An Asian Tiki timeline courtesy Courtney and the L.A. Times

Recommended by Courtney, this 2004 L.A. Times article also includes a great timeline of the Asian-Tiki trend – which the Times calls “Tropi-California”:

A century under the palms

Tropi-California décor has evolved from exotic to kitsch to the essence of contemporary casual. The highlights of 100 years of a homegrown style:

1904-19: East Coast emigres find their Victorian parlor wicker (once paired with potted palms in the solarium) to be lightweight and durable enough to use in and out of doors, as the climate of California encouraged.

1920-29: Sica, a thin round vine also known as stick rattan, is introduced into such furniture as casual angular armchairs with built-in magazine slots by companies such as Heywood-Wakefield, below. In Europe, Mies van der Rohe designs modernist tubular metal chairs with wicker seats.

1930-39: .. Read the rest of the article (link above) for the complete timeline!


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  1. Palm Springs Stephan says

    The whole mid-century Tiki Movement makes perfect sense now : Hundreds of thousands of US service men and women stationed in the Pacific for 4-5 years grew accustomed to the look and brought it back with them to the new homes they were able to buy cheaply under the GI Bill. And the look was a pervasive one, extending into areas and regions where it might not seem entirely appropriate. Here in Palm Springs, a desert region with less than 4 inches of rain per year, the tropical Tiki look really took hold amongst the cacti and blowing sands. Consider the Tropic Hotel with its Reef Tiki Bar (still in operation in all its tiki glory as the Caliente Tropics), the Hotel Trinidad (a Caribbean variation on the tiki theme, a former hangout for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, and also still in business), and the Indianola Resort built in 1955 on a tiki motif and still going strong. There are also freestanding tiki clubs, bars, and restaurants, most famously Toucans Tiki Lounge. And let’s not forget retail outlets, including MacMillans Resort Wear, which still boasts “the largest selection of Hawaiian aloha shirts outside of the islands.” Palm Springs also offers a generous selection of tiki-themed private homes, as well as entire apartment complexes, such as The Kona Apartments, the Aloha Apartments, and the Royal Hawaiian Estates, all reflecting the influence associated with Hawai’i’s achieving statehood. I will send photos of some of the local tiki haunts later, but for now you can see some of them at

    Thanks, and good luck getting the site back to 100% !

    Palm Springs Stephan

  2. Little Ribbons says

    I know! I loved that timeline feature- so many ‘ah-ha!’ moments. Some ambitious research/writer should publish a book of these for every design movement. Nothing like a good list to bring my left and right brains into harmony.
    – Courtney.

  3. Tikimama says

    Stephan, you are so lucky to live in P.S in the midst of so much mid-century and tiki wonderstuff! I live in Yucca Valley and I think it would be a fun thing to get together with other like-minded folks from this group or others you might know. I’m kinda all on my own when it comes to my enthusiasm for architecture voyeurism!

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