The Indoor Rattan Furniture Trend Is Booming

When Athena Calderone designed her very first collection for Crate and Barrel, she had to include one material: rattan.

She said the strong palm wood was the perfect complement to the sleek base of her 1950s French-inspired iron floor lamp, cleverly accentuating her angular, sea-green lamp with an Amagansett aesthetic. “I wanted something that felt like it came from the earth,” she says. “Rattan felt like something that had the texture and warmth that should counterbalance the other smoother elements.” She carefully developed woven, knotted shades from this natural material, whose gentle imperfections contrast playfully with the dark, elongated ones Form shapes underneath.

On September 14, she debuted her collection at a cocktail party during New York Fashion Week. The handmade rattan umbrellas included everyone from Laura Kim of Oscar de la Renta to Jason Wu to AD100 designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent.

Athena Calderone isn’t the only tastemaker drawing inspiration from the material. Robert McKinley, founder of Studio Robert McKinley (the design firm behind Hotel Kinsley and Sant Ambroeus), designed an elegant rattan lamp in his recently acclaimed debut of the Monea furniture collection. Like Calderone, he was drawn to the “casual elegance” of rattan and combined it with hand-blown Murano glass.

“I love the rustic quality of the material that is crafted into the elegant shapes of furniture, lighting and objects,” says McKinley. “There’s something effortless, something timeless that works in so many situations. I love the combination of these two materials.”

Then there is the return of cult Italian brand Gabriella Crespi from the 1970s. In April, her daughter brought her 1972 Bohemian collection, previously made only for private customers, into production at Gubi for the first time. It consists of rattan chairs, lamps and sofas with bronze accents. “I wanted to create the House of the Sun,” Crespi previously said about Bohemian 72. “I couldn’t help but do it with rattan and bamboo, materials that I like very much and that combine strength and flexibility, warmth.” soft tones and the ability to be penetrated by light. Very long spokes give the impression of the infinite and indefinite, just as in nature the sugar cane thicket reaching into the sky does.” (Both McKinley and Calderone express their admiration for Crespi’s work and are inspired by it: “The house of “Gabriella Crespi is an icon and the perfect example of how luxurious rattan can feel,” says McKinley.)

Why exactly is this material coming back on the scene now?

As with so many interior design trends, its resurgence has its roots in the pandemic. With people spending extended periods of time indoors and literally staring at the walls, they began to crave natural materials associated with the tranquility of nature. Rattan, which comes from tropical trees, fits the bill. “I think there is something very comfortable and simple about the material. “I think people are looking for things that aren’t fussy or over-the-top, and they’re drawn to how effortless rattan can be,” says McKinley. “There is a preference for natural materials and natural colors. It connects people to nature while still feeling special and sophisticated.” In fact, in a Fall 2022 report from Chairish, they listed natural and handcrafted woods as a trend, a category that rattan technically falls into since it comes from a Southeast Asian palm species is derived.