There are a few local/native plant materials used here that effortlessly fulfill a growing global desire for products that are natural, eco friendly and sustainable. In the case of rattan, a fast growing jungle weed, a couple more labels can be attached, handmade and vintage/heritage. To this day the steaming, bending and weaving of canes requires an artisanal hand. The catalogue of classic designs made from this material is substantial- my particular favorites are steamer loungers from the thirties, french baroque pieces with woven inserts, mid century modern shapes like the one pictured and of course the iconic three piece tropical lounge set replete with tropical motif covered cushions. Add washable natural fiber cushion covers and latex cushions to the latter and you have another label, hypoallergenic.

The material is nowhere near as prevalent as it was in my childhood when rattan furniture was ubiquitous in almost every home, the wet markets would be filled with shoppers carrying rattan baskets to port their wares home where they also scratched their backs and swatted flies with gadgets fashioned out of this material. The baskets, it could be reasonably argued, are unnecessarily heavy in comparison to the plastics that have replaced them. However the airy design of rattan furniture, the dry cool touch of the material itself justifies a lament for it's decline and replacement with entirely inappropriate ( if not aesthetically then, certainly functionally) upholstered western style furniture.

I have to admit there are rattan pieces that I don't like - top of my list would be the wicker laundry basket that has become the staple of container and budget furniture stores everywhere. Therein probably lies the reason for the decline of rattan furniture here- it became too common and is percieved to be old fashioned and cheap. A quick search on the internets yielded a couple of designs that were pretty cool and certainly not cheap like this and these.

All Posts: