Sunny-side up

On the third day of the Indoor_Outdoor show, a signature part of Paris’s Maison & Objet, the gods smiled down, ushering in a weeklong heat wave. Visitors and exhibitors alike at Parc d’Expositions de Paris-Nord Villepinte took frequent timeouts from the show, exiting Hall 7 to lounge in comfortable outdoor chairs and sofas — under the sun along one side of the building, or shaded by a sort of sultan’s tent along another. Suddenly it made absolute sense to be thinking about outdoor furniture.

Inside the hall packed with new introductions, metal ruled. French furniture maker Fermob made use of top-grade metal to create a chaise longue version of the country’s famous Bistro chair. For Belgian brand Domani, Stefan Schning used lacquered steel wire to fashion a pristine collection of chairs, ottomans, tables, lights and pots for plants. Even Italian company Borella Design, best know for its design and production for the automotive and airspace industries, got into the act — with a sleek chaise of powdercoated aluminum.

My favourite introduction, though — a bench by Naoto Fukasawa for B&B Italia — hid its aluminum frame under teak slats in a wavy progression, summoning up a quintessentially summery image of wind over water.


Last year in Milan, Freek outdoor carpet — made from ultra-soft but durable fibres that are UV- and water-resistant — was introduced to the world for the first time. This year, Netherlands-based Freek presents two new striped patterns, one in natural colours, the other in brights. Easy to clean, the carpet can be left outdoors all year round.


At 120 years old, the Bistro chair is the same age as the Eiffel Tower. Fermob, the French creator and manufacturer of outdoor furniture, is the trustee of the model — and has introduced a chaise longue version of the popular beauty in top-grade metal. Luscious colour options (more than 20 in all) include lemon, paprika, fuchsia, fjord blue and apple green.


During the 17th century, Chinese porcelain was so highly coveted in Europe it became know as “white gold.” Inspired by such porcelain, designer Stefan Schning has created the Whitegold collection for Belgian company Domani — including easy chairs, ottomans and tables; lights; and plant pots in various shapes and sizes. Frames are made of lacquered steel wire; tabletops, light shades and some pots are made of white Chinese porcelain.


Bourbon’s Airstream collection — which includes dining chair and one- and two-seater, along with dining, side and coffee table — was inspired by old U.S. aircraft, with its use of nailed aluminum and soft leather. Cushions of quick-dry foam, covered in “extreme” leather, can be left outside. All products from the Belgian furniture brand are handmade.


Designed by Naoto Fukasawa for B&B Italia, the Titikaka bench — with teak slats on an aluminum frame — “contradicts” the rigid shape of traditional outdoor benches: the seat’s surface seems to ripple with the graceful effect of wind over water. And, in fact, the slats do have a wavy progression, continuing to the floor on both sides of the bench. What’s more, Titikaka’s curves are ergonomically sound as well as sculptural.


Designed by Wolf Udo Wagner for German company Fischer Mbel, the Univers collection of modular seating allows landscapes of any desired size and configuration to be created. A frame of weather-resistant thermal ash serves as each module’s base; the trapezoidal modules themselves are made of “fm soft,” a combination of high-calibre foam of great density and abrasion-resistant, water-repellant lacquer. Four colours are available: anthracite, quartz, white and green.


Belgian luxury brand Trib is known for outdoor furniture that is pure, clean and timeless; its new Mirthe collection — made of 6-mm-thick powdercoated aluminum — is no exception. Fabiaan Van Severen designed Mirthe’s curvy tennis bench and tables. Wim Segers completed the collection with two chairs that look to have been formed from a single surface: a side chair and an armchair whose armrests can be removed for stacking. In aluminum or white.


Italian company Borella Design is best known for its design and production of high-resistant steel, aluminum and carbon for the automotive and airspace industries; now it has turned its attention to interior and outdoor furniture (including beach umbrellas, tables, and cat and dog houses). Its sleek Gass chaise longue, made of powder-coated aluminum and marine fabric, features an automatic reclining system.