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  (The Andes House)


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Six sophisticated ways to decorate with wicker Add to ...

Wicker – and its close cousins caning, thatching and plaiting – is like whisky, wine and Joan Rivers – it just keeps getting better with age. The weaving technique, which basically involves wrapping thin reeds or twigs in and around other thin reeds or twigs to make something strong and pliable, goes back to Ancient Egypt, and has been used to create lightweight, durable baskets, seats and tables ever since. It’s particularly common these days on patio sets, but, thankfully, it’s not limited to outdoor decor.

Perhaps because it taps into our collective, primordial roots, and so has an innate, reassuringly human quality – or because it’s a skill that has endless, regional variations, giving it a certain, design terroir – creative makers from all over the world continue to find new, unexpected ways to incorporate it into furniture.

Some of the innovation sticks closely to the art’s ancestry, updating it simply with shapes (like Chilean studio Made in Mimbre, which uses uses time-honoured, South American techniques and indigenous materials to craft wicker lamp shades). Some of the updating is in the application – appending a touch of stunning weave to a piece of modern technology to give it a more Earth-bound feel, or using unusual materials and colours (think never-wear synthetics, and bright colours like turquoise and bubble gum pink).

Either way, wicker has never looked fresher.


For his Centerpiece vases, Netherlands-based designer Daniel Hulsbergen has combined two old-time, traditional Dutch crafts to modern effect. The base is a chipped-and-battered Delft Blue vase. It’s upcycled with a wicker spout to give it a new life. Price upon request. Through danielhulsbergen.com.


Italian designer Paola Navone’s Como chair is like Paris-meets-punk. The frame is styled after the seats commonly found in French cafés. The grey and white pattern, hand-woven in a synthetic, durable rattan, is a playfully edgy houndstooth. $550. Through crateandbarrel.com.


Chilean studio Made In Mimbre – which employs South American artisans to make contemporary decor using sustainable materials – was inspired by jellyfish for its ethereal floor lamp, Medusa. The light appears to hover over the ground on wispy, straw-thin tendrils. Three, discrete metal legs support the structure and create the illusion. $320 (U.S.). Through madeinmimbre.com.


The aesthetic issue with most tech toys is simple: they tend to be cold looking and kind of ugly. French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has added a welcome bit of warmth to Lexon’s hybrid radio and MP3 amplifier by encasing the hard plastic shell in a caned, all-natural rattan. Available starting in September, through lexon-design.com.


The Family Love Tree is an Australian furniture firm that takes timeless rattan and wicker furniture and makes it whimsical. The Toulouse headboard, which is available in twin, double, queen and king sizes, gives a classic, hand-made wood form a jolt of energy with bright colours such as mint, aqua and pastel pink. From $495. Through thefamilylovetree.com.au.


Although it’s meant for indoors, Ralph Lauren’s Joshua Tree dining chair has a summery, patio feel. The oversized woven chords are made from natural lampakanay fibres. The weaving technique was inspired by the roofs of tropical palapa loungers. $2,175. Through elte.com.

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