Lauded for its strength and flexibility, rattan has long been fashioned into furniture, especially in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where it is found in abundance. While rattan furniture of the past tended to err towards an all-rattan aesthetic or rattan and hardwood combination, designers today are creating contemporary forms by coupling it with marble, leather, and steel.
While the vine-like member of the palm family can be easily painted or stained, modern designers such as Copenhagen-based outfit Gamfratesi prefer to let the natural patina of the material speak for itself. Instead, colour is introduced by way of vibrant upholstery or burnished metal. The neutral palette and textural appeal of rattan also lends itself well to muted pastels, an elegant pairing that visually subtracts weight from the heftiest of pieces.
Below, a look at some standout designs:
(Related: Inside the multimillion-dollar Morgan Penthouse in Hong Kong)