Conversation-seat in green and white rattan – Perret & Vibert, circa 1880
This conversation-seat in natural, white and green rattan is a creation of the Perret & Vibert manufacture, circa 1880. The conversation-seat is a double S-shaped armchair allowing two people to chat without having to turn their heads. This piece of furniture is an invention of the Second Empire. In both France and England, these shapes reflect an enriched industrial society with a taste for luxury and a culture of conversation at parties and receptions.
Rattan furniture developed in the second half of the 19th century, especially during the Second Empire, with the fashion for exoticism. New materials such as bamboo or rattan appeared in decoration and quickly became essential elements. After an eclipse under the Empire and the Restoration, caning reappeared under Napoleon III and was a resounding success.
The Second Empire saw the manufacture of wickerworked seats on a frame made entirely of rattan. Around 1900, this furniture took off with the decision of several French manufacturers to import raw materials from China and Indochina on a massive scale, and then to make furniture that was ever lighter and more decorative in keeping with current tastes.