Bali Home Living: The Craft of Balinese Furniture
Exotic Bali offers great natural beauty and a wonderful tropical environment that lends itself to creative and artistic interpretations. Bali interiors have been extremely popular for over a decade and it is easy to understand why the look is so highly valued. Natural materials with all their patterns, textures, colors and aromas are a key component of Balinese decors. The beautiful grains of hardwoods, the variegated colors of natural grasses woven into mats and furniture, and the elements of stone used to accent these interiors are all appealing and restful to the senses. Bali or tropical decor brings the harmony of nature indoors. One of the major ways this is accomplished is with beautiful Balinese furniture.
The Craftsmanship of Balinese Furniture Design
Balinese furniture is a true art form developed by local craftsman over the centuries. These artisans pass their skills and trade down to their offspring, and the many generations of craftsman all add their own creativity to the process of furniture building. As this tradition has been passed down, western influence has had a role in evolving Balinese furniture in making each piece as comfortable as possible.
Whether each piece has a simple or intricate design, impressive hand crafting goes into its production. Balinese furniture style features or copies the natural landscape and brings it indoors in all its beauty. Exotic Indonesian styles are developed in woods such as teak, bamboo, and mahogany and from grasses like banana leaf, water hyacinth and sea grass.
Materials Used To Make The Furniture
The materials used in Bali’s furniture construction are unique to these pieces. All the materials are indigenous to Indonesia and have unique appearances and qualities. Large size bamboo is one raw material used in Indonesian furniture because of its versatility, lightweight, and durability. It is made into chairs, tables, beds and other bedroom furniture. It is also a popular material for garden gazebos and accent pieces such as lanterns and birdcages. It adds a tropical touch to an interior.
Rattan, a timber vine with a solid core, can be used as wood when cut into sections. Its inner core can be split and worked into wicker furniture. (Wicker itself is a weaving process, not a special material.) Rattan is placed in a steam box to heat it so it becomes more pliable. Special jigs are constructed and when the hot rattan is place in these special shapes it conforms to the mold. It remains in that shape after it cools. These shapes are then assembled with straight pieces of rattan and any joints are wrapped by hand with either the core peel strips or bindings of leather. Many very intricate patterns can be woven with rattan for truly beautiful craftsmanship.
It is common for Bamboo and Rattan Indonesian furniture to be jointed together with banana leafs. Banana leaf is rolled then dries to create sturdy rope which is woven by craftsmen onto a frame and finished with lacquer to enhance its durability. Water hyacinth, sea grass, and abaca are also used in woven furniture. More recently, kubu has become very popular for its unique gray color.
Hardwood Balinese Teak Furniture
Teak is a fantastic wood for outdoor furniture. It is also used for interior furniture of heirloom quality. Its durability and strength make it long lasting and its slight imperfections in grain enhance its unique natural beauty. When newly cut it has a bright golden tone that will change after a few seasons outdoors to a beautiful silver-gray. The wood never needs a coating or protective treatment because its oils repel insects and give it moisture resistance. Its silica makes it dense, which combats decay, swelling, shrinking and warping. Teak withstands all weather elements through any of the year’s seasons making an ideal material used for outdoor Balinese furniture. You can also find teak furniture used in the bathroom – the teak shower bench adds comfort and convenience. It is also commonly used for Balinese bedroom furniture, made into bed frames and end tables. Teak furniture is expensive but when its longevity and low maintenance is considered, it gives excellent value for the money. Its beauty and charm are versatile allowing teak furniture to gracefully be included with other styles of furniture in a room.
Marble and other stones are sometimes used for small tables. Carved by artisans, they make very unique and attractive accent furniture. Wooden tables carved into the shape of animals and plants also provide unique accent pieces.
The world wide interest in environmental concerns has helped fuel the popularity of Bali style in interior décor. Natural and sustainable elements (such as bamboo furniture) are a large part of the environmentally friendly trend and Bali’s natural motifs and materials are the perfect touches for a natural interior. Transform your environment at home into your own special piece of paradise.