Seagrass: The Material
In the costal waters of Indonesia, Thailand, and The Philippines grows the fibrous, durable water hyacinth known as seagrass. It often flourishes in underwater meadows that resemble grassy fields, but on land, it is a beloved material in the furniture industry. It has become increasingly popular for manufacturers who design eco-friendly furniture using natural materials. When used in its natural form, seagrass furniture has an island look. Similar to hand-woven wicker, woven seagrass is highly textured, and distinct strands have a sedgy, natural feel. But besides their artisanal aesthetic, seagrass furniture has been trending because of its durability. Known to last for decades, it requires little maintenance and care.
While its natural texture evokes a woven-coastal style, this material can also be woven into a thin wallpaper or shaped with a resin moulding for a modern look and application. These manufactured states of seagrass allow for variability in style, texture, and choice of products.
How Gabby Uses Seagrass
One of Gabby’s core values is “distinctiveness,” and we stay true to this mantra when designing our furniture. While we ensure our designs often look great with the latest trends, our products must always align with Gabby’s own unique look. So, while seagrass is gaining attention in the industry, our Gabby design team aims to incorporate this natural material into our eclectic furniture in a way that sets us apart. Below, we’ve listed three categories describing Gabby’s original use of seagrass in our products. We’re excited to share some insight into what makes our use of seagrass, like our value, distinctive.
1. Textured Look
When many companies use seagrass in their products, it has a beautifully tangible surface that offers interesting texture. Much like the appeal of woven wicker, the intricate pattern on molded seagrass enhances its unique character. However, overtly textured material often has consequences. For example, especially in the case of seagrass, it’s prone to dirt and dust that can hide in the crevices of the intricate material. At Gabby, our seagrass is coated with multiple layers of glossy resin. In addition to protecting the material, it provides a smooth surface. From a practical standpoint, it’s easy to clean. Stylistically, the smooth coating evokes a sleek, almost lacquered aesthetic that mixes well with our other products. Up close though it has a textured look, but a smooth feel– a seemingly paradoxical, but ideal combination that’s exclusive to Gabby.
Above, sample pieces of molded seagrass over an MDF base are paired side by side. The distinctive textural looks are evident. The left panel features a herringbone pattern with slight ribbing, while the right panel has a checkered design resembling the fabric of a Scottish tartan. Both surfaces are deceivingly smooth because of the layered resin.
These two transitional tables from Gabby look similar from a distance; they both seem to evoke a clean, simplistic design finished in white. But actually, they have distinct molding patterns of seagrass. The close-up view of the James Coffee Table reveals tightly woven squares of this natural material. Below it, the Phyllis chest has a concentric diamond motif. Complete with the top coating, this unique material does not fight with each piece’s metal accents. Instead, it creates harmonious contrast.
2. Distinctive Shapes
At Gabby, we’re thrilled by the potential of versatile materials like seagrass. The distinct resin molding allows for pattern variety so that every product has a unique feel. But in addition to differentiating patterns, our designers also diversify shapes. Typically, seagrass is used in furniture products such as tables and chairs. We’ve branched out from its traditional use, also incorporating seagrass into unconventional products such as large mirrors.
Above, the Ellie mirror features a white seagrass frame. The metal trim, including a Moorish outline around the mirror, are finished in bright “champagne gold.” The color and material contrast evoke a sophisticated, clean cut design.
Seagrass takes on a circular shape in the Fritz mirror. Transitional in style, it has an outline of metal “antique brass” that complements the woven texture.
3. Unique Colors
Although many Gabby products use white or beige seagrass because it mixes well with multiple metal finishes, we also ensure distinctiveness in our color options. Navy pieces have been gaining in popularity, and Gabby aims to delight our customers by responding to this color’s upward trend. As such, our hand-painted blue seagrass tables have been bestsellers.
In the lifestyle photo above, this small round drink table called Devin features a blue seagrass top. The gold finished metal base and frame against the navy brings out a regal, yet lively transitional look.
This close shot of the Jackie side table exemplifies the clean, smooth look of blue seagrass. The color contrast of gold and antique blue is a dynamic design, while textural consistency unifies the piece.
Beyond its benefits as a durable natural material, the real asset of seagrass is its incredible versatility. If navy blue is the latest color trend or if herringbone patterns are popular, seagrass adapts to meet customer preferences. To create navy, we hand apply this trending color to our pieces. To create more patterns, we’ll develop new resin moulding. In short, seagrass is timeless. It has the unique ability to transcend current trends by easily adapting to a variety of colors, shapes, and patterns. At Gabby, this aspect of seagrass is exciting. It means we can be creative with our designs without ever sacrificing quality and while always listening to customers.
One of our Gabby designers says that “the most fun part of seagrass is seeing different patterns in different pieces”. Because of the unique molds, colors, and shapes, it’s true that no two seagrass products are the same. But despite their varying attributes, there is a central factor that unites these products– they all embody Gabby’s value of distinctiveness. At Gabby, we value high-quality natural materials like seagrass, but even further, we aim to use this material in unique ways that delight our customers.
More information about unique Gabby materials:
Seagrass is only one material that Gabby uses in a unique way. Using a variety of other distinct materials, our designers explore contrasting combinations. For instance, faux shagreen, Lucite, cerused oak, and faux bone make up the table tops and drawers of many Gabby products. Consult the links below for more information on Gabby’s exclusive use of these materials.
- Gabby’s use of Eco-friendly reclaimed wood: gabbyhome.com/blog/whats-old-is-new-again-the-cyrano-coffee-table/
- What makes seagrass a unique material: gabbyhome.com/blog/exemplify-eco-friendly-living-with-gabbys-seagrass-furnishing/
- Unique materials like alabaster and faux shagreen in Gabby lighting designs: gabbyhome.com/blog/eclectic-lighting-using-unique-materials-from-gabbys-design-lab/
- A comprehensive guide to seagrass furniture, including a blog on related topics: seagrassfurniture.com/
- This year’s trends in interior design, including mixed metals and glossy finishes:gabbyhome.com/blog/design-trends-in-furniture-2016/