Design trends from Milan: Rattan

10.05.13

The second instalment of our Milan Design Trends series

A retro classic heads the second instalment of our Milan Design Trends series:

Rattan production in South East Asia
Wicker production in South East Asia

Wicker furniture featured heavily at this year’s Milan Design Festival, signalling a rattan revival. Rattan provides a significant source of income for rural populations in South East Asia and gained prevalence in the 1970s; an era when western civilisation looked to these cultures for spiritual teachings and inspiration. Today, South East Asia has one of the fastest growing economies of the developing world, putting the region – and rattan – back on the (trend) map.

Grand Cabinets by Mathieu Gustafsson and Niklas Karlsson - Milan Design festival 2013
Grand Cabinets by Mathieu Gustafsson and Niklas Karlsson

Whilst wicker can be woven in numerous styles and patterns, it is the classic pattern of square grids and circular voids that really caught our eye in Milan. For those of you who are familiar with that adult 1970s movie Emmanuelle, think back to that rattan peacock chair, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Reminiscent of an era famous for flares, acid and Saturday Night Fever, is it a wonder that – with current woes of economical uncertainty and the like – we are keen to look back at yesteryear (albeit through rose-tinted spectacles) and remember the ‘good ol’ days’?

(find designer
Rattan chairs by Gallotti & Radice

Retro and stylish, rattan reminds us of a more carefree era and is associated with distant tropical lands, making it a great 1970s comeback kid. Unlike, for example, Smash ‘potato’ or stretch jumpsuits… for men.