Outdoor space, whether large or small, deck, porch or patio, is increasingly becoming the place to fully enjoy the seasons, almost an extension of the indoor space and, no matter what you call it, worthy of the same careful design consideration. Outdoor furnishings, which have reached new heights in terms of performance and durability, have achieved the perfect blend of elegance and comfort. The challenge can lie in choosing just which furniture is the best fit for your outdoor space.
Flexform, a company with decades of experience in manufacturing high-end furniture, is now launching an outdoor collection that includes seating systems, sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs, and many accessories. The line features pieces from designers with whom Flexform has a history of collaborating, including Antonio Citterio, and outdoor reinterpretations of products designed by Mario Asnago and Claudio Vender. Continue reading for a quick guide of possible factors for consideration when furnishing an exterior space, with examples from the Flexform outdoor collection.
Arguably the primary differentiation between indoor and outdoor furniture is in the materials used to create it. Outdoor furniture necessitates a higher level of durability to withstand the elements - rain, sun, temperature variations, and more. Materials like stainless steel, polyurethane rubber, and water-repellant fabrics all perform well outdoors, below are a few examples.
The Vulcano sofa base is made of marine plywood, while the armrest and backrest structures are in austenitic stainless steel 316, a super alloy that ensures superior performance in outdoor settings. The woven upholstery is made of polypropylene fiber or polyurethane rubber and the sofa sits on a perimeter frame in austenitic stainless steel 316 and nylon pads.
To ensure optimal outdoor performance, all the padded cushions are encased in a special lining material made of breathable water-repellent fabric, while the entire collection of outdoor upholstery fabrics guarantee excellent resistance not only to the effects of weather and the sun but also to chlorine and salt water.
An armchair and footstool combination, the entire structure of Peter Outdoor is made of austenitic stainless steel 316, also available with epoxy powder-coated white, khaki green, wine red, or burnished finish. The seat and backrest of the armchair are upholstered with a light yet sturdy woven material made of polypropylene fiber or polyurethane rubber
Just two years after introducing the Monreale table, Flexform now launches an outdoor version made of iroko wood, which has exceptional resistance to the effects of weather. Groove-mounted tips in die-cast metal alloy and nylon pads placed at the bottom of the legs protect the wood from direct contact with outdoor paving. The slatted top is made of solid iroko, available with a natural finish, stained grey, or lacquered white.
Ease of Storage
In cases of inclement weather or for outdoor spaces located in climates where the temperature is less hospitable during certain months of the year, ease of disassembly and storage can be a huge factor in the choice of exterior furniture pieces.
The Zante sofa has options for two different seat depths, giving it flexibility and versatility. This seating system is known for the ease with which the elements can be disassembled and then stacked for safe storage at the end of the season or in case of necessity. The upper part of the sofa is clad in iroko veneer, to match the structure of the backrest and armrests, which are made entirely of solid iroko, while the Zante sofa’s padded seat and backrest cushions make it comfortable and casual.
Another option for lightweight furniture that allows easy movement and storage, the outdoor version of the Alison armchair maintains the features of the original design, reinterpreting it in materials that ensure optimum performance out of doors. To achieve a sturdy-looking yet light and elegant armchair, the curved structure is made from extruded aluminum with epoxy powder-coated finish, while the base is made of marine plywood. The backrest is in polyurethane rubber, while the seat and backrest cushions can be upholstered in any of the fabrics from the outdoor textile collection.
As with any furniture, we cannot overlook comfort as a determining feature for exterior pieces. To make an outdoor space truly usable and enjoyable, comfort must be considered in addition to purely practical considerations like material durability and disassembly potential.
The Thomas armchair, already a bestseller in the indoor collection, features a seat cushion padded in polyurethane foam covered with a protective, breathable, waterproof, laminated fabric. The chair rests on an elegant iroko wood base and its streamlined yet functional semi-circular backrest is made of solid iroko. Thomas Outdoor armchairs are an all-around piece that can play a starring role on a porch or patio, or be matched with other outdoor seating systems to contribute to a dynamic, personalized outdoor setting.
Exterior spaces play host to a wide variety of activities and therefore the furnishings must suit a wide variety of needs, functional as well as aesthetic. The pieces listed below are available in multiple materials, sizes, and configurations for maximum versatility and customization.
