Trellis Pattern Definition and DesignsBrittany Wittman McLaughlin
There is always the desire to bring the outdoors inside to our interior spaces. The garden as a source of design inspiration offers endless forms, colors, and textures that create a feast for the eyes and senses. A trellis (treillage) is an architectural structure, usually made from an open framework or lattice of interwoven or intersecting elements that are normally made to support and display climbing foliage. They were first invented by countryside gardeners who needed a way to support growing vines. King Louis XIV hired an architect to build one for his garden at Versailles.
William Morris is believed to be the first to create a printed trellis wallpaper in 1864. It was inspired by his Arts & Crafts style home, The Red House in Kent.
Borrowing the trellis from the garden, designers use the grid pattern to provide visual structure, while the organic elements of floral and foliage give the illusion of nature growing inside. According to Susan Meller’s incredible resource, Textile Designs, “These objects borrowed from the garden allow a designer to use a grid while giving the illusion of three-dimensionality.”
These designs are inspired by a variety of materials such as bamboo, sticks, and metal. Bamboo is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility, and it has come to represent harmony and balance in one’s life. As such, it is considered lucky in many Asian cultures.
The word trellis is also a bit interchangeable with lattice and that can be any lines that are interlacing and can be interpreted into more contemporary designs. Latticework can serve as a background or can be made a motif instead, wrapped in climbing vines and flowers.
Mellers also went on to say, “These patterns usually appear in home-furnishing fabrics rather than in apparel. Flowers are worn to decorate the human body after all; to reduce the body to be a support for flowers is to defeat the purpose.”
Today’s designs are simpler; much of the foliage has been removed and only the structure remains to showcase the linear, geometric quality of modern-day trellis patterns.