New trends for the great outdoors

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 11:06am

Influenced by the needs of hotels, residential clubs and beachside resorts, outdoor furniture has taken on a stylish new look. As a result, anyone looking for individual items - such as a sunbed, sofa, chaise lounge or parasol - or a modern collection for their rooftop, poolside patio or garden can choose from an increasing range of high-grade designer products.

"We work closely with international design firms to meet the specific needs of project clients," says Alan Chiu, general manager of ZZUE Creation, which oversees the Gandia Blasco outlet on the seventh floor of Horizon Plaza. "That lets us introduce new products and ideas to other customers, helping them choose the best items to make the most of their outdoor space."

Sofas, garden tables and chairs, and pool umbrellas are consistent best sellers. But a number of trends have emerged.

One is a surge in popularity of reclinable day beds, offering real comfort and, when the skies and weather are right, a relaxing vantage point for a bit of star gazing.

Another is the move to more indoor/outdoor furniture. In effect, it serves a dual purpose, being easily moved from one side of a sliding patio door to the other and looking equally good inside or out. Of course, if this is the plan, it is important to choose furniture made of the right materials and to have suitable protective covering to guard against the effects of bright sunlight or a sudden shower.

For people with more space at their disposal, Gandia Blasco's Cristal Box is attracting a lot of attention. With a floor, transparent walls and ceiling, it offers a peaceful, protected refuge and a chance to feel at one with nature.

"The manufacturers are very confident about this product," Chiu says. "It feels like you are indoors, but the experience is different from being inside a house."

He adds that doing larger-scale custom-made projects will remain a priority, but this also helps the firm enhance its ability to deal with the smaller one-off orders.