Commonly used in architecture and of near-eastern origins, these screens are typically made of stonework or wood, in which has a pattern has been carved through to the other side, allowing light through whilst shielding from sight Jali screens. The ladies of the household would sit behind Jali screens to watch events and ceremonies in the street below – to see without being seen.
Piercing filters light in a magical way, creating delicate shadows that change as the outside light hits the window at changing angles, hiding an unsightly view, even mitigating the street lamp scourge, as the bright lights outside are muted into tiny pinpricks.
Any architectural or sculptural element that allows light to create pattern as it filters through is uplifting. Pierced screens create a beauty all their own. Who hasn’t looked up at a gothic church tower and enjoyed the form, the points of sky that show through the pierced, lacy elements in the design? And whether completely or partially open, the pattern and the mood engendered by the pierced elements around the arched mihrabs of Islamic is unsurpassed. Neither of these are screens, but when the idea is distilled into the scale of a screen the effect is as powerful, and as delightful.
For interior furnishings, pierced screens are a particularly useful and at the same time an especially beautiful option for a window that is overlooked or shows an ugly view. It’s a very effective and simple way to create a new atmosphere, a virtual block that is in fact everything but. What the light coming in gives to you and to the room is far greater than that which has been shut out – filtered – for reasons of privacy or for security.
We can do this fro ourselves by using either pierced wood, metal or textiles, either as fixed panels or within frames in shutter-type operations. To commission or by creating something simple, but unique, for ourselves.