Rattan backrest curves around Hiroomi Tahara's Wrap sofa

Milan 2015: a curved rattan structure forms the flexible backrest of this sofa by Japanese designer Hiroomi Tahara (+ slideshow).

The Wrap sofa's backrest is woven from dried strands of rattan – a fast-growing tropical vine – around a frame of metal tubing.

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

Tahara designed the structure so the vertical woven surface folds over at the top and doubles back at a slight angle towards the seat. The backrest also curves around the sides of the upholstered polyurethane-filled seat to form armrests.

The Wrap sofa was designed in Tahara's new capacity as art director for Yamakawa Rattan to showcase what the material can do.

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

"Rattan is one of the classic materials for furniture design," said Tahara. "I wanted to add freshness to that material – I hope the organic shape of the backrest will explain the potential and new value for rattan."

Tahara designed the curves using sketches, two-dimensional drawings and physical models rather than 3D modelling software.

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

"I made some simple wire models and accurate 2D technical drawings by computer, because when I use 3D software, I often lose the delicate curves and human touch," he told Dezeen.

"One of the special features of the sofa is the curve from the front part into the armrest. The wrapping looks solid, but in that curve, you can feel more lightness and see the shadow."

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

The sofa, which is currently a prototype, was made entirely by hand by Yamakawa Rattan's craftspeople.

"I love and respect slow fashion, for example the use of quality materials and craftsmanship to create thoughtful products with longevity," said the designer, who has previously designed a towel rail comprising a rope wound around wall-mounted sticks.

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

"I always focus my attention on the richness in culture and its tradition, which is the basis of this concept. I hope people will feel the value and respect the material and craftsmanship that has gone into the Wrap sofa."

Wrap by Hiroomi Tahara

The Wrap sofa will be shown during the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan next month, and is due to go into production later this year.

Photography is by Lorenzo Nencioni.