The pool. The terrace. The balcony. The rooftop. Whichever your preferred environment, summertime is best spent outside – and here is a curated selection of new, notable and minimalist outdoor products that can elevate open-air spaces. We haven’t forgotten about the family pet, either.
Land Lounge Chair by Plank
The Land Lounge Chair, by industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa for Plank, would be at home in a gallery. But despite its striking appearance – which the designer calls “sober and elegant” – the low-slung chair was built sturdy: made from rotational-moulded polyproprene, it is designed primarily for outdoor use (though in real-world usage, it could fit just as easily in a lounge or even residential setting).
Featuring a gently inclined back rest emerging from a bench-like base, the chair invites users to lean back with legs outstretched. It’s available in four muted colours – black, white, basalt grey and signal grey – and the eye-grabbing traffic red. After an appearance at NeoCon, it won an Innovation Award a 2018 HiP Award at the Chicago exhibition.
Underline by Buzzi & Buzzi
Underline, a luminaire designed by ASZ Architetti, isn’t built to stand out. Rather, the product is meant to be camouflaged in an existing walkway – it’s an in-ground footpath light. Each 500-by-500-millimetre tile is defined by a 45-millimetre lip containing an LED lamp with a 3,000k temperature, providing a clear, yellowish-white beam that won’t overwhelm its surroundings.
Underline is made from DurCoral, a composite of its proprietary Coral material and cement. According to Buzzi & Buzzi, it has exceptional strength and durability – it’s twice as hard as cement, is resistant to ultraviolet rays and can withstand humidity. Ready for summer? You bet.
Virus by Extremis
The picnic table is a summer staple. But Virus, by Belgian furniture brand Extremis, doesn’t replicate the kind of table we crowded around after soccer practice. Rather, it’s a reimagining of the picnic-table concept for urban spaces; it’s a better fit on a balcony than a public park.
Featured earlier this year in Azure‘s product guide, the Dirk Wynants-designed piece is orbited by a number of seats – it comes in two-, three- and four-seat varieties, all of which have optional backrests and floor-fastened legs – around a scratch-resistant circular tabletop, featuring water-draining perforations and space for a parasol. Available in papyrus white, verdigris, reed green, copper brown, black red, cobalt blue, beige red and bottle green, these tables are also stackable for easy transportation.
Touffu by Diabla
Diabla, a Spanish outdoor brand established last year under the Gianda Blasco umbrella, already has a well-articulated design philosophy: it creates colourful furniture that works equally well surrounded by sand or concrete. The brand also has a wonderfully playful streak, as evidenced by Touffu, a pitched-roof dog house it unveiled during Milan Design Week.
Designed by architects Violeta Alcaide Weishaupt and Manel Jiménez Ibáñez, Touffu is constructed from a kit of phenolic board panels, which fit together thanks to a series of grooves – no tools or screws are required to build these houses. Inspired by Japanese carpentry, these houses are elegant, structurally sound and come with washable cushions for dogs or cats. They are available in two sizes – small and large – and in white, red or anthracite.
It’s also worth noting another Diabla product spotted in Milan: the Donut stool, designed by Mikiya Kobayashi, available in red, pink or mustard. Made from soft foam, it winks at both donuts and lifesavers. It’s a delightful poolside addition.
Ponente Sun Lounger by Slide Design
The Ponente Sunlounger, designed by Milan studio Martinelli Venezia, is all about balance – no surprise, considering it was inspired by the architecture of bridges. Made from low-density polyethylene, with certain variants being made from recycled materials, the lounge chair has a low profile with generous dimensions, measuring at 200 by 68 by 34 centimetres. It features a hinged, adjustable backrest, evoking a drawbridge.
Available in 13 matte colours and eight lacquered hues, the Ponente Sun Lounger is suitable for indoor and outdoor applications – though the lacquered edition would be more susceptible to damage. Use it readily in lounge, pool or spa settings.
DNA Teak Collection by Gandia Blasco
The DNA Teak Collection, launched by Gandia Blasco earlier this year at Salone del Mobile, is an exercise in contrasts: it pairs light with dark, organic with synthetic. Inspired by Mediterranean window shutters, the entire collection – which consists of an easy chair, a garden bench, a day bed, an armchair and a garden table – pairs aluminum frames with teak slats.
The collection can be mixed and matched for a number of applications – Gandia Blasco suggests that it can be used for small private spaces or larger-scale contract projects. While the chestnut teak remains a constant motif throughout, the aluminum frames of each product can be customized, and are available in a number of anodized colours (namely, white, sand, bronze, anthracite, black, agate grey, concrete grey, cement grey, olive green, blue grey, grey blue, red orange and orange brown).