Lab31’s Cane: Age Old Techniques Meet Modern Day Manufacturing

Age-old techniques meet modern day manufacturing practices with CANE by LAB31; white “tablecloths” of perforated steel drape over welded steel frames.  Caning, the technique of providing chairs or the like with seats or backrests of woven cane (reedlike stems of various plants), is reduced to a two-dimensional image and applied to a paper-thin sheet of steel, thus replacing the process of hand-weaving with the precision of the laser-cutter. 

CANE Tables. Manufactured by Lab31.

CANE is not the first modern interpretation of caning – Patricia Urquiola’s Canasta Line for B&B Italia revives the theme of woven patterns in a contemporary language and materiality.  “Sophisticated technology combines with a cultural heritage to give Canasta dramatic modern aesthetics weighted with historic appeal,” according to the company.  The line is manufactured from a very modern material, Polyethylene fiber, but relies on skilled craftsmen “who’ve been practicing this art for generations.”  LAB31 moves beyond this interpretation to further abstract the patterns created by the age-old technique.  Rather than utilizing hand-weaving techniques to create hand-woven patterns, the surface receives its intricately patterned perforations by means of modern machinery.  The three-dimensional pattern is developed into a two-dimensional abstraction.  Although both Canasta and CANE reintroduce themes of hand-woven patterning, the results differ tremendously.



The table is available in three sizes: CANE 1, a dining table (for four), CANE2 a coffee table or low casual dining table, and CANE3, a side or end table.    The welded steel frame is powder coated in one of three colors (gray, blue and yellow-orange).  The finish is highly durable and easy to maintain.  It is resistant to scratches and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.  Unlike traditional woven cane, it won’t rot in the rain, stain or tear.  CANE is marked by a sense of history and nostalgia despite its highly modern aesthetic and contemporary “maintenance” techniques.  On the deck or in the garden, CANE is built to last.

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