2 a chest especially for storing valuables
- to put money or valuables in a coffer
- to decorate something, especially a ceiling, with coffers
A coffer (or coffering) in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault. A series of these sunken panels were used as decoration for a ceiling or a vault, also called caissons, or lacunaria, while a coffered ceiling was sometime called a lacunar. The stone coffers of the ancient Greeks and Romans are the earliest surviving examples. Wooden coffers were first made by the crossing the wooden beams of a ceiling in the Loire Valley châteaus of the early Renaissance.
Experimentation with the possible shapes of coffering, which solve problems of mathematical tiling, or tessellation, were a feature of Renaissance architecture. The more complicated problems of diminishing the scale of the individual coffers were presented by the requirements of curved surfaces of vaults and domes.
A prominent example of Roman coffering, employed to lighten the weight of the dome, can be found in the ceiling of the rotunda dome in the Pantheon, Rome.
coffer in Czech: Kazeta (architektura)
coffer in German: Kassettendecke
coffer in Spanish: Artesonado
coffer in Esperanto: Kasona plafono
coffer in Italian: Cassettone
coffer in Polish: Kaseton
coffer in Russian: Кессоны
coffer in Finnish: Kasetti (arkkitehtuuri)
coffer in Swedish: Kassettak
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