Tailored Al Fresco
Durability, cost and aesthetics must balance out when it comes to outdoor furniture design
By Rashmi naicker
Hospitality industry tends to imbibe global furnishing trends. Besides the usual indoor furnishings, designers and hotel owners believe in utilising outdoor spaces to perk up the design quotient. By building up the connections between the landscape and the nature around, outdoor spaces can be made to be equally inviting and fashionable as interiors. This not only offers a sorted experience to the guests, but also adds to the healthy image of a property.
The growing trend of outdoor living calls for more versatile, comfortable and durable furniture that caters to all age groups. After analysing the location and its climatic conditions, material specification is the key to a successful outdoor set up. In addition to determining the durability and comfort, materials decide the utility of the furniture too.
The chosen material should always be easy to maintain and sustain. Cast aluminium, resin wicker, teak wood, wrought iron, FRP (fibre reinforced plastic) are commonly used outdoor materials for furniture. The intended quality should be responsive to impact, fatigue, corrosion, rusting, abrasion, combustibility, sunlight, moisture, and salinity. Not compromising on quality and safety, exterior furniture should be cohesive to the design theme and add to the overall visual appeal too.
Hyatt Place Goa, Candolim, features three outdoor spaces â€“ a courtyard seating with water bodies, couches and swings; a pool area with sun beds, a bar and an entertainment area; and an open space for events and parties. As a holiday destination, the hotel exploits its open spaces and offers functional zones that are flexible, have natural light and reflect the essence of the destination for both business and holiday travellers.
Rajesh Malliya, general manager, Hyatt Place Goa, Candolim, stated, â€śWe choose clean and simple designs for the guests to enjoy the natural beauty of the tropical landscape. The outdoor furniture was expected to be contextual to the location and weather around; given this, the various aspects that were taken into consideration while selecting them was mainly related to functionality, comfort and an artistic appeal.â€ť
Shekhar Bhargava, executive director of Royal Orchids Beach Resort and Spa, Goa, added, “Our outdoor furniture has been positioned around the resort to appreciate the landscape and foliage depicting the spectacular flora and fauna of the region. Considering this, many of the guests enjoy coming outdoors and relaxing after a dip in the pool or a relaxing session at the spa ensuring a holistic rejuvenation in the process.â€ť
The beauty of simplicity
In all sectors of the construction industry, outdoor living has been associated with functional layouts that should be in terms with the circulation of the space. Modular seating options are not only an application of residential structures but they hold a strong commercial appeal too. These, with customisation options, provide flexibility and tailored comfort to outdoor spaces of all dimensions.
Transformable pieces allow for easier stack-ability and mobility, which becomes a plus for hotels and resorts to execute swift changes, if needed. Space-saving light furniture is chosen over bulky ones in the garden and pool areas, while the stiffer ones can be accommodated in the guest rooms.
About selecting the right furniture, Subhash Chand, executive housekeeper, Le MĂ©ridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, highlights, â€śWe consider the active hours spent by the guest in the outdoor spaces and then accordingly give shape to the outdoor designing of spaces. Natural material can be used but they need to be relevant to the market segment and demographic being served â€“ one that reflects the scenery, cultural, historic, urban or rural inference. We consciously designed the outdoor space to curate activities for guest. Our outdoor dining venue offers striking views of the valley, horticulture for sensory moments such as organic garden and flower beds that resonate positive energy.”
It is best to consider the locationâ€™s climate, wind, humidity levels and rainfall patterns and then accordingly choose weather-resistant furniture made of non-allergenic products and compliant to attributed certification standards. A guaranteed support backup from the manufacturer gives also gives an edge to easily maintain furniture.
