Walking around the vast Rho Fiera hangars, where the biggest design brands gather to show off their latest designs for Salone del Mobile, talk has been turning to the weather. Salone is normally in April but this year, thanks to covid, has been postponed to June. And it's hot - nearly 90F - despite the odd rain cloud that appears as is from nowhere.
The thing is, while we're all indoors looking at novelties, some of the stand out pieces have been outdoor furniture. Brands like Edra, Nardi, Flexform, Ethimo and Ditre Italia have all showcased pieces that would be beautiful enough to live indoors, yet are robust enough to stay outside.
'Everyone in the world has changed how they want to live, and so we must design differently,' one brand representative told me. Thanks to a growing desire to spend more time outside, to find ways to entertain alfresco and eat and live in the sunshine, brands are giving more emphasis to outdoor pieces. Here are some of the stars.
The legendary designer Antonio Citterio has been a longtime collaborator with Flexform, creating many of the brand's most iconic pieces over the past 30 years. One of his novelties for 2022 is the Camargue collection of armchairs and sofas, all perfect for al fresco life.
They fit into the trend for outdoor living rooms, with their plump cushions and powder-coat finishes - they feel both smooth and well padded to sit on. Livingetc's editorial director Sarah Spiteri said that this is what she'd choose for her fantasy yard, able to work in an urban space where clean lines contrast the built-up surrounds.
Yes, this image shows the Maxim Argile table indoors, but that's the beauty of Cattelan Italia's new table design. Made from concrete, it would work in a modern dining room, but also sits happily outside in all weathers.
Up close, it its surface is full of imperfections, which actually make it quite perfect. While the top is smooth, the sides have slight irregular grooves, left from the process of casting the shape. They are mesmerizing to touch, a dash of character and personality, a reminder that not every piece has to be entirely pristine in order to be a work of art.
Ok, so the A'mare Sedia by Jacob Foggini for Edra - we first saw it at the SuperSalone in Milan last September - but as this is it's first main Salone I'm choosing to let it count. Particularly as its still a standout collection, like nothing else on the market, as bright crystal blue as Antarctic ice and yet soft and malleable when touched.
It is made from deliberately irregular polycarbonate sticks, and is used to create this dining set, shown above, and a sun lounger. It was displayed on Edra's stand surrounded by glossy black surfaces, mirrors and back lighting and it glowed.
Like everything Edra creates, the collection feels like a fantasy, a way to step into a dream world. A design to turn your outdoor space into a wonderland.
The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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