2020 trends for outdoor furniture: interview with Prof. Giulio Ceppi
In recent years outdoor furniture has slowly but inexorably revolutionized itself becoming and stepped into the spotlight. Thanks to an increasing attention to materials and finishes, garden furniture has become as important as the more famous and popular interior design. For outdoor furniture, the major challenge is finding the right balance between aesthetics and functionality. This is why the field has been lagging for a long time behind interior design, that has to comply with fewer resistance and durability limitations. Furniture brands are constantly developing new solutions to meet the challenges of outdoor spaces, producing components designed to last over the years without wearing out. But how can you make sure you choose the best solutions for your garden, yard or patio? Which characteristics should you take into account? Which mistakes should be avoided? We asked Professor Giulio Ceppi, architect and lecturer at the School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano and design director of Kindof. Since 1995 Professor Ceppi has been involved in architecture, design, planning and business communication. In addition to collaborating with several internationally renowned brands, he has participated with his projects and installations to several editions of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Here’s what he told us about the 2020 trends for outdoor furniture.
The 2020 trends for outdoor furniture outlined by Giulio CeppiWhich are the materials that are currently more frequently used for outdoor furniture? Which ones have been emerging in these years? In the last 10 years the world of outdoor furniture has been completely revolutionized through the use of new materials, specifically in terms of fabrics and paddings, that have enabled manufacturers to shift from a waterproof to waterdrying performance logic, which involves using permeable paddings that dry fast without suffering damages when they get wet. This has promoted the development of a new design language that is much more stylistically connected to interior design and promotes a greater continuity with the environment. This means that the difference between interior and outdoor furniture pieces is no longer formal, but simply based on performance.
Which are the key aspects to take into account when choosing outdoor furniture? As with interior furniture, outdoor furniture is linked to the architectural language of spaces on one hand and to the lifestyle of the people who use it on the other hand. Furthermore, if it is a private space, a semi-public space rather than a hotel and outdoor spaces like hospitals or nursing homes – just to quote a few examples – it is clear that performance in terms of resistance, durability and maintenance will also have to change. In this sense, Kindof’s furniture pieces are extremely versatile and able to adapt to very different contexts despite their strong personality. Which colours and combinations dominate the trends in 2020? There is no denying that in these years dark and neutral colours have ruled the roost because they are easier to match and manage, although they are naturally also more obvious and predictable. Despite this, there are companies who have instead made bold color choices to distinguish their brand (I quote, among all, Paola Lenti). And Kindof is among these, as it also preferred to choose bright and defining colours, besides focusing on the structural minimalism and lightness reflected by the perceptive transparency of its products. In the fashion industry, past trend often seem to be reintroduced after a few decades. Does this apply to the interior design too? Which items of the past are back in fashion? Although fashion has aggressively penetrated the world of design with its own brands (from Armani and Fendi to Versace…), the market logic and durability of the products are very different. Despite a few revivals, it is more a matter of evergreens, that is long lasting products, which can be regarded as “contemporary classics” because they are works of modern masters. It is no coincidence that, similarly to Kindof, we created a line called Tributes,in which we explicitly draw inspiration from the great architects of the past, reinterpreting their most iconic seats with the rod.
Sustainability, ecology and ethical work are becoming increasingly important topics in the world of interior design. How can we make sure that the furniture we choose is produced in line with these principles? I believe that the criteria you have mentioned have now become essential requirements for any product worthy of this name. Certifications definitely promote a greater understanding along with the story of the supply chain. This is why Kindof has decided to hire a master like Francesco Radino to illustrate the production process of a typical Kindof product and describe its simplicity, cleanliness and sustainability. Which elements may help to enhance the appeal of a terrace or a small garden in addition to classic tables and chairs? I believe that today it is generally the ability to create a liveable outdoor space that can be fitted with furniture pieces, where you can perform different activities, from relaxing to smart working, or even exercising. Beyond personal taste, I think versatility and flexibility, without any compromise in terms of identity, are important, which is exactly why Kindof was founded. How can we make sure that our outdoor furniture is weatherproof? Atmospheric agents are increasingly unpredictable and aggressive. Therefore, I believe it is difficult for any manufacturer to provide any guarantee whatsoever. This is instead a great point of strength of Kindof’s products that, thanks to their basic and purist essentiality, guarantee very high performances in terms of durability and resistance, which according to me are actually unbeatable. Resistance to wind, acid rain, fire, snow… and today we could perhaps add even to viral bacteria. These are all tests that we can empirically overcome: simplicity is the utmost elegance, as Leonardo da Vinci once said.
ConclusionThe boundaries between indoor and outdoor furniture are slowly disappearing giving way to versatile, resistant and durable solutions. Kindof regards these features its points of strength that have enabled it to create pieces and collections designed to survive all the challenges of an outdoor space, while offering a unique and timeless design.
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