As more Americans migrate to the South, they are changing their home décor to reflect the new lifestyle. They are taking a more casual yet upscale approach to decorating, and no other decor works better for that lifestyle than Plantation-Style furniture. Also called British Colonial furniture, this timeless design is found in homes across the world in the temperate zones, where it originally became popular.
The roots of plantation-style furniture are not difficult to define. From the early days of the British Colonial period, this décor harkens back to the exotic outposts of the British Empire. At its zenith during the Victorian era, this huge swath of territory covered Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. British Colonial Furniture also includes territories included in British East India, including islands that are now part of Indonesia and Malaysia. Any location that favored large-scale plantation farming generally supported this type of furniture.
The furniture takes its major influence from the tropical environments in which the wood grows. Using local wood such as Teak, Mahogany, and Mango Wood allows it to absorb much of the humidity found in this geography. Since the wood expands and contracts, much of the construction also used natural grasses and reeds to allow for this movement, such as rattan. British Colonial furniture is defined by heavy use of dark woods with contrasting light weave, and use of other organic materials such as natural stone or marble. There are also more creative uses of materials such as bark, crushed coconut, seed pods and even sea shells for more decorative elements.
No other manufacturer we represent embodies the vision of British Colonial more than Bauer International. With their hand-carved designs, originating straight from their factory on the island of Java (Indonesia), Bauer truly epitomizes the elegance and practicality of this time-tested style. In fact, one of the single most popular items in this style is the Bauer Java Plantation Lounger, which is a relaxing, comfortable way to channel the best of the old English colonies.
Palecek Furniture is another furniture manufacturer which really captures the essence of British Colonial and plantation style. They are particularly known for their use of all types of organic materials, which blends seamlessly into a whole product. They are also one of the only manufacturers that combines plantation-style design with a contemporary edge, which is what makes them so popular with designers and with the hospitality industry. Palecek Furniture is seen in many high-end tropical-themed hotels in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Of course, no summary of British Colonial Furniture would be complete without mentioning Tommy Bahama's Kingstown Collection, a unique collection with a sense of far-away adventure. It is a relaxed traditional look inspired by British Colonial style, with a hint of campaign influence. The evocative designs provide the sense of a well-traveled life, of items purchased during journeys around the British Empire. This style is evocative, of lasting duration, and heirloom quality to be enjoyed for many years. In fact, most of the collections in Tommy Bahama have a clear British Colonial/Plantation Style influence, but the Kingstown Collection in particular is most evocative of this design style.
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