Rattan Cane and Stainless Steel Furniture to brighten up modern homes
The concept of our Maha cane furniture hit the slates in June 2018. Two whole years ago, almost to the day, we sat down with our friend Lottie to design some new products that merged the feel of Burma with the requirements of modern western homes. We came up with some things you already know and love: the Mizo Lamp, the Pagoda Lamp, the new-look Katha Side Table and the Kuki Salad Servers.
But product development is a rocky road in Burma. Sometimes we hit a hurdle which will send whole presentations to the recycling bin. And sometimes we'll have to keep tweaking and tweaking until we get things right.
Then we landed on stainless steel. Contemporary and shiny like the Shwedagon Pagoda. And we love it. Here they are.
We took the feel from the Burmese offering tables you find in monasteries and homes across Burma. They're a real focus point in both environments: families gather around them to eat at home, and donations for the monks or for Buddha are collected on them at the monastery. They're usually finished in a red lacquer, are hugely expensive and highly prized.
However at Kalinko we're about beautiful but accessible homeware, so we left the lacquer off, and gave them a contemporary feel with a stainless steel top. This in itself is a nod to the shiny pagodas dotted all over the country, whose shine comes from layers and layers of gold leaf. Again, we left the gold leaf for smaller projects...!
The body of the furniture is made from rattan cane. We chose the chunkier pieces closer to the base of the rattan plant, both to achieve the look of the offering tables, and for their super-strength. Rattan cane is solid all the way through, unlike bamboo which is hollow, making it incredibly strong. Read all about why it is essentially the superfood of the weaving world here.
Our teams of rattan weavers from the Pathein region of South-West Burma are responsible for handcrafting these beauties. They were incredibly patient while we ummed and ahhed over how to do it, and one of the weavers' brothers ended up making the stainless steel tops for us. That's usually the way things work over here - everybody knows somebody who has a friend who can help.
Why We Love Them
They remind us of two very ancient Burmese concepts, but feel fresh, contemporary and fit seamlessly into modern homes. We love the useful size of the side tables, and how narrow the coffee table is; most of us have small homes these days, so can't fit in a whopper. And finally we love how it combines the natural feel of the cane with the hard-edged steel. A perfect synthesis.