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Fir wood paneling from 1521 from the former Oetenbach monastery , now in the National Museum Zurich

With paneling (also Tafelwerk , panel-like , wall paneling , wainscot , Switzerland .: Täferung or Panels ), the wooden wall or ceiling paneling referred interiors, which, as Raumschmuck for insulation can be used or to protect the underlying layers. Until the 18th century, such wood paneling was widespread in interior design and experienced in the course of historicism with the style of the neo-Renaissanceanother brief bloom. Exterior facades are also less often paneled, historically this was common in eastern Switzerland.

Paneling was used in buildings built with rubble stones as well as in half-timbered or brick buildings.

In the simplest case, paneling is made up of wooden boards - the panels - which are attached to a substructure made of strips or slats and whose abutting edges are often covered with an attached decorative strip for aesthetic reasons. The panels, which are designed as frame-infill constructions (cassette construction) , are of higher quality . The paneling on a wall is often structured vertically by pillars , columns or pilasters .

Paneling was already in use in ancient times, especially in Mesopotamia , but these are only preserved in fragments today. The oldest paneling that still exists in its entirety is preserved on medieval castles , where it served as insulation against the cold. For this purpose, boards with a width of up to one meter were positioned on base friezes and another frieze was attached over the panels . When cladding ceilings, the panels were attached to the ceiling beams with decorative nails . In the late Middle Ages it was customary to combine paneling with furniture by incorporating built-in cupboards or benches into them.

In addition to the purely functional task of paneling, the aspect of room decoration was added as early as the Renaissance . The wood was now provided with decorative carvings and inlays - or marquetry - work , often also painted or even gilded. Above all, Scandinavia, England and Northern Germany were artistically leading. A particularly elaborate and artistically designed paneling is also called boiserie or boisage after its models in French palace buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries . During the baroque and rococo periods , it was often common to have the paneling and furniture for a room made by the same cabinet maker in order to coordinate the design.

In the Rococo period, wooden wall cladding lost its original function as thermal insulation and, for reasons of fashion, was only made up to a maximum of half the height of the room. The upper now free wall surface was instead provided with wall or panel paintings , covered with wallpaper or covered with tapestries . Such height-reduced paneling is known as lambris and, in addition to the decorative purpose, had the task of protecting a wall from mechanical damage, for example from furniture or pedestrian traffic.

In the Alpine region, the function of thermal insulation has been preserved up to modern times and is continued in the form of the “Zirbenstube”. This room is the " parlor " in an Alpine house, which is paneled with Swiss stone pine .

An Eastern Swiss specialty is the cladding of the front facades of houses with chiseled paneling, as it emerged in the second half of the 18th century and, in addition to protecting and insulating, was initially primarily used as an architectural stylistic device. The buildings erected after the conflagration of 1780 on the village square of Gais in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden were equipped with a front panel.

See also: coffered ceiling , planking , formwork (cladding)


  • Isabell Hermann: The farmhouses of both Appenzell. Appenzell Ausserrhoden / Appenzell Innerrhoden . Appenzeller Verlag, Basel 2004, ISBN 3-85882-387-2 .
  • Hans-Joachim Kadatz: Sailor international architectural lexicon of A to Z . Tosa, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-85492-895-5 , p. 237.
  • Ulrich Schießl (Ed.): Painted wooden ceilings and paneling . Haupt, Bern [ua] 1987, ISBN 3-258-03849-X .

Web links

Commons : Paneling  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Brigitte Langer: Furniture . In: Werner Paravicini (ed.): Courtyards and residences in the late medieval empire. Images and terms . Residency research Volume 15 II. Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 978-3-7995-4519-8 .
  2. The French word "bois" means "wood".
  3. ^ I. Hermann: The farmhouses of both Appenzell , pp. 146–148.