What Comes After Rattan? We Asked 4 Designers to Predict the Next Big Material
Look into their crystal balls.
Published Jun 28, 2019 7:00 AM
Up until the summer of 2016, rattan was considered a staple in vacation homes, best suited for screened-in porches and little more. Today, the woven material spans far beyond sunny verandas. From swing chairs and pendant lights to area rugs and ottomans, rattan furniture has fast become one of our favorite ways to achieve a sense of airiness or incorporate natural texture into a room. And while all signs point in a positive direction, we can’t help but wonder: What comes next?
We took our question to the people whose very job it is to be one step ahead of the game: interior designers. Here, four seasoned pros predict what the next It material will be.
“Tambour is a material that is poised for a comeback,” says Kele Dobrinski, one part of the husband-and-wife duo behind design studio Colossus Mfg. Like rattan, tambour really hit its stride in the ’50s and stuck around through the ’80s. Most commonly used as a decorative detail on the doors of credenzas and other curved surfaces (think: bread boxes), the ribbed treatment has a way of making a piece feel one of a kind. Take Anya Sebton and Eva Lilja Löwenhielm’s Palais Royal table, as seen in Garance Doré’s Mar Vista kitchen. The tambour drum base is the perfect complement to the striped linen and nude leather of the custom built-in banquette. That’s not to say you can’t go vibrant in the rest of the space. “The natural element easily complements pops of color without getting tired after a season,” says Dobrinski.
Rattan’s laid-back, low-maintenance vibes have made it a popular choice for informal areas like patios and living rooms, but Chango and Co. owner and creative director Susana Simonpietri is taking a different approach to go-with-the-flow living. “Lately, I’ve been replacing the casualness that rattan brings to a space with unglazed ceramics, and dressing them up with combinations such as short-pile cotton velvets,” she explains. The designer hopes to see rattan’s warm yellow and orange tones reimagined on vases and fabric swatches.
Woven Paper Cord
Portland, Maine–based designer Heidi Lachapelle predicts rattan will be replaced by a much softer material. “We all know and love rush-weave dining chairs (which will never go out of style), but I have been responding to more unexpected applications of paper cord,” she shares.
Unlike with rattan, your natural tendency is to run your fingers through these fibers, as if you were playing a string instrument. “Paper cord pieces feel sophisticated, casual, and downright cool,” adds Lachapelle. Her favorite designs all come in the form of seating: Norm Architects’s braid sofa, Gestalt’s Saga low chair, and Arthur Umanoff’s settee bench.
While Raili Clasen will always consider the breezy material a classic, the SoCal designer has been branching out by embracing a new generation of webbed furniture. “Nylon webbing, leather webbing, jute webbing—I love it for sofas and chair bases, or stretched on benches,” she says. So far, Clasen has been indulging her new obsession at a local level, sourcing pieces from Los Angeles–based makers like Croft House and Stephen Kenn. “I love the casual personality it brings to furniture,” she continues. “The end result is something that’s comfortable to sit on.”
It looks like rattan could have some serious competition.