Here at Nicholas Haslam, we have always had a love for tactile materials like rattan and bamboo and you can find these in many of the projects that the Design Studio has worked on over the years. These materials have even been used as a source of inspiration in some of the designs of the Paolo Moschino Fabric Collection.
The use of natural materials in our homes is not a new trend, however, it is a strong trend at the moment. As a global community, we are all becoming more and more aware of the environmental issues and the damage being done by materials like plastic. There is an increasingly strong desire to choose materials that are easy to replenish, recycle and reuse.
For nearly fifty years, Palecek have designed furniture, lighting and accessories of unparalleled craftmanship and sophistication with their primary emphasis on sustainable natural materials. There is a real sense of commitment to the people they touch and to the unique role they have in preserving and perpetuating the art of handcrafted furnishings. There is a continual pursuit of improvement both socially and environmentally as they strive towards sustainable practices across all facets of their company. By sustaining the environment and being responsible in business, Palecek hope to leave a proud legacy for the generations that follow.
Palecek continue to create pieces that are both of the moment in style and firmly rooted in their tradition of quality and artistry. They view each creation as a unique work of art and we hope that you are inspired along the way.
As a constant innovator in the use of natural materials, here are some of the materials and finishes that are sourced in close partnership with suppliers and finished using localised artisanal experts.
SEAGRASS – Seagrass is one of the strongest and most abundant grasses available, making it a sought-after material for furnishings and accessories. Seagrass grows in shallow, salty, and brackish waters in sheltered coastal areas and are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet. When used to form chair and sofa frames, seagrass produces unique and durable pieces.
WICKER AND CORE RATTAN – Aesthetically-pleasing and reliably sturdy, core rattan is used for a wide range of furnishings and accessories. A naturally-growing vine-like plant species that’s similar to bamboo, rattan is a strong and fibrous plant. Woven rattan, called ‘wicker’ is a style of weave that’s often used as the foundation of lightweight furnishings and accessories such as baskets.
ABACA – The abaca plant, related to the banana plant, is prized for it’s strong stalk. The inner portion of the stalk is resilient and rubbery. Due to its superb strength and flexibility, abaca fiber is used to make intricate woven furnishings and accessories. Abaca is incredibly fast-growing, making it a wonderfully sustainable natural material to work with.
POLE RATTAN – Rattan, a member of the palm family, is renowned for it’s solid, smooth and uniform shape. Pole rattan is light but very strong so is an ideal material for crafting lightweight, durable furniture. Pole rattan skin, called “rattan peal” or “cane matting” can be woven and used for chair seats and other accessories.
PETRIFIED WOOD – When wood turns to stone, via a process called permineralization, the organic material is replaced with minerals, while the original structure of the tree remains intact. This fascinating process begins underground when the wood is buried beneath sediment. Lack of oxygen preserves the woods’ structure, while mineral rich water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals into the tree’s decaying cells. In this way, the wood slowly turns to stone. Different minerals yield a variety of rich and vibrant colours, that are associated with petrified wood, Naturally-occuring fissure lines also add interest and depth. Petrified wood is used to create stunning tabltops, accessories and decor.
RAFFIA – Raffia is a natural fibre harvested from a specific type of palm tree that grows in Africa, South America and the Philippines. The fiber is produced from the membrane on the underside of the of each individual frond leaf that’s taken off to create a long, thin strand which can be dyed and woven, much like a textile. The versatile fiber has been used in interiors for centuries. It’s soft but pliable texture has made a popular material for covering furniture, as well as for making accessories and wallpaper.
LAMPAKANAY – A swamp plant reaching up to 2 meters in height. Leaves are long, linear and 10 – 12 millimetres wide. It is widely distributed over the Philippine archipelago and is abundant in low altitudes, wet places with shallow, stagnant water, and is harvested and processed as fiber by communities living in these kinds of areas all over the country. Application of the fiber on a product is also done by these local communities. Its abundance and ease in propagation means supply will not run short.
COCONUT SHELL – The coconut, a staple ingredient in many Asian cuisines, is also the foundation of innovative and exquisite furniture and accessories. When used to create handcrafted furnishings, coconut shells are sanded smooth, polished and cut into various shapes, sometimes painted and sometimes left in their natural state. The coconut shell is a ntaural, sustainable material that lends luster and depth to decorative items and furnishings.
