Weaving, braiding and knotting: the braided look goes back a long way. Now the traditional materials of rattan, bamboo and leather are being joined by newcomers such as ceramics or birch bark in braided interior design. Glass and other objects find themselves with an eye-catching woven appearance, and extra-large knots are soft, comfy and more tempting than ever. All this greatly expands the repertoire of this well-loved trend for living spaces.
When furniture and home accessories are woven or constructed using similar techniques, they are normally made of natural materials. Braided interior design has been around for a long time in this form – with rattan and bamboo being particularly popular. But now the braided look is taking over the entire living space, in many and varied colours and materials. It’s something that goes beyond individual interior styles and manufacturers’ collections.
This can be explained if we look to the art world where braiding, weaving and knotting techniques are increasingly prominent. Rising stars like Diedrick Brackens, who whipped up a storm with his handmade, knowingly imperfect woven tapestries, represent a new generation of artists who express themselves in media beyond the conventional canvas or draft papers. The term ‘crafts’ is certainly no insult where they’re concerned. The woven look is also used for other materials, as Swedish artist Asa Maria Hedberg shows us. With a sculpture over 9 m high, she makes clay look knitted, although it’s actually braided and spunn from stoneware clay and glass.
Bauhaus artist Anni Albers’ textile work has lately been rediscovered. While not necessarily braided, it certainly blurs the boundary between bold graphics and hand crafting, making an impression much like our braided interior design objects. Tactile surfaces, literally interwoven with one another, effortlessly combine homely with cool.
These developments may have influenced today’s designers who take such a strong interest in the woven and knotted aesthetic. It’s tempting to speculate which needs in people and society lie behind this living space trend. Could braided interiors be a way of rediscovering analogue skills and tactile surfaces in our digital world? Do they express an overall desire for us to get closer together? Possibly. After all, weaving is one of the simplest and most permanent visual means of combining different components with one another. It is straightforward, elegant and makes beautiful shapes. The finished woven item is always more than the sum of its parts. But the current braided interior design trend isn’t narrowly defined: other techniques are permitted, such as a weaving, knotting and more. This trend intentionally disrupts monochrome looks and quiet living spaces.
Braided interiors done differently: cosy knots
Outsized knots and braids made of luxuriant fabric make a lifestyle statement which isn’t afraid to be cosy. Both this lime-green KNOTS footstool by Mossapour and the Lucia chair in Welzel Collection’s new generation of braided furniture illustrate this perfectly. One cushion from Care by Me comes with a double twist. First, organic cotton is knitted into thin tubes, which are then used like thread to hand-knit the desired patterns. Apparently, our pets also like the braided look – take this cocoon of a dog basket by Laboni, with its
Braided interior design creates new classics
Be it in handwoven rattan placemats, trays and serving cloches from Classic Home, in a pendant lamp by Broste Copenhagen, or in the many baskets of various shapes and sizes – conventional braided interior design has taken a new twist with unusual combinations, colours and shapes. Or sometimes an unusual use of materials: take the Taburet stool, which gets its unmistakeable appearance from a layer of woven birch bark, applied inside out in a break from tradition. This side is not just silky smooth, but also wonderfully varied in its patterning. Braided interior design also suits larger items of furniture: just look at Bloomingville’s linear console table with its smartly contrasting black frame and rattan surfaces.
Appearance of beauty: braided interior design in all materials
The braided interior design trend doesn’t dictate that items actually have to be braided. Sometimes glass, ceramics or plastic will simply borrow the aesthetic. Nachtmann has an example of this: this manufacturer of fine crystal glass has for years offered a woven look as part of its range. Tumblers and carafes sport a lovely-looking interwoven design to give their sophisticated mid-century retro a little extra something. On the other hand, these ceramic baskets by Octaevo are actually woven. This is southern Italian craft painted in a shiny blue, yellow or green for that contemporary touch. Similarly, the fashion world is using gold and other precious metals to achieve a woven optic with several overlapping loops, as in these creole earrings from iCrush.
Braided leather look to go
Leather goods have been woven for years now. Sandals, bags, purses and many other accessories look especially elegant and refined with a braided appearance. Interior designers also make use of this technique – here we see hand-woven leather baskets from Orskov Copenhagen, which come in various colours and sizes. This luxury version of the familiar woven basket is rounded off by rows of tiny white backstitches on the leather strips around the top.
Bottega Veneta has a traditional look which is now an integral part of the catwalk: handbags with special interlacing intrecciato strips made from particularly fine leather. Since young British designer Daniel Lee took the helm here in 2018, the established Italian company has received a new impetus. His Padded Cassette bag has quickly achieved ‘it bag’ status for the Instagram generation. Extra-wide leather strips are woven together to lend the bag a striking 3D profile. It might look like quilting, but it’s been woven.
If it’s good enough for high fashion, it’s good enough for braided interior design. When leather, rattan, ceramics, birch bark, textiles and other materials are stylishly interlaced, the result is a multidimensional opportunity to lend a special attraction to spaces and objects.