For the uninitiated, rattan or ratan is the name for roughly 600 species of solid timber vine or Old World climbing palms and belongs to subfamily Calamoideae but is different from bamboo as its fibers vary greatly in length and width, depending on the species and time harvested. It is a type of reed-like wood that does not come from a tree but from the secondary growth like vines and stems that make the wood a liana hence, it is flexible and can be used in furniture production.
Rattan is employed in furniture, swings and sofa to provide an airy seating experience or in work drawers, bedside unit or as upholstery in cabinets, wardrobes and partitions. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Anupriya Sahu, Founder and Design Head of Alankaram, shared, “Rattan is a nostalgic sight in Indian interior decor and is constantly being reinvented. The braided wicker pattern has been an evergreen nuance in furniture design since its first use more than 200 years ago. The minimal yet captivating network of woven cane can be worked into most interior styles, where it imparts an old world charm.”
According to Sharika Sharma, Business Lead at Mangrove Collective, “Rattan weaving is a time honoured tradition in our country that has recently seen adaptations in luxury home furniture and decor. Being ubiquitous in the climate and context of India, the material is well suited for a tropical modern setup. An easily available natural material known for its strength and pliability and texture, rattan is well known for its versatility, creating vast opportunities for exploration.”
She added, “Rattan elements also lend visual lightness to the space. Lighting fixtures, partitions, planters and artwork apart from regular furniture can incorporate rattan to create inspired home decor looks. Rattan can easily be combined with timber and steel in one piece and explore various bends, cuts and weave permutations. When using this material, one is limited only by imagination and a combination of skilled craftsmanship and design vision can result in a truly bespoke, artisanal item.”
As the world is steadily moving towards an eco-friendly aesthetic derived from a neutral palette, incorporating a blend of various naturally occurring materials like rattan and wicker is trending in home and interior decor since these materials endow a quality of space that is aesthetically pleasing and classic along with the promise to stay in trend for years to come. Given its low maintenance quality, affordable pricing and high adaptability, rattan is suitable for indoor and outdoor usage and Disha Bhavsar and Shivani Ajmera, Principal Designers and Co-Founders of Quirk Studio, revealed some ways it can be amalgamated in home decor.
1. Furniture pieces are the most popular element where is rattan weaved into the body, especially chairs and tables. Due to its low maintenance property, most outdoor furniture pieces opt for rattan. This trend has made its way indoors, where interior spaces exhibit lounge chairs, consoles and even storage units with the material on the shutters, back supports and drawers.
2. A wardrobe shutter is another prominent place to showcase a beautiful rattan weave. Ideally, it should be sandwiched between glass panels to restrict dust from entering the storage unit. By doing this, the wardrobe becomes a statement in itself, adding character and dynamism to the space while being functionally sound.
3. Decor elements like table mats, pots and hanging lights in rattan are gaining popularity. Not only does its light colour complement most aesthetics, but the trinkets also are budget – friendly and can be used in multiple ways.
4. Another very popular way of using rattan is weaving them in the bed back and headboard of a bedroom. The different weaving patterns allow for an interesting play of texture and design while also staying visually subtle to create a peaceful ambience. Additionally, its easy to maintain property enables rough use and can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth.