Outdoor furniture comes in many shapes and sizes, and recently has become more and more similar to its indoor counterparts. Woods like teak are great for outdoor use and can be produced sustainably, like in our managed forests, but old-fashioned rattan is another top choice for sustainability. Plus, it’s not limited to just outdoor furniture so you can carry your rattan designs throughout your home.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are 600 different species of rattan, all native to tropical areas in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The most common rattan used for commercial purposes is grown in Asia. Rattan is a hearty and tough plant that can grow up to 100 meters in length. It’s protected from predators by spines that let it survive long enough to reach its full potential. Rattan skin is woven to form the majority of pieces, while the core can be used for supports and other purposes.
Rattan is cheaper and easier to harvest and transport than regular timber, meaning it can help in protecting degraded forests. Because rattan also grows best under tree cover, planting it in areas where forests need to be protected also provides incentive to maintain the canopy to encourage the rattan’s growth. While rattan is preferable to regular timber, some old-world production processes still utilize outdated techniques and technologies that have not adapted to new findings around environmental impacts. However, many producers are transitioning to cleaner rattan production by innovating new technology and techniques and optimizing the efficiency of production, making rattan an especially sustainable choice.
By choosing responsibly, sustainably grown and harvested rattan for your outdoor furniture you will benefit from the materials natural toughness and durability, as well as its versatility. Because it’s light, it is perfect for pieces that are only used for part of the year and then can be stored away. Its impressive strength and low weight also make it perfect for items like our Moderne Pendant Light that need to be sizable but also hang from the ceiling safely.
Be sure your rattan comes from a source that utilizes these new, cleaner production processes and you will be able to incorporate the all-natural beauty of this plant throughout your home without sacrificing the environment.