faux Bois Floor Lamp

PRONOUNCE: foe bwah

WHAT: In French, faux bois, literally mean false wood.  Items can be made to look like wood as in the lamp and table above or could be printed with a wood grain pattern.

HISTORY:  Not too long ago, a French gardener by the name of Joseph Monier created something called ferrocement or reinforced concrete.  Using concrete, sand and metal rods Monier could construct a relatively strong structure with layers of concrete that were much thinner than the usual at the time.  In 1875 Monier made the first bridge out of reinforced concrete and sculpted that concrete to look like…you guessed it: wood!  But it wouldn't be proper to mention faux bois without also mentioning trompe l'oeil, which is the art of creating an optical illusion and making a two-dimensional object appear that it has three and is real.  Trompe l'oeil means "to fool the eye" in French and has been around for centuries.  I would speculate at some point someone decided to paint an object so that it appeared to be wood, but was in fact, not wood, long before Monier crafted his concrete.  So while the term faux bois can refer to both the printing and sculpting of something to make it look like wood the techniques have different origins.

USES:  Faux bois is widely used now for textiles and wallpaper -- things that can be printed, rather than the sculpted materials from which it originated.  Faux bois can be used to give depth to a two-dimensional surface and can act in place of an animal print.  It's a hint at nature and not as trendy as say, chevron.

This is part of a series I contributed to La Dolce Vita, don't miss my latest installment and previous posts: Chintz & Cloisonné.

How would you most likely use faux bois?  Wallpaper, furniture, an entire sofa?