Rattan furniture has certainly regained the design spotlight of late, appearing in endless stylish homes and hospitality spaces. Since it graced the verandahs of colonial bungalows in India, Asia and other tropical climes in the 19th century, the natural charm of rattan furniture has had many a revival – and at Mesh we’ve curated the styles of many eras for designers to mix and match with ease.
The terms rattan and wicker are often used interchangeably, but in fact wicker is a weaving process dating back centuries while rattan is a vine that grows prolifically in South-East Asia. Unlike bamboo, which is also used to make furniture, rattan has a strong core and is very durable. The solid core of the rattan vine is harvested along with vertical grains and is cut into smaller sections then steamed into various shapes, giving many design possibilities, while the outside skin or peel is often used to bind the furniture joints together or create woven cane panels.
So rattan furniture is crafted out of rattan only, while wicker furniture can be crafted from many materials, including bamboo, reeds, seagrass, willow, water hyacinth, rattan and even synthetic materials for outdoor use.
Importantly, rattan is a fast growing, sustainable material that can be readily harvested without harm to the tropical forests in which it grows. Much of the rattan harvested is now Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and the manufacturing process used to make rattan furniture does not require chemicals or energy. This genuine renewable resource is also recyclable and biodegradable.
At Mesh Furniture, we’ve sourced some of the highest quality rattan and wicker furniture from around the world in a range of classic and modern styles.