Taking indoors, outdoors

Through the introduction of unique furniture designs, bright colours, and a fusion of materials, the concept of outdoor space is being transformed.

Part of the Kokoon collection by Royal Botania
Part of the Kokoon collection by Royal Botania

Through the introduction of unique furniture designs, bright colours, and a fusion of materials, the concept of outdoor space is being transformed.

Traditionally, the concept of outdoor furnishing was understated, and simple. However, each year an increasing number of designers, particularly those working within the commercial sector, are specialising in furniture that takes the comfortable feeling of indoors, outdoors.

From deep-seated armchairs, to marble-topped tables, to beds, and curvy loungers, the stylish looks and luxurious comforts of a well-dressed room are spilling out onto the beach fronts of hotels and spas, and the decks of luxury cruise ships - just a few of many clients that outdoor furniture designers are gearing their inspiration towards.

Complimentary colours

"The most important trend is the use of new materials: like glass, metal and fibre, explains Kevin Synders, marketing manager for Royal Botania, designers of the new'Flexy', sun lounger collection. Made up of a thin metal frame, the 'Flexy' is self explanatory in its name, and its curved body is covered in bold orange cushioning.

"Only since a few years ago has the outdoor experiences mirrored the inside of a home," he said. "The garden has to be perfect, and cosy enough to spend a lot of time in, and the use of colours play a major part in creating that effect. White is very much in, white glass tables, and a white umbrella, combined with nice colorful accents, for example orange or turquoise cushioning, then the outdoor space is transformed."

Keeping up to date with the fashion trends in outdoor furniture is crucial, agrees Ricardo Suberviola, commercial director of Luz De Luna, distributors of Kettal outdoor furniture. Based in Barcelona, Kettal specialises in manufacturing products made from aluminium and wood, and then matching them together with orange, cream and brown pillows and/or cushions.

"If for example, you have a rustic patio then a contemporary set of table and chairs may go well together. It is more than likely that a designer will stick to maintaining the same decor style.

"Selecting the colours of the furniture and cushion with care is also important, as is taking time out to visualise the furnishings in the place where they are intended to be used," he continued.

Material world

So while, rich, deep and earthy tones, such as reds and oranges are popular in terms of colour, the use of a variety of materials are also important in outdoor furniture design, not just for aesthetic purposes, but to ensure the longevity of the product.

Recently releasing the 'Delta' collection of sofa's, chairs, tables and sun loungers for outdoor spaces, Luz De Luna believes that Kettal is accurate in its choice of materials used. Made up of woven-wood, accompanied by chunky cushioning, the 'Delta' grouping of outdoor furniture is simple, yet stylish.

Suberviola went on to say that, "a key trend that I keep seeing is soft seating, featuring big, thick deep-set cushions, offering sofa-like comfort, but are durable. Also we see a lot of outdoor beds, which can be in the form of simple canopy over a chaise lounge, or an actual bed designed specifically for the outdoors."

Another determining factor in the choice of materials, particularly in this part of the world, is the sweltering climate. When the heat is on in the Middle East, there are not many materials that could withstand the suns strenuous rays.

Furniture from Royal Botania, is made up of a stainless steel frame and marine-grade teak wood, which are all weather proof and able to survive the high temperatures present in the GCC market.

"Where other companies can be limited in their offerings, the popularity factor of the Royal Botania collection lies in the fact that we can offer high-quality wood (teak), aluminum, stainless steel, glass, and fibre. This gives the furniture an extended life-span, and the ability to stay outside in instances of extreme weather conditions, even the winter in Iceland," said Synders.

Having worked on a number of different hotel projects, such as the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, and the Radisson SAS, as well as the Seven Seas Voyager & Navigator luxery cruise ships, according to Synders, the art however, is providing quality, in an aesthetically pleasing body.

"We made for example a brand new collection with stainless steel: the OZON range. OZON has got bowed steel, this is not easy to make. Also the quality of the materials has to be excellent because people can use our furniture in every place in the world and during every weather condition," he said.

A similar concept is featured in the new Orson collection by Resol Gardens. Designed by Flavio Ciciliani, the selection offers sun loungers, sofas, armchairs and puffs, among other things. Each featuring a painted aluminium structure covered with a wave of flat Wintex PE (a specially developed material, resistant against weather erosion), the foam bodied cushions are upholstered with Sunbrella fabric, with waterproof and stain resistant treatment.

This idea of style and durability is also portrayed through the Madison Model, part of the new Cosmopolitan collection by Point. Adopted with the urban lifestyle in mind the Cosmopolitan range of outdoor furniture has crimson cushioning on a handcrafted frame. As specialists in wicker furniture, the collection is woven from a new fiber (Shintotex Dark), resistant against dramatic climate changes.

"At Point we like to investigate the fusion of materials, designs and colours," said Vanessa Soler of Point.

"In turn, the effect expected is valued decoration within a natural environments, without having to give up comfort, practicality or fashion. Our clients look for furniture with attractive designs, that are manufactured with quality materials, providing them with high durability," she added.

Through the introduction of a unique mix of materials, and colours, gone are the days of simple white plastic beach beds, paired with a bottle green parasol. Today's experimental offerings in shapes, colours, and materials are transforming the commercial outdoor experience.

With the wealth of fabulous ranges around this season it is easy to truly transform a space into an 'outdoor room' that you'll never want to leave - no matter what the weather.

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