Walking past one of my all-time favourite second hand shops, Past Caring, I spotted it. Nestled amongst plastic coffee tables, vintage magazine racks and generic bric-a-brac, it beckoned me with its voluptuous curves, slender built and intricate features. I resisted, keeping firmly on my track but threw a longing glance at what so should have been mine. A rattan lounge chair. Be strong, I said to myself, and begrudgingly obeyed my common sense. If you love them, let them go.
It has not always been this easy: my fascination with wicker furniture brought together a peacock chair, rocking chair, magazine rack and drinks trolley. Another piece of indulgence would not only stretch my flat to its capacity, it would also test my husband’s patience – ‘When is this wicker going to end?’ I hear him scream.
Love it or hate it, wicker is making a comeback. In reality, it has never really gone away. It gracefully stepped aside whilst the world lived out its obsession with a cheaper alternative – plastic. We all know how it turned out. Little by little, we are falling back in love with the sustainable, enduring and natural. With materials that have been harvested and fashioned by human hand, made into something that imparts tradition, history and warmth. This is precisely the point made in the article ‘Wicker World’ in the August 2018 edition of The World of Interiors. It uses the renovation of the 18th-century house in the southern France as an example of renewed interest into all things rattan. The house in question is situated in the area of France famed for its by-gone wicker making and has very strong ties to the industry itself. The owners of the house discovered that ‘the material was worked in the house from 1878 onwards. At least 20 people were employed throughout the property until the early 1980s. when the industry finally collapsed, unable to compete with cheaper, more easily manufactured materials.’ The rich history of the house inspired the owners to set up Atelier Vime, where local craftsmen are employed to produce a variety of objects such as chairs, lighting fixtures, mirrors and accessories.
It is sometimes a challenge as an interior designer to source original and striking pieces so to discover new ateliers such as this is an absolute privilege. In order to deliver the ‘wow’ factor to residential interiors my role as a designer is to not only to translate clients’ requirements into a cohesive and considered look but to propose pieces that they would struggle to find themselves. After all, high-end interior design is not just about a price tag or expensive finish, it is a synergy of imagination, practicality and durability in more ways than one. Once these elements are covered, there is room to add those whimsical touches that make an interior personal and individual. Perhaps, I will indulge my passion for wicker and get that lounge chair, after all. I am not ready to let go just yet.
The article quoted is Wicker World, The World of Interiors, August 2018, p. 53-61
Photos: Atelier Vime www.ateliervime.com
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