The infamous Peacock Chair

The colonial import that became much more than a symbol of counter-cultural resistance, became a pop-culture icon itself. That's right, we're talking about the infamous Peacock Chair. A piece of rattan goodness, certainly not your average chair only fit for support; this timeless piece of furniture may more accurately be described as a throne.

Iconic Emmanuelle Chair Midcentury Rattan Peacock Chair via 1stdibs

Crafted from rattan, the chair has a broad, flared back and an intricate build, often including lifted arms and an hourglass-shaped base, giving it a throne-like appearance. It’s versatile enough to live both indoors and out—you can thank the woven rattan for that.

Although the origins of the Peacock Chair are widely disputed, most accounts trace it back to Asia. It likely originated in the Philippines and has often be referred to as the Manila or Philippine chair.  

Often revered by celebrities during the golden era of film, it became a status symbol in the '50's and '60's. In recent times, the chair is the quintessential crown of the Boho movement.   

The '60's and '70's proved to be an exciting period for the music industry, from the psychedelic rock to the infamous disco, jazz infusions and soul, it was a period of colour, experimentation and new found freedom.

Music legends of the period posed on their album covers with the chair, looking like a king or queen. Sometimes they would use props, but no matter what, the oversized woven chair was the main feature. This was the Peacock Chair album cover, and it was everywhere.

 During that same time, Black Panther founder and leader, Huey Newton, had his picture taken in the Peacock Chair. The chair became a power symbol for the Black Power movement. The chair would turn up to meetings and rallies when Newton couldn't attend, further asserting itself as a symbol of cultural relevance and power. 

Huey Newton in a Peacock Chair. Photography by Blair Stapp. 

The chairs lasting legacies have been a way for modern artists today to assert their cultural influence and place in modern pop culture. Artists such as Beyoncé have used them in their concerts and album art.

 

 Recent trends have meant that this fabulous chair is suited to a vast range of interior styles and aesthetics.

Think a woodsman's lodge in the woods, lots of textural furnishings and lavish rugs to add warmth. Think a contemporary Scandinavian-inspired minimal vibe, with neutral surroundings, plant foliage and the deep browns of wood furniture give warmth to a generally more cooler aesthetic. 

Go bold with outside dining and create a patio of dreams. Tropical plants that tower over you while you sit beneath them, outside rugs creating pattern and surface, the Peacock Chair in the midst of it all adding to nature's vibrancy. 

   

Photography by Skye Parrot & Frank Rothenberg.

With as much cultural history as the influential people who sat in it, this piece of woven furniture is one for life, giving you timeless style with a sense of practicality about it, yet always leaving you feeling like the royalty that you are.

The Peacock Chair, an icon.