The 1970s wicker trend, in which rattan material was used, is making a comeback
The word “wicker” might bring on flashbacks of the dusty rattan seating sets of the ’70s and ’80s or the last wicker crush in the ’90s, but today’s wicker – the technique of weaving reeds and other natural fibres (such as rattan) into furniture and accessories – is worth reconsidering.
The revival uses clean silhouettes, with a rich tapestry of intermingled weaves and textures to give a sleek yet bold look.
Wicker is older than any fad, after all. Just remember that a modern take on woven natural materials is best done judiciously. Add one or two natural elements and pair them with, say, upholstered chairs to get a good mix going on.
“It’s really about the balance of hard and soft, warm and cold,” says Elisa Shankle, who is the founder and principal of Simplexity Designs.
Adding a dash of rattan or sweet grass is a way to unlock today’s hottest home design trends.
“People are tired of the matchy-matchy look,” says interior designer Barbara Brown. “They’re more interested in the layered and collected-over-time look.”
Not only are natural fibres getting a wake-up with new wicker techniques, but an old favourite material of the ’70s – rattan – is making a big comeback. Once synonymous with that era’s bulky garden furniture, rattan has come full circle with a dazzling resurgence. Its new, modern shapes prove it can move in stride with the zeitgeist and, according to Habitat’s creative director Polly Dickens, it is here to stay.
“It’s a great eco-material as a sustainable resource that allows real flexibility for design, so we will certainly be seeing it again – with the use of a little colour to give added edge.” Growing between trees in diverse forests across Asia, Africa and Australia, rattan is indeed an eco-friendly material.
In addition, its malleable and light qualities mean rattan can be easily melded into a range of imaginative and flamboyant designs.
Rattan furniture initially gained popularity in Britain in the late 1800s. Trade opened up with south-east Asia and natural plant products, such as cane, became more easily imported to the UK, which led the way for experimentation in crafting these materials.
Despite rattan’s modern overhaul, many of today’s designs still have an air of the past.
The Independent and Washington Post