FOSSILIZED CLAM SHELL – Fossilised clams are not found at the bottom of the sea, but on top of remote mountains in Asia, often embedded in ancient lava flows. Like petrified wood, fossilised clams have gone through the process of permineralization, where organic matter is replaced with minerals. The result is a truly extraordinary material that adds interest and beauty to a wide range of accessories.
WOOD VENEER – A veneer is a decorative exterior layer made from wood that’s been thinly sliced and laminated. In crafting veneers for furnishing furniture or decorative pieces, Palecek uses some of the finest and rarest woods available. We pride ourselves on a veneer process that wastes very little materials and utilises only a small amount of these unique grain patterns. In this way, we conserve natural resources and ensure the longevity of this centuries-old technique.
SOAPSTONE (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc-schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed largely of the magnesium rich mineral talc. Due to it’s durability and heat-resistant characteristics, it has been used for building kitchen counter tops, sinks, cooking and heating equipment. Soapstone is also easy to carve and has been a medium fir carving statues, jewellery boxes and bowls for thousands of years and can be used to create molds for casting objects from soft metals such as pewter or silver.
Onyx – a gemstone with alternating colour bands that are parallel to one another as opposed to the more random banding found in agates. It has a long history of use for hardstone carving and jewelry, where it is usually cut as a cabochon or into beads. Larger pieces are occasionally wrought in the form of cups, bowls, vases and other pottery items.
SADDLE OYSTERS – marine mollusks that have rough irregular shell, found on the seabed mostly in coastal waters. They are also known as windowpane oyster of the Indian and Pacific oceans having a broad arch like saddle. Natural colour is deep purple with white and silver tones. Champagne colour is a result of further processing of the shell. Saddle oysters are highly abundant in the Philippine islands.
COMPOSITE STONE CAST – crushed stones bound together by a polymer resin mix. This material is highly durable and can withstand extreme temperatures and is resistant to corrosion making it ideal for outdoor.
RESIN – Resin starts as a thick liquid of various viscosities. When the molecules are bonded together by heat or with a chemical reaction, it creates the solid mass ‘resin’. The process usually involves first making a mold to a specific shape and then using the mold to make the resin component. The mold can be created from wood, foam, clay or plaster. In some cases, original objects such as horns and shells are used to form the desired shape of the final resin product. A resin piece is great for indoor/outdoor use and is easy to maintain. The surface can be embellished with hand-painted finishes.
NATURAL STONE MARQUETRY – Natural Stone Lamination is a tedious process that requires expertise in inlay as well as an eye for pattern. Each stone tile is intricately shaped and laminated by hand to achieve the overall pattern. Each stone has its individual characteristics in both colour and appearance. Because of this, every stone marquetry product is uniquely different from each other. With the products main frame in resin, each stone is plotted and cut by hand to achieve the desired pattern. Before the natural stone is set, the craftspeople also forms the tile according to pattern and fit.
OUTDOOR FAUX WOOD FINISH ON METAL – The Outdoor Faux Wood Finish is a unique and special technique that mimics wood texture. It is intricately painted by hand by expert finishers to create a wood-like appearance on metal.
TEAK WOOD – Teak wood has a natural golden brown finish that over time will weather and naturally change into an elegant patina grey. It is also the ideal wood for outdoor furniture for these top reasons:
- Weather Resistant – It is one of the few woods in the world containing a natural oil which repels water, keeping it from warping, cracking or becoming brittle. Outdoor furniture made from teak will withstand the harsh effects of hard rains, severe snow storms and broiling sun with minimal effect to its structural integrity.
- Pest & Mould Resistant – The same resins and oils that protect against weather, also serve as repellents against insects like termites, marine borers and mould.
- Low Maintenance – With the wood’s high oil content, teak will fade naturally into an elegant patina grey. Teak’s natural look can be maintained by regularly applying teak oil.
MARINE ROPE – Our all-weather synthetic rope is made from 100% polyester with maximum UV protection. The rope is specifically designed and made for outdoor use. It is water and mould resistant and will never break or become brittle due to weather exposure.
POWDER COATING – Powder Coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing , dry powder. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a weatherproof “skin”. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint.
SYNTHETIC WICKER – Synthetic wicker is made of polyethylene (PE). It is a non-toxic material and can be 100% recycled. Even when burned, no toxic substances are generated. It is UV tested and weather resistant. It won’t fade or split under normal use and proper care.