My childhood memory of rattan is a…pardon the pun…ratty Peacock Chair we had in the family home in the early 80s. Today, we are seeing a resurgence of sturdy, well-made, rattan furniture and wicker weaving. Just take a look at Tommy Bahama’s Island Estate furniture collection.
Why is this, I wondered?
Taking a quick look back in history we see that the craft of wicker weaving is from ancient times. Clearly prized, Tutankhamen, the boy king, had woven reed furniture buried with him. The Romans took a fancy to Egyptian furniture and spread the style throughout their empire.
But, it was in the 17th century when it began to look much like today. The Dutch saw it as appropriate for baby furniture, considering it as a healthful material, more breathable and comfortable than solid wood, and more hygienic than upholstery. Naturally with rattan and wicker being a pretty cheap natural fibre alternative to timber, helped.
This is where I believe it has come full circle to today!
Given forest degradation, the world has needed a viable alternative to timber. Rattan’s eco-credentials is it’s durability, ability to stand up to humidity, it can be grown without pesticides, it has a natural resistance to insects, and from an environmental stand point, is easy and quick to grow. All making it a very good eco-friendly, natural material, and alternative to timber.
The material’s only downside is it’s mostly grown in Asia. Consequently, there is a carbon footprint issue with it’s exportation to Australia, USA, Europe etc.
Rattan’s versatile style
Able to be bent, rattan takes on many wonderful, curving forms. As a material, rattan is affordable, lightweight, almost impervious, and is easy to move and handle.
In it’s light, golden colour, it brightens a room or outdoor environment and instantly conveys a feeling of a tropical paradise. Darker shades of rattan, convey a more Tribal feel.
Rattan is increasingly being seen in residential and commercial interiors as large statement ceiling pendants over kitchen island benches. Along, with it’s application in decor schemes to give either a Casual, Beach, Boho or Island/St Bart design aesthetic.
Statement pieces of rattan you can choose for your home now range from occasional chairs, dining chairs, bedheads, side tables, and side boards, through to the traditional outdoor sofas and delicious daybeds.
So, you can see it is very versatile, eco-friendly, and healthy, for your home.
Do you have a piece in your place?