In 2019 / ’20, the search for well-being is a key human behaviour trait. It’s particularly evident in the design for exterior areas where outdoor furniture is becoming softer, more comfortable and practical. As has happened within the adjacent interior, today’s crossover and exterior living design aesthetics feature natural materials chosen for their perennial appeal.

Patio and terrace furniture isn’t as subject to trend vagaries as other residential home décor elements and there are aspects to its design and style that are vital to its ongoing appeal, such as high-quality materials. The latest collections present with well engineered upholstered seating in designs offering comfort and spaciousness.

Overall, the coming season indicates that there’ll be plenty of natural wood, rattan and wicker, matched to textiles that complement what is sometimes a pleasingly earthy signature.

A notable outdoor design trend is to decorate the exterior areas with the same attention given to interior spaces through the inclusion of upholstered furniture, textiles and coordinating accessories, creating genuine living rooms outside.

How then do we define the successful components of a crossover area with indoor / outdoor flow?

‘From the outset, the most important aspect is the furniture,’ says Mia Delport of Patio Warehouse. ‘It’s a case of what and where on the patio. If relaxation is key, then a lounge set is ideal; a dining set being more suitable to meet requirements for guest entertainment. Choose pieces that suit the exterior architectural signature and consider climate protection, as well as furniture items which need low maintenance and are of light weight for rearranging.’

A spokesperson for Italian import Flexform marketed in SA by Il Lusso adds: ‘Today, outdoor space – whether large or small for deck,  porch or patio – is increasingly becoming the place to fully enjoy every season. Here, furnishings have reached new heights in terms of performance and durability, reflecting the perfect blend of elegance and comfort.

‘We’ve recently debuted in the outdoor realm with our first collection, designed to deliver the same comfort and understated elegance as indoor peers. Each is conceived as an alfresco living room; a combination of sofas, armchairs, coffee and side tables and ottomans, which create a meaningful dialogue.’

‘Besides the obvious features that include durability, low maintenance and comfort, outdoor furniture needs to be stylish and should enhance these personal environments with statement pieces,’ says Karen Liebmann of French designer / manufacturer Ligne Roset. ‘And with outdoor spaces increasingly becoming extensions of the interior, there’s a need for outdoor furniture that’s as suitable indoors as it is out.

‘An example and recent newcomer is Saparella, a low-slung sofa designed by Michael Ducaroy with a modular seat: three armchair elements connected by concealed stainless-steel joints that can be arranged as desired and is available in white with a touch of coral.’

What are the latest materials in crossover furniture for both frames and upholstery?

Mira Sydow of Roche Bobois Cape Town says: ‘Bearing in mind that seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living areas is key, redefining these living spaces ensures both practical and inviting use of space. A sympathetic way to unify them entails establishing a design through-line and reinforcing continuity in relation to style, colour and texture. This synergy can be explored by utilising weather-resistant materials such as perforated foam, cataphoresis treated metal and water-varnished composite wood, which has been treated for outdoor use. Perforated materials for upholstery not only allow for water to drain off but assist cushions in draining three times faster than traditional foam.’

What’s trending sun control-wise in crossover and outdoor areas?

Karina Palmer of American Shutters on the advantages of adjustable shutters: ‘They work particularly well to enclose a covered deck or patio area because they address both the practicalities of sun control and the aesthetics of the scheme. Two key advantages are the adjustability of the louvres and the ease of being able to draw back the shutters and open up the area completely. With the shutters closed, adjustable louvres offer choice as to privacy, vistas, plus sun and shade control; and to maximise access and views, the shutters can simply be pushed back. Other benefits include security, insulation and energy efficiency for sustainable living. Shutters tick all the boxes.’

The larger glazed spans – typical of contemporary architecture – pose further questions. Yvonne Tobien of Luxaflex® has an answer: ‘Luxaflex® Ultimate Screen is a motorised external sunscreen that offers a high-performance solution for both heat and light control. The system is based on a fully enclosed headbox or cassette, side guide profiles and screen fabric with welded zippers. These keep the fabric and bottom rail stable inside the guide profiles and ensure that the product remains functional, despite wind loads of up to 49km/h. It’s a system that can help establish the aesthetic appeal of any building whether residential or corporate and is custom-made to specification. Further, recent advances in textile development have greatly increased the quality of the high-performance external fabrics used.

‘Sun or wind / sun sensors can be linked to the external sunscreen for customised control options. Ultimate Screen is designed to improve indoor environmental quality and conserve energy. It can contribute towards built environments that are comfortable, healthy, productive and sustainable, while minimising environmental impact and meeting the highest standards.’

Adjustable outdoor shade reflects the latest technology and materials for high-end umbrellas.

Fritz Walter of globally renowned designer / manufacturer Woodline comments: ‘Umbrellas play an important part with the second lounge being outdoors. Trends are moving away from the traditional centre pole umbrella as more flexible shade is required. Hence our development of the Woodline Papillon, Sky, Pavone, Pendulum and Picollo ranges with poles located on the side allowing for uninterrupted views. With Pavone, tilting and rotational functions allow the canopy to follow the sun so maximising the shade. Papillon and Sky offer the feeling of shade without any obstruction, even when 14 people are seated around a table; yet can still provide a sheltered atmosphere with side and end walls.

‘Today, many umbrellas are manufactured using stainless steel or aluminium structures for low maintenance, but nothing beats the traditional wooden structure for natural beauty and quality. Fabrics have become a very important part of the shade industry and the world’s best producers offer collections with a guarantee of up to five years against fading along with the highest UV filters employed over a large range of colours, patterns and stripes. Fabrics vary in being specifically designed for various weather conditions, from north European rain to tropical climates where sun protection is paramount.

The Palette

What colours will be most apparent for the 2019 / ‘20 summer season in South Africa? Likely some importers and local designer / manufacturers will follow those of the European and US seasons where research indicates a trend towards charcoals and grey in various tones, patterns and weaves. These being matched to natural wood and grey patina finishes such as oxidised timbers and driftwood effects.

Darren Postan of Casarredo (importers of Kettal) is in synch: ‘Garden and Forest, Sky and Water, Earth and Stone. The textures and colours of their Terrain outdoor fabrics reflect the subtle mélange of tones found in different natural environments. They become one with the outdoor landscape of their setting and are sensual, iridescent and textured, plus each is created with a mix of colours and has a surprising softness associated with indoor fabrics. There is a spectrum of 34 colours conceived to work with a diverse range of outdoor materials such as marble, stone and wood, plus coated metals and meshes’.

For the full article see Habitat #273 September / October 2019

cover image: Ligne Roset


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