Because outdoor spaces are attracting designers from more eclectic backgrounds (architects, hotel designers, artists), the options available in the outdoor furniture sector are becoming more varied. Here are just a few of the many amazing innovations out there.
Many new ideas are spurred by a form of eco-consciousness in its broadest sense and encourage us to imagine new solutions rather than just "shop until we drop!"
Licenses to build your favorite designs:
At the Milan Furniture Fair this April, the Belgian brand Extremis showed up with a very unexpected product. It was not a new design. It was a kit. Or more exactly a box in which one found the right to re-create a single version of ones favorite Extremis product. Each official license in the box contains the necessary drawings and specifications to have the design made. Though the concept was not presented as an eco-friendly idea, It most certainly is: it saves transporting designs, encourages the use of locally sourced materials and provides work to valued local craftsmen.
Dirk Wynants, the creative head of Extremis and innovative mind behind this very controversial idea, explains that the value of an Extremis product encompasses not only a production process but also the intellectual property. As a reflection of the importance of this "intangible" part of the final product, the pack costs 20 percent of the price of an actual product.
Zero carbon designs:
Obviously very in demand at the moment are designs using locally sourced materials. Design lovers will be happy to see this can also lead to very creative designs! The bench seen here is from an art shop in Holland [vividvormgeving] and is actually sold at quite a hefty price, but the idea of simply adding backrests to a fallen tree trunk is superb and I am sure can lead to other variations, both virtually carbon neutral and high in design value.
Co-creations between designers and nature:
Finally, in the design world we are seeing more and more of what I call co-creations between designers and nature. Rather than just placing a man made design in an outdoor space, designers are inventing designs that need to be completed by nature to reach their final form. I love the 'Table Cloth series by French designers '5.5'. They use grass or tree trunks and add tiles to create tables or stools in parks or gardens.
I hope these few examples inspire you for your future projects!