The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - The Telegraph Magazine

New-wave wicker

Twenty years ago cane furniture was considered naff – good only for suburban conservato­ries. But with the growing interest in craft and sustainabi­lity, it’s weaving its way into the most stylish rooms. By Fiona Mcauslan


A 1970s look is back with a contempora­ry spin

CANE FURNITURE IS making a comeback. Light, affordable and easy to move, it became popular in Britain in the 19th century, but the mass-produced variety hit a style slump in the 1970s and ’80s when it became synonymous with the suburban conservato­ry. Now, though, it has cast aside its retro connotatio­ns, and a wave of forward-thinking designers has given this most enduring of crafts new energy by applying the latest technology and reviving ancient techniques.

‘Cane’, ‘rattan’ and ‘woven’ are often used interchang­eably, but the difference­s are distinct. Used genericall­y, ‘woven’ and ‘wicker’ refer to furniture part or wholly woven in a pattern from materials such as paper cord, rush, straw or raffia. ‘Cane’ usually refers to outer bark harvested from the southeast Asian rattan plant, which is split into narrow skeins and woven together. Traditiona­lly it’s from this that the distinctiv­e six-way pattern, the web of lacelike holes that people generally associate with cane furniture, is made.

The earliest examples of the six-way pattern go back to 250 BCE China, where it is thought to have been invented, but a look around recent design and furniture exhibition­s such as Milan’s Salone del Mobile and the London Design Festival – and, indeed, a visit to high-street furniture shops – shows that rattan and other woven styles are in the ascendancy once more.

Paul Huggins, from the design shop SCP, credits the revival as part of the shift towards pieces that marry natural materials and a hand-crafted finish, as the market turns its back on the hard-edged gloss that manufactur­ing brought to the design world at the turn of the millennium.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom