As with most designers there is bound to be “one weapon of choice” — for us, that ‘weapon’ has always been rattan. Having been around for over the past decade we challenge the many beliefs, that rattan is too outdated and out-of-style.
Originated from Southeast Asia rattan is inherently a tropical palm tree. There are over two hundred known species of rattan palms 1 and Indonesia is one of the largest centers of rattan palms diversity.
The Calamus caesius is considered the finest rattan available. The natural rattan has wide-ranged colors, from dull red-brown to pale yellow, but they are all tough and durable with long joints. The most-used part of rattan palm is its stem which has variable length and thickness. Depending on the species, the thickness can be as thick as a man’s arm. Their solid stems means an easier manipulation into different shapes, yet the strong core makes them extremely hard to break.
We use locally sourced rattan for our products, both synthetic and natural. The most used synthetic rattan in our work is the PE (polyethylene) rattan. Depending on the needs, pieces of synthetic rattan furniture are more resistant to outdoor elements, such as water, moisture, UV light. They also have a higher resistance to wear and tear and more ease of maintenance, compared to their natural counterparts – synthetic rattan furniture need only occasional cleaning with mild soapy water.
In our design work we combine rattan with other materials: wood, leather, metal, brass. And we then turn them into valuable pieces through which we propose a contemporary approach to, not only, Indonesian design in general, but also specifically to rattan as a material.
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1 Bruce Miller, The Caner’s Handbook: A Descriptive Guide With Step-By-Step Photographs for Restoring Cane, Rush, Splint, Danish Cord, Rawhide and Wicker Furniture (Asheville: Lark Books, 1991)