John Muir is often remembered as an environmental philosopher. Americans knew him simply as John of the Mountains. Indeed, it was he who first suggested walking in the woods as a means of escaping our minds and finding our souls. One of the great 19th-century thinkers, he knew then what researchers would take decades to decode: that real replenishment takes place outside.
This spring, his words seem to have found special resonance at some of our favourite design houses. Across Europe, makers from Copenhagen to Brianza have made time to wander outdoors. And they haven’t come back empty handed. Each has been hard at work dreaming up alfresco versions of indoor classics. Sensitively translated for their new context, they promise to turn lacklustre gardens into unprecedented Edens. Here’s all the ones we think you should know…
Bat & Beetle Outdoor Dining Chairs by Gubi
For organic styles like the Bat and Beetle, the new alfresco versions are more of a homecoming than anything else. While the shells have hung on to their distinctive visual language, the base has been reimagined to resemble the forthright branches of trees. Much like their namesakes, they promise to tread lightly upon the Earth, with each crafted from 100% recyclable materials.
MG501 Cuba Chair by Carl Hansen & Son
The Cuba collection is one of the season’s lost and found designs. Originally designed in 1977, it reveals the dual nature of Nordic styling — a tradition in which objects can be both understated and imposing at the same time. Its plush teak frame is light and foldable and so easily stowed away or hung on a wall. However when it’s open, be it in the lounge or on the patio, it has all the warmth of a classic wood sculpture, designed to hug the contours of the body close.
IC Floor Lamp by Flos
The IC series is perhaps the only good idea to ever come out of a YouTube binge. Inspired by a video of contact jugglers, each globe engages in a daring balancing act that is hypnotising to behold. Last year saw the arrival of a beautiful new alfresco variant — a real turning point for gardens that had been characterised by bulky bollard lighting thus far. Indeed on a dark night, the loveliness of the IC Outdoor Floor Lamp is rivalled only by the moon itself.
LC Collection by Cassina
If you’ve ever read anything about the architect Le Corbusier you’ll know that he spent much of his life organising inner worlds. The way a room fits within a home. Or how a human sits inside a chair. We wonder then, what he would think about seeing his greatest masterpieces out in the big wide world. Set against acres of sky, the clean lines and tight shapes seem to take on a new importance — moments of controlled perfection in an unruly universe.
Panton Dining Chair by Vitra
The best thing about Vitra chairs isn’t just that the style (although we like to think that’s reason enough to invest). It’s also that they tend to be tremendously hardworking. The eponymous Panton chair is one such story. Suitable for use indoors or out, this spring it’s being reintroduced in a selection of new seasonal hues, from softest sage to deepest plum.
Fly Collection by Flexform
Fly is an example of what Antonio Citterio likes to call good design: the functional type that’s as interested in being comfortable as it is beautiful. A bestseller since its inception, it was an obvious choice when Flexform sat down to consider which pieces of the collection they would like to invite outside. Lightweight and lovely, its pedestal base means it can be used in alfresco settings of all sizes, from petite city balconies to generous rolling paddocks.
Ottoman Lounge Collection by Ligne Roset
The Ottoman collection sits in the sweet spot between laissez-faire aesthetics and Middle Eastern lounging. It has no interest in anything other than conveying an immediate sense of comfort, and so forgoes sharp lines in favour of generous curves. As loungers go, it’s about as cosy as they get. Originally designed for a lush hotel in Marrakech, it is now available in a wide variety of weather-hardy fabrics with a clever hidden drain to ensure that water doesn’t pool up.
Saarinen Tulip Tables by Knoll
You’ve probably heard of the Saarinen Tulip table. Immediately recognisable by its sinuous base, it shoots up from the ground like an alien bloom. Nowadays, the classic laminate version can be purchased with a special resin coating, ideal for those who wish to experience the same thrill of perfect design in the outdoor environment.
This year, life alfresco has taken on a special importance. As we tiptoe towards spring, we’ve been busy updating our alfresco catalogue with everything you need to enjoy the outdoors with those you love most. Click here to peruse the entire catalogue, or book an appointment with our friendly design team for stellar advice on how to extend your residential panorama this season.
SHOP OUTDOOR VERSIONS OF ICONIC DESIGNS ONLINE OR IN-STORE AT CHAPLINS
Bat Outdoor Dining ChairIn 2021, Gubi’s sculptural Beetle and Bat chairs are venturing outdoors, returning home to the wild that birthed them. In response to this shift, their sculptural shells have been reinterpreted with new lightness and flex, to ensure a seating experience that is as effortless and down-to-earth as the new context demands.
Beetle Outdoor Dining ChairIn 2021, Gubi’s sculptural Beetle and Bat chairs are venturing outdoors, returning home to the wild that birthed them. In response to this shift, their sculptural shells have been reinterpreted with new lightness and flex, to ensure a seating experience that is as effortless and down-to-earth as its new context demands.
LC7 Outdoor Swivel ChairFirst designed by Charlotte Perriand in 1927 for her flat in Paris, this LC7 chair is an icon of contemporary design. It embodies her pioneering ideas of 'structure as decoration' and serves as both a dining and lounge chair. As of 2020, this classic chair is now available in a selection of weather-hardy fabrics for use in garden spaces.
LC3 Outdoor ArmchairA timeless classic, one that made design history. Designed in 1928, the LC3 is the archetype of the modern armchair. The careful elaboration of structure as decoration kickstarted a new language of modernity, based on truthful, pared-back materials. It's with great delight that we announce that, as of 2020, the LC3 Armchair is now available in a selection of weather-hardy fabrics, once again blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
LC3 3-Seater Outdoor SofaDesigned in 1928, the LC3 is the archetype of the modern sofa. The careful elaboration of structure as decoration kickstarted a new language of modernity, based on truthful, pared-back materials. As of 2020, the LC3 Sofa is now available in a selection of weather-hardy fabrics, once again blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
Panton Dining ChairThe Panton dining chair is the epitome of Verner Panton's sinuous style. Originally designed in 1960, it was the first ever cantilever chair to be crafted from a single piece of plastic and it remains as futuristic and forward-thinking to this day. Aesthetics aside, it's also incredibly hardworking — a resilient chair that can be used inside or out thanks to its weatherproof matt finish.
Saarinen Tulip Round Outdoor Low TablesThis edition of the Saarinen Tulip Table sees the Knoll classic tiptoe outdoors. Its sinuous silhouette gains new resonance in the alfresco context, appearing almost like an alien bloom in the wild landscape. The ideal accompaniment for any garden furniture set, it promises to help keep everything you love, close.