Rattan is back, with the stars.
The period was 1940s and 50s when it was common to see suburban residences with curved rattan furniture – tables, sofa, some lamps and serving carts. Usually upholstered with wild flower-patterned or jungle-print cloth, rattan furniture evokes tropical isles, sea gentle wind and striking cocktails. A washed out, undated newspaper photograph in a latest rattan book displays a well-dressed Fulgencio Batista – the Cuban leader that was overthrown in 1959 by Fidel Castro, he was dancing in front of a rattan chair with pillows sprayed with twisted palm fronds.
To some people, rattan’s design statement has never gone away of style. Rattan exhibits a casual elegance. It is practically unbreakable and intermixes with any modern, archetypal or eclectic interior. Rattans make the wave in this country following the World War II. Apparently thousands of GIs noticed rattan furniture while situated in Hawaii and the Pacific.
Southern California has had multitude of rattan aficionados. Barbra Streisand started collected rattan furniture in the 1970s for her beach house in Malibu. The TV sitcom “Golden Girls” had their celebrities relaxed around inside a sunroom packed with fan-arm rattan furnishings. The late artist John Candy bought more than a dozen rattan pieces from American furniture designer Paul Frankel. Warren Beatty bought the finest chair for his bathroom, a 1940s eight-threaded square pretzel and upholstered in white terry fabric.
Serious collectors have strong craving for classic pieces. For your information, you can find archetypal rattan in the house of high profile superstars - Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Madonna to name a few. Although, modern and exquisite design rattan furniture is also a hot seller in some quarters. Rap artist Sean “P Diddy” Comb in his million dollar mansion in Miami Beach’s elite Star Island enjoys serenity with his Bali style interior- clean lines, lots of wood and rattan furniture. Hollywood actor Rob Schneider’s apartment is surrounded by '50s rattan furniture, a tiki lamp and a pair of Eskimo snowshoes.
Harvey Schwartz, who owns 20th Century Props, has been serving the television and movie industry in Burbank, California. He has been supplying a number of the most excellent rattan furniture to noted collectors, movie star, and production sets that include the Golden Girls TV series. Schwartz began his rattan business in 1972 with his little shop “Harvey’s on Beverly Boulevard”. Barbra Streisand bought one of his ‘40s collections, a three-stranded rattan rocker and he started collecting more rattan pieces to sell her. Much of his collections is kept three pieces deep in a stockroom and for those rattan furniture that are for sale are rented to set designers for TV shows, films, commercials and trade exhibitions.
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