The term “credenza” seems like a pretty pretentious word, another name for what we commonly know as a sideboard, a buffet or a server. But why do we even have so many names for what seems to be one and the same thing? Even though the similarities are very numerous, there are also small details that distinguish each of these furniture pieces from the other similar options. Also, they’ve each come a long way since they were first invented and a lot of changes occurred over time.
Initially, a credenza used to be a furniture piece on which food that needed to be tested for poison was kept. This was a ritual done before serving important people and aristocrats. Back then, the credenza had no legs. More modern designs such as the one for the Blade Credenza, show a few design transformations. This one has large doors made from a single board of elm wood and brass door pulls. It sits on a steel frame plated in antique brass and this offers it a slim figure.
The terms credenza, sideboard, buffet, server and even console are used interchangeably nowadays by both furniture makers and shops. The distinctions between these pieces which were once defining are now mere formalities, often overlooked. Still, some details are still there. The Odessa cabinet is closer to being a sideboard than to anything else. It has elegant, sharp, tapered lines and polished bronze top and sides.
Sideboards usually have short legs and in some cases they even go all the way down to the floor. Also, the traditional kind sometimes featured a hutch at the top which was used for the display of China and other things. Modern sideboards such as this one from Fiona McDonald have little in common with the original designs. Nevertheless, they keep alive the spirit and charm of this furniture piece. The term sideboard is the most widely used one from the ones previously mentioned.
This stylish design by Zelouf + Bell also displays the common characteristics on a sideboard although the term credenza could describe it just as well. It sits on elegant legs and it has generous storage compartments. It’s a piece of furniture that could be displayed in the dining room but also in the living space.
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