Manufacturers are using different materials in the process of accomplishing a balanced mix of contemporary and traditional outdoor designs. For instance, thick and quick-dry foam with artificial leather can withstand the harshest weather conditions. These advancements are now allowing manufacturers to innovate and produce furniture for the outdoors, which not only looks good but also provides the same comfort as indoor furniture. Commenting on their newly range of outdoor furniture, Sameer Hora, MD, IDUS, explained that its collection of patio furniture imbibes nature, both in its material as well as the designs. The collection comprises elegantly designed daybeds and seatings that are made of rattan loops. These artistically imbibe the combination of old technology with modish designs, shapes, and curves fastening rattan onto the different frame to create a variety of sensuous forms. Resembling either random doodling or a crescent-shaped frame with a distinct central crest or a boat or the one with a simple, solid design these seatings are a true blend of an everlasting beauty.
Wisma Atria Interiors by Nomita Kohli also released a versatile outdoor furniture solution. In combination with two circular ottomans, the circular Bahia sofa creates a deep, comfortable day bed for decorating outdoor spaces with ease. Its aluminium structure is covered in hand-woven synthetic resin. â€śIt is unique, steady and durable enough to adorn gardens or terraces with brimming sophistication, style, and luxurious ambiance,â€ť said Kohli.
Notion, an Indian manufacturer of wooden flooring boasts a range of outdoor decking collection to further adorn the al fresco setup. According to Akash Saini, MD, Notion installing a timber deck can add an attractive and practical backdrop for summer entertaining. â€śTailor-made size and pieces are produced at our lab on special request to materialise signature design creations. With invisible fixation system, this solid outdoor flooring enables the installation of planks without any apparent screw, improving both the resistance of structure and gives perfectly homogeneous aesthetics. To make this decking work perfectly for most harsh climatic conditions, Afromosia, Ipe, Padauk and Teak have been chosen keeping in mind their technical properties for all weather conditions.â€ť
Breathe in some fresh air
A large demand of variations in colour, shape and design is also addressed in the recently developed applications. Hoteliers now wish for a more energetic, yet luscious output in the outdoor furniture to keep up the design value. Small mixes in structure, using the same colours can give just the right accent to the outdoor furniture.
Pillows and cushions become a good source to inject a much needed punch of colour into an otherwise basic seating arrangement. Derivatives of blue and green colours – aqua, sea foam and drab green are gaining prominence in outdoor settings, as they induce calm and have a positive effect on minds. Additionally, wood, stone and natural fabrics help to provide warmth that encourages the guests to relax and unwind.
The Sinq Beach Club, designed by Raya Shankhwalker Architects, offers a diverse party experience, with an outdoor poolside lounge; a Goan tavern; and an industrial-styled nightclub. Its meticulous selection of furniture and accessories has helped add the desired oomph factor to its open spaces. To Raya, â€śthe outdoors must not only create wonderful spaces to live, work and play but it must be a key participant in the shaping of the built environment and the sustainability of our planet.â€ť
The design strategy ultimately decides the type and material of furniture to be incorporated. Patios and gardens are now seeing the arrival of sofas and chairs, where once only benches had their way. Retro themes for outdoor furniture have always been a popular choice among hospitality businesses to bring about the blend of elegance and nostalgia; woven rattan and wicker furniture solve such theme-based demands. Designers cleverly inject a striking colour to the retro themed chairs to let them settle in contemporary settings too. Heavier alternatives like natural stone and cement blocks are sometimes employed with the aim of blurring the lines between the artificial setting and the natural surround. Reclaimed wood and other hardwood furniture can give a more rustic and timeworn charm to the setup. There has also been a sudden rise of employing wired metal furniture with rich fabric materials that bestow a luxurious hit to the artistic pieces; these make way into the high end districts of the industry.
An improved connection of people with their outdoor environments can have a number of benefits on the health and mood. From bringing the required relaxation, to the utter awe that the views of nature offer, outdoor settings are priced possessions that hoteliers crave to retain. The aim of many hotels and resort chains today is to create a full and unique experience for their guests. Outdoor living spaces go a long way in achieving it. The furniture design opportunities available to hoteliers are vast, and making the right choices is crucial, as they directly and heavily influence hotelsâ€™ service standards and ultimately, the last word.