1. To paraphrase Ogden Nash, wood is dandy but wicker grows quicker, and is therefore eco-friendly. Or something like that. Actually, wicker is not a specific plant, but a general term for rattan, bamboo, willow, and similar, usually fast-growing plants with flexible branches or shoots. The word comes from the Swedish <i>vika</i>, "to bend."
2. Wicker counter stools can be made from organic or synthetic materials. Bamboo has long been a primary material, but rattan counter stools are the next big thing in wicker furniture. Rattan stems are solid, unlike hollow bamboo, which means a rattan counter stool will be sturdier than a bamboo stool.
3. A wicker counter stool has a tropical, breezy quality which makes it a natural fit in outdoor settings or even in travel-themed decor - think steamer trunks and Asian or African art. A hint of exoticism might also work in dining areas; hey, it's called a kitchen <i>island</i> for a reason.