Rattan Furniture Trends through History


From a botanical perspective, rattan is a term describing several hundred climbing plant palms that originated in Southern Asia. However, from a social and economic perspective, rattan is a material to create various woven objects, including furniture.

Early Uses of Rattan in Furniture

The word “wicker” has its roots in Scandinavia, derived from the words “wika” which means “to bend” and “vikker” which means “willow.” Wicker weaving is a traditional craft that dates back centuries, with woven items discovered in the ancient Egyptian tombs of Pharaohs. While baskets were one of the earliest forms of rattan wicker crafts, the Romans were inspired by the strength of this material and the weaving technique and brought it back to their empire. Over time, rattan weaving became popular throughout the kingdom, with people refining the method.

By the 17th century in Northern Europe, the rattan crafts looked very similar to what we see today. As trade between the Western world and Asia increased, rattan was imported to Britain. The Victorian Era saw a flourishing development of rattan crafts, woven into all sorts of sophisticated furniture and crafts such as chairs, loungers, cabinets, lampshades, hampers, table mats, frames, trays, and balls. Many people believe that colonisation brought rattan crafts to America, where they became popular.

Leisure Touch factory-victorian wicker chair
Victorian wicker chair. Source: 1stdibs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, rattan enjoyed a surge in popularity. Rattan design went through two stages: the overly sophisticated Victorian style, and the return of the Renaissance style. During this time, it became very popular in home decor. In particular, Gabriella Crespi and Marella Agnelli were two leading design and style icons who blurred the lines between bourgeois taste and modern art. Crespi was an Italian designer famous for her organic, sculptural designs, while Agnelli was an Italian heiress and socialite with a keen eye for design. Both women were instrumental in bringing rattan furniture into the world of high fashion and luxury interiors.

Mid-Century Modern Rattan Furniture

Mid-century modern rattan furniture design is characterized by the use of natural materials in creative ways. One designer who embodies this style is Franco Albini. Albini, an Italian architect and designer, was a pioneer in the use of rattan in furniture design. He found ways to incorporate this versatile material into his creations in ways that were both functional and aesthetically pleasing. One example of Albini’s work is the “Margherita” armchair, which features a complex woven rattan seat and backrest. Albini’s innovative designs continue to influence furniture makers today, as they seek to balance functionality and beauty in their own creations.

New Directions in Rattan Furniture Design

As the demand for sustainable materials continues to rise, rattan is becoming more popular in contemporary furniture design. Today, designers are exploring new ways to incorporate rattan into their creations, from using it as an accent material to creating entire pieces out of rattan.
One star designer who has embraced this trend is Kenneth Cobonpue. Cobonpue is a Filipino designer known for his innovative use of natural materials in his furniture designs. His famous work, the rattan “Yoda” chair, features a unique shape that resembles the iconic Star Wars character. The chair is not only a functional piece of furniture but also a work of art showcasing rattan’s beauty and versatility.

Other contemporary designers are experimenting with rattan in new ways, such as combining it with other sustainable materials like bamboo or using it to create intricate patterns and textures. With its timeless appeal and eco-friendly properties, rattan is sure to continue inspiring designers for years to come.

Synthetic Rattan

Good rattan furniture cannot be achieved without high-quality rattan material. The durability and beauty of the final product depend on the quality of the material used.

In addition to natural rattan, synthetic rattan is increasingly popular due to its many apparent merits. Synthetic rattan is made from polyethene, a durable and weather-resistant material that is easy to clean and maintain. It can be moulded into various shapes and sizes, allowing designers to create furniture with intricate designs and patterns. Synthetic PE rattan is also more affordable than natural rattan, making it a popular choice for those on a budget. Despite its synthetic composition, it can still provide the same aesthetic appeal as natural rattan while being more environmentally friendly. As a result, it has become a popular choice for outdoor furniture, as it can withstand exposure to the elements without deteriorating.

Where to Buy Plastic Rattan Material

Most reputable plastic rattan material suppliers are based in Asia, like Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and China.

LTR is one of South China’s largest plastic PE rattan material producers. Our company has over 30% of the market share domestically, and we take pride in offering a vast selection of over 10,000 rattan designs. Check out these designs in our rattan showrooms, and we consistently develop one to two new rattan designs every month to keep up with the latest market trends.

We understand that choosing the right rattan can be a difficult decision, which is why we offer a free sample request service before making a bulk order. This way, you can determine the shape, size, colour, and pattern of the rattan you need.

If you have a specific design in mind and cannot find it in our existing collection, don’t worry. Our team of rattan specialists is always willing to help you customize your design to meet your specific requirements.
In addition to our extensive catalogue and customization options, we provide the highest quality of products and services to our customers. Our team is always ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have, and we strive to exceed your expectations with every order.


Over the centuries, rattan has been utilized to create various woven objects, including furniture. From the earliest forms of rattan weaving in ancient Egypt to the sophisticated designs of Victorian-era Europe and contemporary creations today, rattan has proven to be a versatile and enduring material. As the demand for sustainable materials continues to rise, designers are exploring new ways to incorporate rattan into their creations. With its timeless appeal and eco-friendly properties, rattan is sure to continue inspiring designers for years to come.

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