Milan 2012: Outdoor charmers

Milan 2012: Outdoor charmers
Jean Nouvel and his MIA cafe chair and table for Emu

French architect Jean Nouvel – seen here at the launch of his new café collection for Emu at Salone del Mobile in April – is one of many big names creating innovative outdoor furniture this season. Here are our top seven picks.

Milan 2012 outdoor charmers

1. MIA by Nouvel

Nouvel designed this café collection for a restaurant housed within one of his architectural projects, the RBC Design Centre in Montpellier, France, which is expected to open later this summer. Manufactured by Emu, the line shares the restaurant’s name, MIA, and includes stacking chairs, benches, high stools and two tables (round and square).

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2. Husk by Patricia Urquiola

Last year, B&B Italia introduced Husk, a softly padded seat that earned its name for its corncob-looking pads. This year, Husk goes outdoors with a hard shell version made of recycled Hirek. The body is white, while the fixed seat support is available in white, black, orange, acid green and sky blue. The best feature: the padding enables rain droplets to seep through the cushions without stagnation.

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3. SeaX by Jean-Marie Massaud

For this folding chair made for Dedon, the French designer was inspired by the sleek racing sailboats of America’s Cup. The piece has a light but robust frame and armrests covered in teak-finished marine plywood.

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4. Tropez Collection by Stefan Diez

Stefan Diez brings interior furniture to the outdoors with Tropez, an extensive collection comprised of a bed, chaise longue, armchair, modular sofas, pouffs, tables, a stool and benches. Manufactured by Spain’s Gandia Blasco, each piece is defined by a platform construction based on an extruded aluminum profile.

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5. Cottage by Patricia Urquiola

A cottage right in your backyard. Urquiola’s A-frame cabana for Spanish outdoor furniture company Kettal was on full display at Salone del Mobile in April. The two-person structure’s wood and aluminum frame can be left exposed or draped with fabric for privacy.

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6. 100 Chairs by Marni

For the first time, the Milan fashion house Marni stepped into the furniture-making spotlight during Milan Design Week with 100 Chairs, a unique set of seats and tables crafted from salvaged materials. The collection was handwoven by ex-convicts in San Gil, Colombia, as part of a rehabilitation program. The frames are made of concrete reinforced bars and the weave of PVC pipes.

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7. Birba by Marco Maran

Parri calls its Birba collection “gritty” seating “with an eclectic soul.” We call it slouchy perfection. Marco Maran’s outdoor recliner is an open invitation to just hang out. A one-centimetre-thick zipper runs along the perimeter for easy cleaning, and it is available in a contrasting colour to the seat’s water- and UVA-resistant polyurethane upholstery.

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