Saturday, 9 June 2012

A rant about outdoor furniture in the U.S.

I am completely unimpressed by the look and quality of the outdoor furniture commonly available in the U.S.  This is an area of interior decoration that is about 20 years behind the times and that if someone wanted to latch onto this problem and turn it into a business opportunity, they could revolutionize the market.  Take a look, for instance, at these outdoor chairs from French furniture maker Massant. 

Impossible to believe that they're for the garden, right?

Then you look at the junky, either flimsy or chunky, always, always modern stuff you get most places in the U.S.   Why can't outdoor pieces be designed to look like antiques?  Why can't they have any delicacy or refinement whatsoever?  They're either completely insubstantial or they're made of great hulking timbers that weigh a ton and take three people to position.  And the materials are so dull!  Plastic, aluminum, occasionally hollow iron.  Always straight lines: tubes that are easy to extrude and cut.  I'd love to see someone hand carving moisture-resistant hardwood, casting furniture-size reinforced concrete and ceramics, using stone veneers or thinly cut slabs.  And hello copper and steel!

You know how everyone has been saying for years that outdoor rooms are the next big thing? While why shouldn't outdoor rooms have outdoor furniture that's as carefully thought out and well made as indoor furniture?  Imagine, for example, outdoor Windsor chairs.  The World of Interiors had an article in their June issue about an exhibition of Windsor chairs in the UK.  Many of them were designed hundreds of years ago for use in gardens.  This is not a new idea.

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