Weave some magic

No longer con­fined to retro schemes and con­ser­va­to­ries, na­ture’s most versatile ma­te­ri­als, such as rat­tan, are now mak­ing a stylish come­back, says GABRIELLE FA­GAN

Gloucestershire Echo - - PROPERTY NEWS -

WE’RE all wak­ing up to the magic of weave, with rat­tan – that blonde, slim, easy-on-the eye ma­te­rial – en­joy­ing a starring role in homes right now. Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram are full of stun­ning ex­am­ples of how rat­tan can lend a ‘wow’ fac­tor in a way that solid wood simply can’t, and it’s totally in tune with our grow­ing de­sire for nat­u­ral prod­ucts and or­ganic de­signs in our liv­ing spa­ces. Rat­tan was a huge hit in the Seven­ties, a trend that stuck for at least a decade, and has en­dured as a sta­ple of the con­ser­va­tory – but per­ish the thought that this is just a pre­dictable rein­car­na­tion. De­sign­ers have so trans­formed it, with punchy colour and imag­i­na­tive chic new shapes, that pieces are good-look­ing enough to be fo­cal points in all ar­eas of the home. Not only that, they’re seem­ingly so en­tranced by all things woven right now, they’ve also turned their cre­ative at­ten­tions to raf­fia, bamboo, and even sim­ple straw. “Rat­tan re­ally is the ‘su­per food’ of the

home­ware world,” de­clares Sophie Garnier, founder of Kalinko (kalinko.com), specialist­s in hand-woven rat­tan furniture and ac­ces­sories made in Burma. “Prac­ti­cally, the ma­te­rial is solid all the way through the vine, which makes it in­cred­i­bly strong, and its flex­i­bil­ity means it can be woven into any shape. It also ac­cepts paints and stains like wood, so can be made in a va­ri­ety of colours and fin­ishes.” Not least, it’s a good choice, Sophie points out, if you want to bur­nish your eco­cre­den­tials. “It grows very quickly all year round and is har­vested with­out harm­ing the tree and also grows back very en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, so an A-star for sus­tain­abil­ity,” she en­thuses. Light­weight yet sturdy, it can also look fresh and modern de­pend­ing on the shape and fin­ish you choose, notes Sophie. Sum­ming up its ap­peal, she says: “It brings the essence of the out­doors in­side, which is very sooth­ing and, while an ob­vi­ous choice in the sum­mer, will look great all year round in both clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary homes.” What are you wait­ing for? Work the weave at home, with a va­ri­ety of beau­ti­ful prod­ucts...

MIX ‘N’ MATCH

DOU­BLE up for max­i­mum ef­fect – two chairs are bet­ter than one be­cause they’ll look as though you’ve com­mit­ted to a style, rather than bought a ran­dom piece. If you want to make a state­ment, choose a rocker or a clas­sic Pea­cock-style chair. The lat­ter with its high back, which is also called a fan chair, orig­i­nated in the Philip­pines and its strik­ing style has featured in many iconic photograph­s over the years.

KEEP IT LIGHT

WOVEN furniture won’t dom­i­nate a space, which makes it ideal for com­pact spa­ces and es­pe­cially good for renters as it’s eas­ily trans­portable, says Kate But­ler, head of prod­uct de­sign at Habi­tat. “Fast-grow­ing ma­te­ri­als like rat­tan and bamboo are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing key ma­te­ri­als for us, and we’re in­cor­po­rat­ing these strong and light­weight ma­te­ri­als into more modern de­signs that take ad­van­tage of their ver­sa­til­ity,” she ex­plains. “They al­low us to cre­ate more in­ter­est­ing 3D shapes, from fluid curves to an­gu­lar forms, so we’re mov­ing away from tra­di­tional rat­tan as­so­ci­a­tions – which con­fined it to the con­ser­va­tory – to more in­spi­ra­tional, con­tem­po­rary ideas for the home that al­low you to add more per­son­al­ity to a space.” She high­lights the Na­dia bed­frame (de­signed by Matthew Long), made from four in­di­vid­ual rat­tan sec­tions which clip to­gether for easy assem­bly, and Habi­tat’s range of rat­tan light shades, which simply fit over a bulb.

Rat­tan furniture en­hances an airy, min­i­mal­ist set­ting

Zamba bamboo pen­dant lamp­shade £59, Trouva; Kingston round white din­ing ta­ble, 90cm, cur­rently re­duced to £149.99 from £249.99, Furniture Choice

Na­dia nat­u­ral hand­wo­ven rat­tan bed frame, from £550, Habi­tat

(On wall) Olli Ella mini chari bag, rose, £35 and (on floor) Olli Ella Piki pic­nic bas­ket, rose, £29, Hurn & Hurn; pink rat­tan kids sto­rie stool, cur­rently re­duced to £49.49 from £51.99, Trouva.com

Pear braided storage bas­ket, large, £75, Cloud­berry Liv­ing STORE & STUN WE CAN never have enough storage, but there’s no rea­son it should be bor­ing. Turn it into eye candy with wicked weaves fea­tur­ing soft, blush­ing shades, which can hold ev­ery­thing from house­hold essen­tials to toys.

Jax bamboo & rat­tan bas­kets, set of two, £135, Perch & Par­row

Open weave bas­ket, large, £70, small £50, Gar­den Trad­ing

Mar­gate rat­tan easy-to-fit ceil­ing shade, £70, Habi­tat

Elm­ley rat­tan easy-to-fit ceil­ing shade, £90, Habi­tat

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