Raphia: A Natural Cord with a Design Legacy

Raphia: A Natural Cord with a Design Legacy

We were reading this week's Elle magazine and were happy to see how many luxury brands are picking up natural fibers such as raphia in their designs. These fibers are making a comeback for good reason: what's not to love about them? They are renewable, non-harmful to animals, sturdy, and give a lovely natural vibe.

As natural fiber has taken fashion by storm this summer in the shape of handbags, and fashion accessories, it came to mind that we haven't had the opportunity to introduce you to one of our most iconic Honoré materials: raphia.

Raphia is a natural fibre that combines luxury and minimalism

Raphia, or raffia, is a type of palm that is native to Africa. The leaves of the raphia palm are used for food and to make a natural cord that has been used for thousands of years. It is used to create shelter, clothing, baskets, and much more. It's a very versatile fiber and the raphia palm grows easily in Africa's sub-Saharan climate.

The popularity of raphia in Western culture took off at the beginning of the 20th century, as it was introduced from trading posts around the world. Handcrafted furniture became associated with the French Riviera and exotic design. Natural materials, such as jute and rattan, would instantly provide an exotic atmosphere to any area. They have always been an essential component of the bourgeois lifestyle.


Honoré's favorite weaving fibre : raphia

At Honoré, we've been utilizing natural materials like cotton, cord, and raphia from the get-go. Raphia has blossomed into a critical element of our collections.

One of our first designs was the Lampe sur pied and the fauteuil Barba and Alba chairs that were presented at Maison & Objet in 2015.

Since then, our wonderful artisans' experience in weaving has grown, and we are using this flexible material more and more in our lighting and seats...

As you can see, we use raphia in our lightings such as our Etages and Ronds sconces, Apollo, IbizaRio, and Arlequin collections, in our latest ceramic collection with Miro, Eros, Henriette, and Georgette, and of course, one of your favorites, the Suspension Parasol.

Find more of our iconic raphia objects here 

A worldwide shortage in raphia after COVID

A few months ago, we came close to disaster: a global shortage of Raffia was just around the corner. Our artisans were out of stock. The farmers had stopped producing it…

This was followed by a global treasure hunt which led us on the trails of Morocco, Madagascar, to end up in… Vitrolles, 30km from our headquarters! One of our contacts advised us of a French dealer who had stocked up. More fear than anything else, our supply of raffia was assured and our craftsmen were able to resume production.

How to add a sophisticated look to your home using raphia

Raphia works well with small touches, such as a raphia lamp in the corner of your living room or a raphia stool next to your sofa. Be sure to alternate raphia with bold materials such as velvet or terracotta to make it stand out even more.

The Suspension Parasol à franges is a great example of pimping up raphia to give it an elegant look, and you will find this timeless spirit in our latest Applique XS à franges that you can choose in one of our 4 colours: gold, green, black and orange.

It's up to you to give raphia the style you want, whether it be more natural or sophisticated.

Raphia is a versatile material that can take on any design challenge you throw at it. So go ahead and give it a try! You might be surprised at how well it works in your home.

We would love to see what you come up with, so don't forget to tag us on Instagram @honoredeco and use #honoredeco. We can't wait to see your take on our raphia designs!

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