Shoji Screens — Back Bay Style

Shoji Screens — Back Bay Style

Stained Maple Shoji panels with a light filtering insert

Stained Maple Shoji panels with a light filtering insert (made in Hawaii), installed with a custom white oak bottom track to match the floor.

When it comes to window treatments, Shoji screens are one of the hardest working options you can choose. The soft glow of a Shoji screen can give a space multiple functions, create a feeling of tranquility, and offer privacy, all while adding some major style. While it was China that introduced the Shoji back in the 8th century A.D., it was Japan, who treated them as the power player they are — using them in a variety of ways from decorative room division (they were frequently painted with traditional scenes or those from nature), to the back drop for performances or tea ceremonies. Frank Lloyd Wright, named “the greatest architect of all time” by the American Institute of Architects, became enamored with Japanese architecture during a trip there in 1905, and popularized Shoji designs in the States in the early part of the 20th century.

We think Mr. Wright would be happy with the great updates we’ve made to the traditional Shoji panel, making them even more functional and personalized for the way we live today. We use  synthetic fiber glass based rice paper, which is extremely durable, as well as laminates that are available in a huge variety of patterns, colors, and textures, offering you endless style options. Both of these synthetic inserts can be wiped down easily and will virtually last forever (unlike traditional rice paper, which must be replaced yearly). As for Shoji construction, we figured out a way to make that even better too!  We insert the rice paper or laminate into a slot that starts at the top of the Shoji panel and runs down to the bottom, so the screen looks identical from both sides of the Shoji panel.

We’ve even motorized Shoji screens. Working with designer Nancy Barnard of HK Designs, we created motorized Shoji pocket doors offering her client the option of privacy from a public beach. Motorizing the Shoji screens made it simple and dramatic to push a button and see the beach magically appear, as the Shoji panels seamlessly retracted behind the walls.

Shoji screens have changed enormously from their primitive beginnings, offering any interior a wide range of flexible and stylish uses.

Categories: Shades and Shojis, Trends