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Brief Published: 1 May 2015

Milan 2015: Rediscovering Rattan

Out for Space

German studio Out for Space is unlocking the potential of rattan – a traditional furniture-making material across Asia – through innovative, process-driven colour application. Its method takes advantage of the unconventional structure of rattan to embed colour directly into the material.

Rattan is composed of a capillary tube structure that runs the length of the material – the feature that makes it so flexible when exposed to heat or steam. Out of Space utilises this unusual property by soaking dye straight up through this structure. The dye also contains a mixture of wax and oil, meaning the surface is finished and coloured simultaneously.

Showing at the Salone Satellite exhibition during Milan Design Week (April 14-19), Out of Space displayed a range of products made from the material, including clocks, building blocks and furniture. The pieces – which included the creation of flat wooden boards, an unusual application of rattan – demonstrate the various patternations created depending on how the grain is exposed when the material is cut.

Continuing with the investigation into rattan, the studio is also exploring how other properties can be embedded into the material, such as waterproofing or additional strength.

For more examples of process-driven colour, look to our Milan Design Week 2015: Colour Application report, part of our extensive coverage of the annual event.