For the past year or two, the interior design industry has seen the re-emergence of a material most consider to be dated: rattan. In Singapore, rattan is increasingly being shed as dated by creatives weaving it into more contemporary aesthetics. Elsewhere, Ikea launched Jassa, a rattan collection (pictured) in March 2017, and American brand Janus et Cie released one, too, shortly after.
To mirror influences from Singapore and South-east Asia for local private members’ club Straits Clan, Takenouchi Webb designed a 5x4m bar which juxtaposes straw-coloured rattan panels against dark-stained timber and rich red marble. For Marc Webb, director of Takenouchi Webb, the resurgence of rattan in the contemporary design lexicon runs in tandem with the trend towards more natural and sustainable materials. Indeed, the palm’s ease of harvest and ability to regenerate more quickly than other tropical trees, makes it an attractive resource.
Designed by principal designer Zhenwei Lai of JOW Architects, this 1,400 sqf HDB maisonette in Hougang is home to bachelorette Suelyn Lim. Drawn to textural materials such as rattan and subway tiles, the homeowner and designer decided on create a contemporary-style home, dressed with these elements.
Asylum, the design firm who designed Common Man Stan (pictured), said Common Man owner Harry wanted a light-hearted yet sophisticated dining ambience. "An Australian milk bar is typically decked out in marble countertops, so we used brass and stone finishes to create a luxurious look and — inspired by the surrounding location — rattan weaving for a local touch,” they share.
Over at the newly renovated Tea Lounge at Regent Singapore (pictured), custom-made banquette seats combine woven rattan with stained timber frames, velvet fabric upholstery, and plush leather cushions. Says Matthew Shang, designer and principal of Hassell, the studio behind the design: “Rattan is a good material to use to bring in the textures of the outdoors, while still achieving a level of elegance and sophistication.” Shang values the material for its inherent flexibility, a quality which lends itself well to the banquette’s curved silhouette.
At Le Bon Funk, the latest Lo & Behold establishment to open in Club Street, motown music plays, as diners swirl and sip from a litany of natural wines. But despite the chatter at the bar, no one has to shout to be heard. A rattan ceiling held together by dark green wooden slates helps to temper the noise. The unorthodox choice of material, contrary to the sound-absorbing ceiling tiles favoured by other dining outlets, was one that Elita Ong, lead interior designer of and partner at local design studio Foreign Policy, was keen to explore. “We did not want to apply a typical acoustic treatment to the ceiling and started sourcing for materials that were porous, and rattan fit the bill – not just functionally, but also in elevating the tropical textures of the space,” says Ong.
The rustic rattan armchair, a memento from this homeowner's childhood, mixes things up in this contemporary living room. See the home here.
A version of this article was first published on The Peak.