The Tindari Outdoor coffee tables emphasize a common Flexform design motif: the woven pattern. The structure of the coffee tables is extruded aluminum with epoxy powder-coated finish in white, khaki green, wine red, or burnished or satin-finish aluminum. The structure is entirely enveloped in woven polypropylene fiber or woven polyurethane rubber, in a color palette that ranges from earth tones to bordeaux and olive green.
Hand-woven by expert artisans, the upholstery lends warmth to the metal, making Tindari an object that can easily be combined with any of the chairs in the Flexform outdoor collection. For further design options, Tindari coffee tables also come in a version with the top in Beola argentata (silvery green gneiss), lava stone, porphyry or pietra del Cardoso.
The Fly collection of tables, coffee tables, and side tables is extremely versatile due to its clean design and multiple size, color, and material options. The base of the Fly Outdoor table is in austenitic stainless steel 316, also available with epoxy powder-coated white, khaki green, wine red or burnished finish. The top – available in round and rectangular shapes of various sizes – can be made of different types of stone suitable for outdoor use: Beola argentata, lava stone, pietra del Cardoso, and porphyry. The rectangular table also comes in a version with solid iroko slats available in natural-finish, stained white, or stained grey.
Both the Bangkok and Phuket ottoman designs have flexibility inherent in their nature as ottomans are an extremely versatile piece of furniture to include in your outdoor space. An all-purpose accessory, the Bangkok ottoman now comes in a sophisticated outdoor version upholstered in unique woven polyurethane rubber, with an elegant color palette that ranges from earth tones to bordeaux and olive green. The Bangkok Outdoor ottoman comes in three sizes and can be used as a handy seat or paired with the side tables from the outdoor collection.
The Phuket ottoman is a cube covered in woven polypropylene fiber, in a range of colors that varies from earth tones to bordeaux and olive green. Versatile and practical, the Phuket ottoman can also be used as a seat, pulled up alongside the tables in the outdoor collection.
Storage shouldn’t be overlooked either, and flexible storage like Cesta Outdoor is ideal for a multifunction space. Designed as the ideal complement to sofas and armchairs, this piece can be used as a magazine holder or storage bin in places like terraces and patios. Functional slot-openings cut into the upper part of Cesta Outdoor make it easy to move. The woven polyurethane rubber bins come in two sizes and in a palette of colors ranging from earth tones to bordeaux and olive green.
Finally, personal style and desired design aesthetic must play a central role in any decision-making for furnishing an outdoor space. Some pieces are capable of fitting into many different design styles, while others make more of a unique statement. Determining the style route you wish to take can help narrow the possibilities; below are some options from the Flexform collection.
Ortigia Outdoor is the alfresco version of the eponymous family of seating elements featuring classic-traditional charm reinterpreted with a contemporary vibe. The structure of the Ortigia armchairs is made entirely of solid iroko, artisan-crafted with techniques that call to mind the tradition of fine cabinetmaking, and available in natural finish or lacquered white or stained grey. The seat is upholstered while the backrest is covered in refined, entirely hand-woven upholstery available in polypropylene cord or polyurethane rubber, both in an elegant palette of colors.
The Dafne chair’s clean design features pure, uncluttered lines. The structure is made entirely of solid iroko, resting on die-cast metal alloy tips and nylon pads. The woven seat and backrest come in versions made of polypropylene fiber or polyurethane rubber, in an elegant color palette that ranges from earth tones to bordeaux and olive green.
The Zefiro dining table, with its light, contemporary vibe, now comes in an outdoor version, in a host of sizes and finishes that underscore its versatility. The sleek cast-aluminum legs are epoxy powder-coated in white, khaki green, wine red, or burnished or satin-finish aluminum. The tops come in a variety of beautiful stones suitable for outdoor use: Beola argentata, pietra del Cardoso, lava stone, and porphyry.
The Moka Outdoor chair and table combination are based on an original design from 1939 by Mario Asnago and Claudio Vender. The modernity of the original design, with design references to the rationalist movement, is now interpreted in innovative materials chosen for their weather-resistant qualities.
The slender, sophisticated structure of the Moka Outdoor chair is made of tubular austenitic stainless steel 316, while the backrest features an elegant X-design and the seat is made of woven polyester fiber or polyurethane rubber. The uncomplicated yet elegant structure of the Moka Outdoor table is also made of tubular austenitic stainless steel 316, with a top of transparent tempered glass.