The Great Outdoors

Having the right furniture is the key to comfortable alfresco living.

Gone are the days when furnishing the patio meant buying cheap chairs from the local supermarket. Now designers and their clients are looking to bring the same quality and comfort they find in their interior spaces to outdoor furniture. The backyard has become an expansion of the living room—and living spaces aren’t the only things expanding these days. “People have gotten a lot bigger and heavier than forty years ago, so the buzzword has become deep seating—which literally means bigger and wider, usually with a thicker cushion to make it cozy like a sofa,” says Peter Schultz, president of Richard Schultz Design, which recently released a collection of outdoor furniture with the same generous cubic dimensions as Mies’s 1929 Barcelona chair. “The trend also aligns with the increasing square-foot size of the average home. Larger-scale furniture is necessary in this environment.”

Fortunately the quality and the variety of alfresco gear have also improved, with brighter and bolder offerings by well-known designers. The trend is even impacting public spaces in cities such as Miami, San Antonio, Boston, and New York, which are complementing their vibrant streetscapes with exciting new furniture. Whether it’s Tuuci’s oversize Grand Pacific Pavilion or Patricia Urquiola’s latest creation for Kettal, the products shown here are sure to be huge.


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Large-scale furniture and lighting reflect the increasing sizes of people and houses.

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As outdoor spaces evolve, look for bright colors on furniture and fabrics.

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These stylish designer creations are destined to have staying power.

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Good street furniture improves out common spaces and experiences.

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