Thought I would comment on the reader question regarding her Asian inspired mid-century furniture pieces…
A few years ago I was rummaging around with a collector in his basement storage facility at a relatively iconic apartment complex in the Hollywood area. He was trying to thin out his collection of amazing mid-century stuff, and I was happy to help. The brass detail of a buried table caught my eye, and a half hour later, covered in grime, and for under a hundred bucks, I was the owner of a five piece Ritts Company black lacquer rattan and bamboo table and chair set. Similar to your other reader, I didn’t know a lot about the pieces or even if they were so much my style (or how I would mitigate five new pieces in my tiny Los Angeles apartment), but they were so unique (the chair- a ring of black rattan with a stark red floating vinyl cushion, and each table, in a variety of sizes, with etched brass corner details and faux-marble Formica table tops). Not quite as literal as the Chinese characters on your reader’s bamboo table, but definitely Asian inspired. I’m attaching a few photos of these just for fun (I actively use 3 of the 5 tables. The one I photographed is probably in the roughest shape, but I like to think the rustic look softens the edge. Unfortunately, my Danish chairs have relegated the black lacquer chair to the walk in closet).
I did do a little bit of research at the time, so I might offer what I learned. I think the short story is that the tiki-inspired bamboo and rattan furniture trend took off like crazy mid-century, and with bamboo pieces, the leap to Asian is not a far one. The tropical aesthetic is closely related to Asian. To keep up with demand, designers and manufacturers churned out a lot of these sets and experimented with variations. The long answer is in this article I found in the LA Times- a great piece about the evolution of tropical décor, complete with a timeline of the entire last century, from 1904 to 2004, and the relative influence of popular culture on woven furniture (think “Blue Hawaii” to “Golden Girls”, etc). I think you’ll enjoy it!
By the way, LOVE the site. Retro Renovation and Apartment Therapy are my top go-to’s for my daily design fix.
Thanks! Courtney, Los Angeles
THANK YOU, Courtney!
Here’s another good post — about Chinese influences — that we ran a couple of months ago, courtesy insight from Palm Springs Stephan.