What to Know About Rosewood Furniture
Rosewood in Fine Furniture, Instruments, and More
Rosewood is valued for its handsome appearance, resistance to wear, and denseness. Its incredible strength in addition to these characteristics make it an excellent material for fine instruments, luxury furniture, designer flooring and built-ins, as well as other pieces of turnery, such as fountain pens, chess sets, billiard cues, and more.
Perhaps most well-known for its appearance in fine instruments, especially guitars and other stringed instruments, Rosewood’s unique properties make it an excellent tonewood. However, for us design nerds it is Rosewood furniture that takes the top spot in our hearts—especially Mid-Century Modern styles from Danish and Brazilian designers.
The History of Rosewood
Known for its rich warm tones and exceptional strength, Rosewood has been used in the creation of exceptional furniture for centuries. The first known use of Rosewood in fine furniture dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) when royals developed a taste for ornate Rosewood furniture after first appreciating its durability and beauty when used in their war ships.
Danish designers that ushered in modernism with the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s used Rosewood in their designs and pieces. After the ornate and gilded Rosewood furniture pieces of the Regency and Victorian periods, the Bauhaus movement was a renaissance of simple shapes and clean lines. This gave way to the iconic silhouettes still popular today that were produced during the 50s and 60s. For Danish modern designers, Rosewood’s natural beauty made it even more stunning when crafted with minimal ornamentation or pretense.
Many European architects and designers like the Italian-born Lina Bo Bardi moved to Brazil after World War II, where hardwoods from tropical plants like Rosewood and Jacaranda were bountiful. These local materials made their way into the eponymous furniture pieces of Brazilian designers like Carlos Motta, Sérgio Rodrigues, and Paulo Mendes de Rocha that continue to inspire the modern art and architecture of today.
Famous Furniture Designs Featuring Rosewood
Arne Wahl-Iversen - No. 56 Rosewood Desk
Arne Wahl-Iversen was a Danish furniture-maker whose works are now highly sought-after. His designs were produced by a range of Danish manufacturers, both small and large, including Swedish giant Ikea. The Model 56 Desk was designed in the late 50s.
Percival Lafer - MP-211 Series Sofa
Brazilian furniture maker and pioneer of the Brazilian Modernist movement, Percival Lafer's sofas and chairs are some of the most highly sought-after modernist pieces on the market. Most feature native Brazilian materials such as Jacaranda or Rosewood and leather. Most pieces of this period were produced between 1960 and 1980.
Angel Pazmino - Rosewood/Leather Lounge Chair
Angel Pazmino was a Brazilian furniture designer whose recognizable lounge chairs were often made using Jacaranda or Rosewood. Designed during the 60s for Muebles De Estilo, these lounge chairs and benches feature the distinctive low profiles and strong lines of the Brazilian Modernist movement and are incredibly collectible.
Introducing Our Limited-Edition 8" Rosewood Plant Stand Bundle
Taking inspiration from our favorite Brazilian Modernist designers and love of high-end woodworking, our latest product bundle celebrates the essence of this beautiful material. Stripping materials, lines, and shapes down to only the most essential, our Limited-Edition 8” Rosewood Plant Stand Bundle can be paired with your choice of black or white matte-glaze ceramic planter. Made from an exceptionally special stock of sustainably-sourced Rosewood, we have fewer than 100 units available—once they’re gone, they’re gone. Shop now while supplies last.