Behold, a different kind of rattan furniture that's unlike the ones used by your grandparents.
Priscilla Shunmugam flexes her design chops once again. Almost a year after releasing her Suvarnabumi range of tableware, the designer has launched a Suvarnabumi high-end rattan furniture line. It's quite unlike rattan furniture designs that seemed to be stagnating, says Shunmugam, citing the “unapologetic copying of designer pieces flowing from the same Paul Frankl, Franco Albini and Gabriella Crespi influences.” The result is a series using different kinds of Malaysian rattan combined with Indonesian batik, Chinese jacquard and indigenous Iban weave patterns to create furniture reflecting Shunmugam's signature syncretic design sensibilities.
So technically advanced were the pieces that the master craftsmen she worked with – some with almost 50 years of experience – were, she says, jolted out of autopilot mode. “I'm not a product or furniture designer, so there were a couple of things, such as merging materials and structures in ways that hadn’t been attempted before. I wasn’t even sure they were technically feasible until we tried and failed and tried again, and again.”