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Design for Outdoor Living

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July 1, 2009

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At this time of year, the exterior area of our homes becomes the backdrop for eating, relaxing and entertaining – and our outdoor furniture plays an important role. Here on Mallorca, we have a superb choice of the latest products from the world’s best-known outdoor furniture manufacturers. This summer’s trends are stainless steel, synthetic weave rattan, textilene mesh and – the classic – teak. New designs are innovative, stylish, streamlined, and practical. Visit any of the island’s high-quality outdoor furniture specialists and you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Designer Justine Knox recommends buying the best quality we can afford: “Outdoor furniture is exposed to extreme weather conditions and not many people have the luxury of having somewhere to store it indoors in the winter. Besides, if we’re lucky with the weather, it’s used regularly for around 40 per cent of the year, so it shouldn’t be any less important than the rest of our household furniture.” Some stores – such as Knox Design – helpfully display their exterior furniture outside, enabling prospective purchasers to see how it weathers.

A rattan sofa at a bargain price in a hypermarket simply won’t have the quality of one from a reputable furniture store – even though it might appear similar. Cheaper outdoor furniture could be made with screws that rust or wood that warps, in our often damp island climate. Remember the expression ‘you get what you pay for’ and your outdoor furniture will serve you well for years. Justine recommends trying to maintain a similar design style for interior and exterior, continuing with the same colour scheme if possible.

“This creates harmony and gives the feeling of a true extension of your living areas.” Knox Design and Lares in Bendinat are two companies that will undertake design projects for your outdoor space. Practicality is important too, so consider how you most use your outdoor living space and furnish accordingly. If space is limited, you might, for example, need to ensure that your dining chairs are comfortable enough also to use as easy chairs. With your shopping list to hand, you can have fun looking around to see what’s available – remembering that the quality retailers are a great source of advice on the right products for your budget and lifestyle.

Gloster is a well-respected manufacturer, established in 1981, and offering more than 175 different products. Several retailers sell Gloster, including Meridiano Mallorca and Mediterranean Living. Gloster’s ‘Fusion’ and ‘Azure’ ranges, new for 2009, uphold the renowned brand quality at lower prices than the rest of the collection, and are available through Knox Design. Gloster’s Eclipse relaxer and footstool combo – available in the colours java or driftwood – has to be one of the most spectacular outdoor pieces of the year. Mediterranean Living can arrange delivery within around 10 days of order. They also sell Point, Expormim, Gabar and Intur.

Meridiano Mallorca represents 18 of the market’s top outdoor furniture brands, including Kettal, Tribu, Rausch, Alexander Rose, Hugonet, Les Jardins au bout du Monde, and the French brand Fermob – whose range is colourful, funky and functional. “We work only with companies whose quality, design and service we can trust,” says Meridiano’s Christina Vestey. These trusted companies also include Danish outdoor rattan specialists Cane Line, and Triconfort – whose furniture looks like lacquered wood but is actually manufactured from easy-care resin.

Textilene and synthetic wicker are used by the Dutch design company Val-Eur, available exclusively from Messerschmidt – which also offers TUUCI high-performance sunshades and Rausch furniture. Hot from Milan comes the Coro range of Italian contemporary exterior furniture, with its reputation for quality, design and practicality. Knox Design will be the main retailer for Coro, which specialises in folding sunbeds and loungers for use in limited spaces. Ingeniously, their extending sunbeds can also be used as easy chairs and multi-position sun loungers. Sofas and chairs (and their accompanying cushions) can be left outdoors in all weathers: water drains straight through. Quick-drying, the fabrics have the luxurious feel of interior materials rather than canvas.

The epitome of cool must be the chic white minimalist furniture from Gandia Blasco. No poolside should be without it! In Inca, Das Depot stocks a wide range of outdoor lifestyle products, including furniture in synthetic fibre, teak, and no-maintenance aluminium, and a choice of hammocks on aluminium stands. The tempting complementary accessories are worth a browse too . . .

If your furniture simply needs a facelift, check out Rialto Living’s colourful French fabrics, suitable for recovering folding chairs, and priced from 22 euros/metre. They also offer specially-treated outdoor Ralph Lauren fabrics to order. For a truly professional finish, Rialto Living will make cushions and curtains for you, producing a fresh new look for existing pieces.

Santanyí-based exterior specialists Incompar Balear are known for their high-quality sunsails and have become the Balearics’ licence-holder for the ‘boom’ contemporary sunshade system – an exciting alternative to conventional parasols and awnings. These canopy sails can be free-standing or wall-mounted and are available with motorised opening, automatic wind sensor and remote control dimmable lighting. A stylish shading option to complement your new furniture . . .

With your outdoor furniture in place, you’re ready for a relaxing and stylish summer. Enjoy!
Knox Design
www.knoxdesign.com


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Jan Edwards

Jan Edwards

An ex-BBC radio presenter/journalist living on the cosmopolitan island of Mallorca, who is assistant editor for the luxury lifestyle publication abcMallorca. Her main writing interests are in travel, food and interviewing interesting people and well-known celebrities. Jan blogs about her finca lifestyle and contributes articles to some well-known publications in the UK.