While the cool winter winds haven’t quite abated, summer is almost on our doorstep. And as the season marches on, some fresh, new looks are about to invade the design stores. Valeria Carbanaro-Laws of Studio Italia in Auckland is gearing up for a shipment of the latest outdoor furniture to arrive in October.
Among the pieces she’s selected to tempt discerning homeowners this summer is the Maia range for Kettal by well-known Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola and the Atmosphera sofa range also for Kettal by Dutch designer Marcel Wonders.
Available exclusively at Studio Italia, it’s the first time the Kettal range has been introduced in New Zealand. Apart from the fact the range is very comfortable and durable, Valeria says, she really loves designs by Urquiola and Wonders, who are both big names on the European design scene. But their designs don’t just look good, they take advantage of technology that makes them incredibly long-lasting and well-suited to harsh outdoor environments.
Valeria says the shape of the Maia chairs and sofas is fresh and organic. Although it looks like net, these light, modern pieces combine a high-tech fibre and a narrow aluminium frame. The aluminium is painted with polyester powder, the same as in the automobile industry, and applied electrostatically. This finishing process lends superior surface quality and water resistance. It’s a strong, maritime aesthetic that really suits New Zealand’s coastal environment.
The simple and elegant Atmosphera sofa by Wonders is also perfect for indoor outdoor living. As it’s modular, it’s easy to configure in different layouts and the cushions, in a hard-wearing Jaquard porotex fabric can be left outside. “They are beautiful designs,” says Valeria, “but very practical.”
The foam is high density integrated polyurethane foam especially developed by Kettal to meet the most exacting requirement of resistance for the outdoors.
There’s also a dining table in the Landscape range from Kettal, where the ceramic top is made by fusing a granite and feldspathic metamorphic rock compound at more than 1000 degrees C. “Ceramic table tops have a natural texture and feel that’s not only a delight but incredibly resilient in any kind of weather. It looks like stone but without the heaviness.”
Kettal’s designs offer superb quality that does come with a price tag. “But it’s an investment that lasts forever,” says Valera, and probably better value then buying something that will only last a couple of seasons.
As far as trends go this season, she says expect to see a lot of cabanas – like exquisite tents or outdoor rooms, that can be draped and lit as alternatives to indoor spaces. “A healthy outdoors trend is happening world-wide and these beautiful, romantic cabanas are becoming big.”
Apart from cabanas, everything outdoors is becoming more modular because it allows us to change our furniture and move things as we travel elsewhere. “When we invest in furniture, we like to take it with us. Being modular, it can go anywhere. Our sofas become units that can be separated and merged for larger designs.”