Vienna straw – a classic coming back in full swing

in Design Trends

Many prominent designers of our times are coming up with new interpretations of Vienna straw – one of the most classic textures for woven furniture.

Despite coming from the past, Vienna straw pairs incredibly well with contemporary design. And its rich natural texture makes it a perfect addition for a biophilic design!

So let's get to know this design staple a bit better!

Close-up view of Vienna straw texture.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: 1stdibs (opened in a new window/tab)

Vienna straw: origins & maintenance

Vienna straw is a particular type of furniture weaving that creates a characteristic octagonal pattern.
It takes its name from the Thonet chair, iconic seating manufactured by the homonymous company.
The Thonet chair (opened in a new window/tab) (No.14 Thonet chair to be precise) became famous around 1859, when it was used to furnish a café in Vienna. From there, the chair started to be called Vienna coffee house chair. And its particular weaving pattern took the name of Vienna straw.

Extremely resistant and durable, Vienna straw furniture likes regular cleaning. A little brush is ideal to reach all the crevices and make sure no dust gets stuck in the weaving. And to maintain a Vienna straw finish over time, it’s good practice to slightly wet out the back of the weaving from time to time. This will preserve the elasticity of the material and make it last long years.

Modern Vienna straw examples

Back to our days, here are 10 examples of woven furniture & accessories bringing Vienna straw into current design…

Grand Life is a wooden outdoor chair, with modern lines and a Vienna straw side. Designed by Christophe Pillet for Ethimo, it was presented at Milan Design Week 2018.

Grand Life chair, example of modern Vienna straw design by Christophe Pillet for Ethimo.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Ethimo (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Her name is Marquesa and she comes out of the creative minds of Oscar and Anna Maria Niemeyer, for the Brazilian company Etel.
Its natural Vienna straw seating creates a very interesting contrast with the black wood structure. And its curved profile recalls the iconic Thonet chair, which first introduced solid wood bending in the furniture industry.

Marquesa bench, example of modern Vienna straw design by Oscar and Anna Maria Niemeyer for Etel.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Etel Design (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Who said Vienna straw has to be kept in its natural colour? Expormim has seized the opportunity with its Frames chairs, that are also available in bold colours like Japanese red and forest green (design by Jaime Hayon).

Frames chairs, example of modern Vienna straw design by Jaime Hayon for Expormim.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Expormim (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Vienna straw in XXL version for the outdoor coffee tables Canasta, design Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia.

Canasta coffee tables, example of modern Vienna straw design by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: B&B Italia (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Paglia di Vienna (i.e. Vienna straw in Italian) is a natural bronze lamp that reproduces the pattern of Vienna straw with metal. Handmade with the lost-wax technique, it introduces the perfect imperfection of hand-crafted products. A great design by OMV (Osanna, Madina Visconti di Modrone).

Paglia di Vienna lamp, example of modern Vienna straw design by Osanna Madina Visconti di Modrone.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Osanna Visconti (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Colony is a collection designed by Skrivo Design for Miniforms. It features Vienna straw inserts in an impressive three-dimensional room divider, a modern armchair and stunning tables.

Vienna straw armchair, room divider and coffee table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Miniforms (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Designed by Studio Colonel for Serax, Straw is a beautiful pendant light fixture, where a modern metal cage blends with the earthy feeling of the woven Vienna straw shade.

Straw pendant light, example of modern Vienna straw design by Colonel Studio for Serax.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Serax (opened in a new window/tab)

 
A great find from Etsy here! Bent is a pendant chandelier that seems to be made out of the seats of two traditional No.14 Thonet chairs.

Bent pendant light, example of modern Vienna straw design by Light Cookie from Etsy.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Light Cookie (Etsy) (opened in a new window/tab)

 
And what about pairing Vienna straw with metal? HK Living went this route in their new Retro cabinet. And to me, the result is just stunning!

Retro cabinet, example of modern Vienna straw design by HK Living.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: HK Living (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Wiener chair is a sculptural chair with full-height Vienna straw backing (design by Gabriella Asztalos). Its eye-catching shape would definitely make for a unique accent in a modern interior and I absolutely love the thin side profile!

Wiener chair, example of modern Vienna straw design by Gabriella Asztalos.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Gabriella Asztalos (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Vienna straw is timeless and its long history gives it a unique value and charm. Because interior design is far more than just aesthetics!

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