In different parts of the world, people have long used wickerwork, because in almost any climatic zone there are plants, various parts of which (long flexible branches, roots or leaves) can be used for weaving. At the same time, the extraction and processing of these plants is not so laborious and even women and children can do it, therefore wicker boxes, containers for storing food, baskets, chests and chests were widely used on the farm..
And wicker furniture appeared in the artisan quarters of Ancient Rome, its ancestor was the chest, it was more affordable and cheaper than wooden furniture. Therefore, wickerwork (mainly reed) was considered plebeian furniture in Rome. But soon the patricians also appreciated the soft and durable braid, using it to cover the seats in benches and sofas. It was very convenient, and no one was surprised that the carved rosewood bench was covered with wicker cloth, like in a commoner’s house.
We also owe the development of weaving to reeds and dry cereal stalks..
There are different types of weaving. They differ, first of all, in the type of materials used. The strongest and most durable, and therefore the most common, is rattan – these are the liana-shaped shoots of a rattan palm tree that grows in the tropical jungle. They make good-quality furniture that can withstand heavy loads, high air humidity and even temperature drops. This feature of rattan was noticed by the British: in their damp, foggy climate, rattan furniture on the terrace stood for several years without losing its strength.
Before weaving, the rattan is peeled from the bark, and it becomes even and smooth. In a special way, vines are soaked or steamed to give them the desired shape, bends. Recently, rattan furniture has been painted: covered with dark varnish or white paint.
Willow is a tree growing in the northern hemisphere. It has flexible, smooth and shiny rods. Our distant ancestors wove baskets, boxes, chests, cradles and benches from willow. But willow is less decorative and in a city apartment is used mainly in the form of a variety of baskets..
Reed is a lake grass, which is mainly used in the manufacture of furniture for weaving elastic chairs. Furniture and carpets are also woven from palm leaves using special processing. Also used for weaving and some types of algae.
Wicker rattan furniture came to Europe with the beginning of the era of colonial conquests. European governors in the hot climate of the colonies could appreciate the advantages of “blown” wicker furniture, and returning home to the metropolis, they brought with them as an exotic gift handmade openwork wicker furniture.
The British were the first to appreciate it: wicker rocking chairs, sofas and armchairs appeared on the terraces and verandas of their cottages. And then all of Europe was conquered by this light and durable furniture. The fashion for “wicker”, like any fashion, flared up, then subsided, but since then wicker products have never disappeared completely from European interiors.
Nowadays, wicker furniture is relevant again, and wicker sets for home, garden, and even office are now presented in the most prestigious furniture stores. Among the products, bedrooms, sofas and armchairs, shelves and screens, coffee tables are especially popular..
Moreover, wicker furniture “coexists” in interiors of different styles, even in strict and demanding classics. Take a look at this exquisite sofa, finished in carved wood with wicker inserts and covered with white lacquer. And a flower stand made in the same style may well stand next to.
Rattan furniture for urban interiors, unlike garden furniture, has lost its colonial shade. Now rattan is used in combination with other materials: solid wood, glass, plastic and leather. As, for example, in the following photo: a bar, the counter of which is finished with wood panels, and to it – bar rattan chairs with leather seats.
Traditional, all-wicker furniture in modern interiors is often used for some contrast with synthetic materials, an abundance of glass, light wood and metal. In the next photo in the center of such an interior there is a deliberately “rustic” chair, but it does not destroy harmony, but on the contrary, it organically fits into an unusual environment for itself..
It is worth noting that wicker sofas and armchairs designed for an urban setting now most often have soft pillows covered with natural fabric (cotton or linen): it is more comfortable to sit on such furniture, and removable covers can be washed as needed. In addition, the fabric somehow especially emphasizes and ennobles the beauty of woven fabric, even made of the coarsest materials..
Caring for wicker furniture is easy enough. In addition to washing textile covers, sofas and armchairs can be brushed. And the dust inside the weave of the twigs is removed using a conventional vacuum cleaner. After cleaning, especially for rattan furniture, the rods should be treated with a high-quality composition for cleaning polished wooden furniture – then they will retain their flexibility and shine for a long time.