Italian furniture makes outdoor spaces inviting
White plastic garden chairs belong firmly in the past. These days, our desire for maximum cosiness has also extended to the way we furnish our outside spaces. Top Italian designers have created outdoor furniture collections that herald a new era and represent modern design, comfort and innovation. We take a look at the latest Italian outdoor furnishings that are difficult to distinguish from traditional ensembles designed for the indoors.
Modern outdoor lounge furniture like the Echoes Outdoor chairs from Flexform show Scandinavian and Italian design influences. (Photo: Flexform)
Italian-style outdoor sofas
A good book, a glass of something chilled, and a day of nothing but sunny skies – spending time at home in the garden or on the terrace is the ideal way to enjoy everything summer has to offer. But to really relax, you first need the perfect outdoor sofa. Earlier models were generally covered with robust, water-resistant fabrics that weren’t especially cosy. Italian designer labels such as Flexform and EMU show that there are more comfortable options.
The Grandemare Italian sofa created by Antonio Citterio for Flexform in 2011, for example, has been redesigned for outdoor use. Its seat cushions and backrests are made of polyurethane foam and polyester fibre and covered with a protective, water-repellent fabric. A removable fabric cover is fitted on top for extra comfort. EMU takes a similar approach with its Cannolè outdoor sofa. The inside of the cushions is made of polyurethane rubber and a layer of polyester fibre resin; the inner cushion cover is fashioned from water-repellent polyamide.
Relaxing on outdoor furniture like the Grandemare Outdoor Italian sofa from Flexform is the ideal way to enjoy the summer. (Photo: Flexform)
A new take on classic pieces
A summer barbecue calls for the right chairs and tables to suit the occasion. Here, Italian designers are increasingly turning to minimalist Scandinavian forms, while also reinterpreting classic pieces of furniture. The 1966 Lounge Chair was, as the name suggests, designed in 1966 by Richard Schultz at the request of Florence Knoll. The collection is regarded as the precursor to modern outdoor lounge furniture. The elegant chair is extremely weather-resistant, and its sloping seat and long, straight armrests make it an inviting place to sit back and relax.
Flexform has stepped further back in time to breathe new life into the Moka chair, designed in 1939 by Mario Asnago and Claudio Vender. The powder-coated, stainless-steel frame is slender and minimalist, and the woven polypropylene-fibre seat adds a touch of rustic warmth. Up-to-date pieces of outdoor lounge furniture like Dafne and Echoes show Scandinavian and Italian design influences. While Dafne , whose legs and frame are built in solid African teak, has a cosy, rustic appearance, Echoes is reminiscent of the simple look of a classroom, especially when paired with the Fly outdoor table designed by Antonio Citterio.
Innovative outdoor lounge furniture
Multifunctional and modular furniture is a growing trend – and not just for indoor environments like micro-apartments and co-working spaces. Flexible furnishings are in demand for patios and gardens too. The outdoor furniture collection from Lapalma is focused on elegant simplicity and modularity. For example, ADD by Francesco Rota is based on a white, rectangular aluminium frame, which can be configured as a two-seater, a Récamier-style three-seater, a corner sofa or a bench seat, each available with seat cushions in a range of colours.
Available in various sizes and colours, the pouffes in the KIPU collection aren’t just there to provide cosy seating options next to tables and sofas. They also serve as design elements that blend effortlessly into their surroundings and leave no doubt about their source of inspiration: pebbles. AARON , a bar stool with an integrated side table, designed by brothers Pio and Tito Toso, is also truly multifunctional. Both the seat and the tabletop can be swivelled 360 degrees. Thanks to its minimalist design and high-quality materials, the stool can be used at home, in the office or in a restaurant – and is easily carried from A to B.
The trendy design of the outdoor pouffes in the KIPU range from Lapalma creates a look that is both elegant and laid-back. (Photo: Lapalma)
Extraordinary design from Italy
With comfortable seats, reinterpreted designs and innovative features, modern Italian outdoor furniture shows how high design standards, functionality and robustness can be successfully combined. This way, outdoor spaces can become extended living rooms for hot summer days. You will find even more inspiration from Italy in our article on the extraordinary shapes found in contemporary Italian furniture .