Faux Bois (fō bwah) ~ French for false wood, refers to the artistic interpretation of wood or wood grains in various media. The craft has its roots in the Renaissance with trompe-l’œil, but became popular when in 1875, Joseph Monier designed the first bridge of reinforced concrete, sculpted to resemble timbers and logs.
Faux bois was first crafted with concrete and mortar applied to a frame built of iron materials like chicken wire and barrel bands and sculpted by “rocailleurs” or French garden craftsmen to resemble lifelike representations of wood especially logs, roots, branches and bark. Most popular in the late 19th century through the 1940s, true faux bois has largely disappeared with the passing of those most experts.
I often see some of these remaining pieces- prized by collectors and usually planters, benches or birdbaths- at the Clignacourt flea market. Still haven’t figured how to get them home with me!
Today, faux bois effects can be achieved by painting, printing, or imprinting a design on textiles, home accessories, walls, and furniture.
Want to learn more about the technique and one of the artisans reviving the craft? See Logging Out- in Traditional Home.
What Goes Around; Comes Around
The classic motif is “hot” again especially when it comes to soft goods. We spotted rugs, bedding, pillows and fabrics at recent markets in High Point, Atlanta and Vegas. Think of it as Faux Bois Rebooted; the latest riffs are playful, imaginative and a great way to add texture and pattern in a room.
Moire, Faux Bois’s first cousin, is coming along for the ride back up the trend curve. Several A list editeurs (re)introduced moire earlier this year. Look for it to start popping up in your sample books soon.
These upholstered walls are stunning in Dedar’s Losange Moire.
Oh My Pillow
Spin City’s cotton print is available on Etsy.
Sew Faux ‘s chair cushion
I love these log bolsters; they are equally at home in a kid’s room or a luxe lodge.
Fresh interpretations for wallpaper- Piet Hein Eek’s photo realistic wood slices from his Scrapwood collection. Top: Farrow and Ball’s Parquet hand blocked design. Bottom: Graham and Brown’s planking says hand drawn.
Thibaut’s Eastwood wrapped drapery poles.
Schumacher’s take on the classic design in embossed velvet.
Faux Bois looks can range from quirky to sophisticated. Here Kelly Wearstler interprets the classic motif in a contemporary embroidery for Groundworks.