#48 - Summer Fun

Outdoor Furniture for a Forest Gathering

Courtesy of Dedon

This year’s outdoor furniture takes us far from the severe lines of seaside infinity pools and into the woods, with pieces inspired by trees and plants. Designers return to folk influences in woods and weaves, while innovation makes materials durable in sun and rain.


The Laze collection of low and high back lounge chairs and a footstool was designed by Gordon Guillaumier for Roda, released during Salone del Mobile 2018. Made from polyester fiber cord, the chairs’ comfortable seat and back ventilate in hot climates while cushions are available for cocooning in cold climates. Following Laze’s positive reception, designer Gordon Guillaumier will release additional pieces at Salone 2019.

Laze. Image: Gordon Guillaumier

In regards to the materials used for the collection, Guillaumier spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

It was developed by Roda with its Italian supplier after many years of research, testing with rain and the UV factor. The real test is not on the resistance or structure of the cord but on the fading of the color.

The cord used for Laze was already in the Roda catalogue, but Laze’s green, orange and blue colors are new.

This has been a huge step ahead for Roda and the whole sector of outdoor furniture, moving into an area of fine research for materials which prove resistant over the years.

Another piece released this spring is the Nodi chair, born of a partnership between Belgian brand Tribù and Canadian design firm Yabu Pushelberg. The back and seat of the chair are tightly strung in twine-like linen colored Canax® rope, a weather-resistant fiber, across a sculptural  powdercoated stainless steel frame with a highly durable lacquer.

Nodi chairs for Tribu. Courtesy of Tribu.

Basket Weave

Italian designer Monica Armani brought some folk craft to her woven Emma collection for Varaschin. The designer spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

It’s a traditional design, not my normal design. If you see this chair, it’s like you already saw it in your memory.

Released at Salone del Mobile 2017, the Emma chair was joined by a bergère, lounge chair and sofa in 2018 to form a family of outdoor seating. The backrests are available in hand-woven synthetic fiber cord over a powder coated aluminum frame or upholstered in Textilene or outdoor waterproof fabric with outdoor Dryfeel® foam. The legs are available in iroko wood and aluminum intrusion.

Furniture brands Unopiu and Dedon prove that traditional basket weaves suit outdoor lighting. The Marbella pendant lamp from Italy-based Unopiu resembles an overturned basket. Made from handwoven WaProLace synthetic fibre in natural or white colors, this time-honored look can withstand the weather. It plugs into an energy source through a 6-meter synthetic material covered cord.

Marbella pendant lamp by Unopiu. Courtesy of Unopiu.

The Others lanterns, designed by New York-based designer Stephen Burks and produced by German company Dedon, are made by handweaving synthetic fibers onto powder-coated aluminum frames. Through his contemporary design, Burks strives to unite authentic developing world production and industrial manufacturing.The multi-colored lanterns can be displayed individually or arranged in totem-like stacks. The LED light source is powered by solar panels on the lantern’s top.

Multi-tone Wood

Highlighting wood’s natural light and dark toned patterns, Marc Merckx, Antwerp-based designer, created Hexagon. The outdoor side table for Tribù is inspired by the hexagonal basalt pillars of Giant’s Causeway rock formation in Northern Ireland. Variegated teak makes up the hexagonal base while the natural imperfections of a glazed lava rock tabletop complement the design. The table’s two sizes, 69 cm wide by 31 cm tall and 50 cm wide by 49 cm tall, build on the notion of crystalized formations when arranged side by side.

Hexagon tables for Tribu.

The Agave collection by Italian designer Mattia Albicini for Ethimo also displays teak wood’s natural patterns. “The shaped teak wood of the chair and lounge was the real challenge of this collection. It took more than two years of development to find the right way to produce the seat and backrest and adapt them to the metal frame,” Albicini told ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

Their curves and organic shapes highlight the natural veins and texture of the wood and help to obtain great comfort.

Ethimo uses teak wood from controlled forest plantations in Thailand and Indonesia. Teak wood does not need any finishing to be durable for outdoors. It is naturally resistant to sun, water, humidity and saltwater. It is the main wood choice used by boatyards in yacht construction,” said Albicini. Stainless steel frames are protected by layers of epoxy powder coating for outdoor use. Released in 2017, Agave includes a dining and lounge chair, three dining tables and two coffee tables, with the upcoming addition of small sofas and sun loungers. The silhouette of the agave plant, along with a ‘50s style reinterpreted to modern taste, inspired the collection.

So this summer, put away your sunscreen and keep cool under a leafy canopy. Or if you prefer to stay in the sun, let the furniture make you dream of a time when much of our urbanized world was still a forest.

About the Author

Hilary Edesess is a freelance journalist based in Marseille, France. She blogs about culture, art and urban design.

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