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WEND is an Oakland, California based design studio that aims to marry the traditional Indonesian craft of hand weaving with a distinctly California aesthetic. Our products are a collaboration between designers Michelle Plante and Genevieve Bandrowski, and a family of weavers in Java, Indonesia. Our process is physical: we design on paper, source hand-foraged sustainable rattan, and weave in small batches – no two chairs are exactly alike.
WEND Studio aims to offer a line of home furnishings that have the highest level of social and environmental commitment available, without ever sacrificing aesthetics.
Transparency. Every product has a story. We want to share ours as it passes from the hands of our artisan collaborators to yours. If you have any question about a product or process, please contact us.
People and Place. Every dollar you spend supports fair wages, safe and flexible working environments, and creates lasting change. Rattan is helping to preserve Indonesian rainforest.
Global Citizens. 10% of our proceeds support changemakers whose contribution to our global community creates change that touches us all.
As designers, rattan is an ideal material - flexible and easily bent, yet strong enough to be structural. However, that is only part of what initially drew us to it. Mostly grown in Indonesia, this versatile material needs the trees of rainforest left intact to grow.
Rattan begins as a thorny vine-like plant that grows by climbing trees to reach the sunlight; the trees are an integral part of survival. Additionally, once harvested, rattan regrows at a very fast pace. It provides a valuable source of income to local indigenous communities, that encourages preservation of the forests and their wildlife. Several national and international organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, have programs supporting rainforest preservation are working with rattan farmers as one means to reach their goals.
Our rattan is grown on the islands of Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sulawesi in Indonesia. This year we are contributing 10% of our proceeds to The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project which works to protect some of the most important areas of tropical rainforest on Kalimantan, home to the world's largest orangutan population
Wend chairs are built and woven by hand on the island of Java in Indonesia. Our rattan is sustainably grown in the rainforest in Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (see "Rattan" above).
Some of our rattan is naturally cured which gives it a lustrous grey color and makes it weather resistant. The village above is one of several locations on Java where a naturally occurring mineral key to the curing process is found in the soil. The rattan is soaked for up to a month in these dark mineral pools while villagers carefully turn them at certain points in the process.
Our chair designs start with the structural elements of the chair being molded out of large pieces of rattan in a process of heating, bending, and reheating until the desired shape is achieved.
Once the frame has been created, smaller pieces are carefully spaced and attached to create the main pattern for the chair.
The weaver then wets thin strips of rattan to make them pliable and wraps the joints and connections of the chair.
Our chairs are then hand finished in non-toxic clear matte finish.
Yani and her 2 year-old daughter Lily. Yani, together with her husband Herman, run the workshop in Java and do a tremendous job overseeing the craftsmanship of every Wend piece.