However, more than the mud dipping technique was needed to get the degree of quality required by IKEA. Linn and the team tried additional methods to make the furniture more durable. Conventional rattan handicrafts are based on removing the skin and sanding it down to a beautiful smooth surface, which is polished to have a shiny lacquer. However, she found that by keeping the outer layer on the thicker rattan poles, the rattan gained additional protection by retaining the outer layer and its natural colour.
As a last step, a layer of water-based lacquer is applied, which, combined with the mud dipping and the outer layer keeping, contribute to the TVARÖ outdoor furniture being more weather resistant and lasting longer. To keep IKEA environmental commitments, the lacquer is waterbased.
To test the quality of the rattan material, the IKEA team conducted over 100 tests throughout three years, including climate chamber tests, rain tests, and real-world tests in different regions worldwide.
"We've been working on developing test methods for different weather conditions worldwide and learning from partners and other suppliers with experience with outdoor furniture", Linn explains. "In addition to the chamber tests and other lab tests, we've tested our products in real environments such as Sweden, Indonesia, and France to see how the material and product perform".
This journey resulted in a product that improved the quality and added a new expression to natural fibre.