The design year can be viewed as having two distinct moods. From March onwards, the dark delights of winter give way to the extroversion of spring, bringing with it new palettes and the promise of Salone del Milano 2018. New trends emerge and we look to the latest outdoor collections to help revolutionise the way we live outside.
This spring, international influences are setting the tone for gardens that refused to be confined to a single cultural lens. From the ancient craft weavers of West Africa to the yogis of South East India, these new outdoor collections offer a roadmap into Europe, the Orient and beyond.
Featuring 4 exclusive collections, we’ve scoured the globe to bring you your essential outdoor SS18 trends. What’s more, with our Spring Promotion now live, you can shop all of these brands with up to 15% off. So sit tight and buckle up as we count down the ones to watch this season.
When we think of the decor on the sun-drenched island of Ibiza, there are a couple of themes that come to mind. White on white schemes reign supreme, while an array of modern outdoor furniture creates the feeling of a restorative island retreat.
And while the big players in Spanish design, Vondom, BD Barcelona and Gandia Blasco have all brought out exciting new pieces, it’s the new kid on the block that’s got everyone talking.
Diabla is the recently launched sister company of Gandia Blasco, a brand revered the world over for their modern and uncompromising outdoor furniture creations.
Their first collection contains the type of products you might expect to find in Karim Rashid’s garden. They are witty, sleek and exuberantly colourful. Too much of this in the wrong hands could be distasteful, yet, much like Rashid, they manage to avoid this fate entirely.
Experimental forms are backed up by the Spanish elegance unique to Gandia Blasco. The colours and silhouettes are modern too, harnessing state of the art plastic resins and award-winning pillow technology.
Highlights include the Valentina Collection, a wonderful series of lounge chairs, chaise longues and day beds that outline a new physiognomy for outdoor furniture. For a start, they’re not elevated off the floor, rather used in the same adventurous manner as beanbags and outdoor pouffes.
The Lipstick Chair is equally Instagrammable, existing somewhere between Salvador Dali’s surreal Dalilips sofa and B&B Italia’s UP collection. And yet the territory this brand occupies is completely unique. Diablo is at once youthful and refined, ideal for young cosmopolitans and family residences alike.
DESIGN FACT: The array of outdoor lounging options are complemented by a swath of stylish accessories and planters that play with form and scale. The only caveat is that there’s no sign of a dining table yet, although we’re keeping our fingers crossed for one in the next collection.
Keep Cool and Carry On
B&B Italia’s latest foray into outdoor furniture is the striking Bay Collection, designed by Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien. The key design principle is the juxtaposition between the boulder-like upholstered seats and the gentle braided backrest. Using techniques from the tropical climes of Brazil and Colombia, the backrests are woven to create pockets of air, through which a cool breeze can filter on a particularly sunny summer’s day.
The Tabour Pouf has also been revised for outdoor use to form stylish islands between the new sofas and armchairs.
Design Fact: Nipa was born in Bombay and grew up in Delhi. In 1989, she was offered a place at the National Institute of Design (NID), where she began to explore the connections between craft, design and cultural identity. She met Jonathan Levien at the Royal College of Arts, where they struck up an immediate bond, and have since gone on to create an array of modern furniture icons that reflect their dual heritage.
Rhythm and Blues
Inspired by the swish and sway of the 1940s, Calypso is a colourful collection of pendant lights that finds its roots in Caribbean culture. Its namesake heralds an up-tempo genre of West Indian music with politically potent lyrics and African rhythms. At once a celebration of African identity and a lament against the trials of racism, Calypso was a fundamental instrument in combatting black oppression during the 40s and 50s.
The collection is produced by Italian lighting authority, Contardi, and comprises three different lights, Antigua, Guadaloupe, and Martinique, each of which can be used indoors or outdoors. Together, they provide a fresh take on European Art Deco style, with bright colours, patterns and twine updating the characteristic geometric lines and monochrome detailing.
DESIGN FACT: One of the major challenges when designing this product was how to transport an electric flow through the braid silk cable into the glass light diffuser. After much experimentation, a tiny cable was inserted into the body of the silk, capable of carrying the necessary electric charge.
Asia and its many sprawling nations have always held a particular allure for contemporary designers. Minimalism, Om (ॐ) and Wabi Sabi, form the spiritual underbelly of these exotic nations, which brim with silk embroidery, bamboo architecture and perfectly coiffed gardens.
Patricia Urquiola’s new Garden Layers Collection was similarly inspired. The series of outdoor rugs and lounge accessories was devised following a trip to India, in which Urquiola became enamoured by the ease of which people lived outdoors. From terracotta courtyards through to sunset rooftops, the people she met revelled in the evening sun, using mattresses and cushions to cushion their clothes from the baked earth buildings. The Garden Layers is thus conceived with the same Eastern aesthetic, a delightful alternative to traditional outdoor furniture.
DESIGN FACT: This is not the first time Patricia Urquiola has found inspiration in faraway places. Her work is characterised by specifically curated cultural references from her exhaustive travels around the globe. To see more of her work, follow the link here.
A Continent of Colour
The much-loved M’Afrique Collection by Moroso is a staple of outdoor design that we keep going back to. It represents the plural beauty of modern Africa, a continent enriched by centuries of craftsmanship and creativity.
From the elegant silhouette of the Shadowy Armchair through to the geometric prints of the Iris collection, M’Afrique is a raucous celebration of colour, textiles and form, each item directly revealing some creative truth about its designer’s nation of origin. The Banjooli Range remains a firm favourite, a stylish series of low tables, chairs and settees woven by African craftsman using traditional fishing net yarn. Its elegant forms draw inspiration from the mating dance of ostriches, whose impressive wings arch and thrash in their attempt to attract a female.
Sengalese motifs and patterns are ripe throughout the collection, which contains designs from some of Africa’s most celebrated designers – David Adjaye, Tord Boontje and Faith Hansen.
DESIGN FACT: For vivacious colours and gorgeously printed textiles, look no further than Senegal, the commercial heart of this great continent. Strategically positioned between the desert, savannah and ocean, it benefits from a rich influx of traditional and Western styles. It’s also the homeland of Patrizia Moroso’s husband, fellow artist Abdou Salam Gaye.