We have yet to build our dream Mediterranean villa, but of course we are already collecting the best pieces to furnish it with, selected from the latest outdoor furniture launches.
The summer’s best outdoor furniture
Christophe Pillet was inspired by the nautical world while creating Costiera and Baia, his latest designs for outdoor furniture specialist Ethimo. The designs are a contemporary interpretation of classic Mediterranean style: ‘We look at light and water from the sea, rather than the land, from a boat,’ says the designer. The discreet silhouettes and materials (wood, aluminum leather and linen, in colors that refer to parasols) have been developed into a system that includes sofas, armchairs, a day bed and tables with austere shapes and inviting upholstered seats. ‘I met Ethimo many years ago, it was an idealization of life in the Mediterranean and I wanted to be part of this story. From there we became friends and business partners.’
ethimo.com (opens in new tab)
‘Brutal Finnish’ furniture company Vaarnii has teamed up with Henrik Tjaerby to create an engineering-inspired outdoor table and bench set with T-shaped beams and joints. The garden furniture set is made from pine, the company’s preferred material, heat-treated to make it more resistant and suitable for outdoor use – a technique normally used for architecture, which inspired the designer. “It’s such an honest design,” Tjaerby explains. ‘The T-element is a standardized size, its proportions predetermined by their manufacture and dictated by function, ease of manufacture and waste. I like things that are modular and I like designs that are easy to understand. In this series, nothing is hidden.’
vaarnii.com (opens in new tab)
French designer Constance Guisset designed the Chelsea outdoor sofa for Tectona with relaxation in mind. The modular system allows the design to adapt to a myriad of outdoor spaces, and the design was adapted specifically with a lower height and inviting cushions.
tectona.net (opens in new tab)
As a tribute to the sea, Jacopo Foggini designed the ‘A’mare’ collection for the Italian furniture brand Edra. The collection consists of hand-crafted pure polycarbonate sticks and includes outdoor furniture such as chairs, armchairs, a bench, a lounge chair, a coffee table and tables in a characteristic translucent blue shade.
edra.com (opens in new tab)
First up, we have our eyes on Stephen Burks’ nest-like ‘Kida’ hanging chair for outdoor specialist Dedon, designed to allow users to feel ‘as free as the breeze’. Its sturdy aluminum pole frame is wrapped in cords of weather-resistant Fiber Touch, a synthetic, recyclable fabric used in three striped colors.
dedon.de (opens in new tab)
Another excellent seating option includes London-based designer Michael Anastassiade’s ‘Ringer’ armchair for Kettal, part of a first joint collection that references both the traditional game of horseshoes and a minimal approach to cafe furniture. The chair’s armrest comes with a slight fade in the opening, designed as a subtle invitation to take the seat, echoing the traditional Chinese Horseshoe Back chair.
kettal.com (opens in new tab)
And there’s more: Ilaria Marelli’s pebble-shaped ‘Calipso’ sofa for Ethimo, which floats on a large floating teak base and allows for flexible cushion arrangements, suitable for siestas and parties alike; as well as Christophe Pillet’s rustic-chic ‘Echoes’ armchair for Flexform. Woven from fine matt polypropylene cord (in natural, ice, straw or anthracite), the armchair is intended as a soothing mix of Mediterranean style and Scandinavian style.
ethimo.com (opens in new tab)
flexform.it (opens in new tab)
Other favorites include Kensaku Oshiro’s family of portable and rechargeable lanterns for Poltrona Frau, inspired both by amphorae and rice paper lamps. The eye-catching designs, called ‘Sparkler’, come in all shapes and sizes (including table, floor and standing versions), all with a handy horseshoe-shaped handle. They would look right at home on Paola Navone’s ‘Sunset Lounge’ table for Exteta, with a circular marble top supported by an exquisitely carved wooden base.
poltronafau.com (opens in new tab)
Last but not least is Rodolfo Dordoni’s ‘Norma’ outdoor kitchen for Roda, developed in collaboration with the Italian appliance manufacturer Ilve. It is a modular system consisting of two free-standing modules – one with an extendable table – with slabs made of sintered Lapitec stone. It’s so elegant that we might even get another one indoors.
rodaonline.com (opens in new tab)