Among the pieces of furniture which Maarten Baas set on fire in 2002 as part of his Smoke series, besides a number of great furnishing classics, there is an old Venetian-style cabinet. The iconoclastic boldness of the young Dutch designer, eager to break with the older generations, didn’t randomly choose to strike this piece of furniture which has always been a constant presence in homes of all kinds, from the humblest to the noblest ones.
An emblem of the most essential functionality, used to store away any type of object, the sideboard is the piece of furniture that, more than any other, is the symbol of domestic order. Before the industrial revolution, artisans had always decorated its doors, often with symbols of local culture and craftsmanship. With the rise of decorators and designers, this characteristic became less and less relevant, linking itself to the personality of the individual interpreter and to a constant oscillation between solutions devoted to linearity or hyper-decorative maximalism.
After years of modular kitchens and storage systems, which seemed to have reduced the old sideboard to a thing of the past, in the last few years it’s made quite the comeback. The sideboard has regained verve, colour and decorative splendour. However, its nature as a volume designed to ensure order seems to have been put on the back burner. Rather, its new sophistication seems to be turning it into an object of attention, especially in bigger houses – yet another oscillation of the pendulum, destined to make it stand out without shadows or compromises.