As a cousin to wicker and raffia, the durably consistent material has often taken a back seat, opting for a spot in the sunroom and covered back porch. Just in time for the new fall market introductions at High Point, Gabby introduces new rattan pieces – chairs, bar and counter stools- and reinvents a few bestsellers with an attractive facelift.
First, a quick history lesson. This material has been around since the dawn of mankind and first introduced to America during our nation’s early days by colonists who brought chairs and baskets upon their arrival. Originally made and exported from Indonesia, Japan and Singapore also became furniture production centers. Considered one of nature’s strongest materials, rattan is resilient (making it hard to break), pliable (easy to shape) and requires little maintenance. It’s the perfect material!
Interior designers love rattan for its versatility and its definitely enjoying a resurgence since the 70s, particularly with the popularity of the trends of Boho Chic and indoor/outdoor living. As with wood, rattan can easily be treated with a stain or painted finish. Chairs, coffee and end tables tend to be the most popular uses, immediately bringing a natural organic touch to any room (its derived from the palm family). While a tried-and-true material for indoor-outdoor use, a pop of rattan can bring a relaxed sophistication to any room, immediately toning down any formality. Dallas designer Carolyn Hrncir of A Well Dressed Home favors rattan “for an added touch of texture and warmth. It goes great in a beach house or a more casual setting.“ And Gabby furniture designer Kai-ning Huang notes, “Our rattan chairs can be used in both modern style and traditional style settings. It also softens a room from most of the other materials.”
Gabby’s new introductions are rattan pieces with metal or rattan and wood frames and also the addition of leather binding and/or straps. The pieces are made special by the use of a mix of tone on tone colors and unique as the skin of the rattan stalk is used which attributes to the natural appearance. Product standouts include the Tessa and Mori dining chairs that are made of natural and black rattan and compatible with just about any look. “We like to differentiate our Gabby rattan products with others by playing around with tone on tone finishes. We like to mix natural, brown, gray and black in our pieces to make them special, “ says Huang. “The two rattan chairs in our line (Tessa and Mori) have always been our top sellers. It’s a natural material that is flexible so you can play with its shape and structure.” Hilary Park, furniture and product designer with Gabby concurs, detailing Rattan’s curved and rounded features “offsets the linear lines of our casegoods and tables” and notes that the line denotes a feeling of Cuba and Miami in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Woven furniture will continue to popular as the material adds an instant texture to just about any space. And best of all, it’s a trend that is timeless, what can be better than that?
About Cathy Whitlock: Cathy is a lecturer, consultant, magazine features writer and the author of the books Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper Collins, 2010) and re-de-sign (Fairchild Books/Conde Nast, 2009). A contributing writer for The Hollywood Reporter, American Airlines Celebrated Living and Traditional Home, her design, film, travel, celebrity and lifestyle profiles have appeared in Architectural Digest, Capitol File, Glamour, Veranda and The Huffington Post. She also served as Editor-in-chief of LuxPop! and content developer for the luxury site RubyLUX and is currently features editor for Manhattan’s Array Magazine.