At the Milan Salone del Mobile 2018, many different brands showcased products made with cane work, or in other materials with textures inspired by the patterns of cane work.

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Chair C-Dining di Gubi, at Milan Design Week.

The “cane” is a natural material widely popular in Europe since the second half of the nineteenth century, thanks to the chairs that furnished the Viennese coffee houses, chairs with wooden structures and caned seats.

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Details of the coffee table Wiener Box, by Cristian Mohaded for Gebruder Thonet Vienna.

The woven cane for baskets and accessories, dates back to very ancient times, we can find examples of chairs with caned seats and cots dating from ancient Egypt. The material of the best quality, flexible but very resistant to traction, is made by thin rattan canes, which is moistened before being worked, and also after the assembling is finished, from time to time, for proper maintenance.

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Chairs Thonet 214, 209 e 218 (photo Thonet Frankenberg).

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the chairs by Michael Thonet, the first ones designed for industrial production, achieved an enormous success, selling more than 50 million pieces between 1850 and 1930. Since then, the “Thonet Chair” has been synonymous with a chair with a curved wooden structure and caned seat, although there are several companies manufacturing them (Thonet, Gebruder Thonet – descending from Michael Thonet – and others), and even in Italy (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) there were companies specialized in manufacturing chairs with the Thonet patent.

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The model 214 chair by Thonet, also known as “bistrot chair”, is one of the first example of industrial packaging.

The traditional design, made from woven vegetable material with equidistant holes, can now be found in contemporary versions of chairs and armchairs, as well as applied to other products such as bookcases, coffee tables and more, or in other materials inspired by the woven cane pattern.
In the photogallery, a selection of products seen at the Salone del Mobile 2018.