New Series: Illustrated Etymology: Enfilade

Today I’m starting a new series called Illustrated Etymology where I take a architectural, decor, or design term and tell you about the meaning, provenance and give you a little illustration to go along with it. A little snapshot of some of the things you learn in school but more fun than sitting through a lecture.  Today’s word is “Enfilade”.

Enfilade refers to a series of rooms or “salons”, as they were referred to back in the day, that are  formally aligned with one another. The use of enfilade begain in the Baroque period and was continually used in classical European architecture, especially in the grand palaces and governmental buildings of France and Italy.  Not only are the rooms themselves aligned one after the other on a long central axis, but the doors entering each room are also aligned on this same axis, providing an expansive view through the entire series of rooms. The use of enfilade creates a sense of grandeur and procession and is often an architectural device found in museums and public buildings, easing the movement of large numbers of people from one space into another.Here is an example of enfilade at Versailles.

Can you think of any spaces that you’ve been in recently that employ this technique?