Rifé’s stripped-down Iz collection for Samoa, winner of the Editors Award
for best outdoor furniture at this year’s ICFF, was an exception, though, done
expressly for the young company, which has already followed it up with
a new outdoor collection by the stalwart studio of Lievore Altherr Molina.
If there’s one corner of the market where Spain can stake a dominant claim, it’s
the outdoor category, with companies like Gandia Blasco, Kettal, and Samoa
producing innovative collections by top designers every season. In fact, Kettal
managed to score an exclusive deal with Urquiola for outdoor furniture; her
lighting, indoor furniture, and textile energies were all claimed long ago by
the big Italian firms, but her diamond-patterned Maia collection—inspired
by childhood summers in Ibiza, where she still vacations—perhaps could only
have come from Spain.
© 2008 B&N Industries, Inc.
“In Spain we have a long tradition in
outdoor furniture,” Antonio Navarro
Campos says. “Mediterranean culture
lives outside the house.”
“In Spain we have a long tradition in outdoor furniture,” says Antonio
Navarro Campos, the design-and-development manager for Kettal, which also
produces collections through its collaborative in-house studio. “Mediterranean
culture lives outside the house. The weather is always hot, and the atmosphere
is very social. I remember, when I was a child, my grandfather always lived
outside his house and would sit talking with the neighbors, and I remember
always sitting in outdoor furniture.”
Kettal’s new Manhattan collection, with its plush sofa cushions and springy
synthetic bases, is engineered to make outdoor furniture look and feel like
its modern indoor counterparts, except with more fresh air, sunlight, and the
sound of waves crashing on the beach. Its name could be seen as a slap in
the face to New York City, though, particularly at the end of a season when all
of Spain heads to the seashore for an entire month while the Manhattan office
worker—free concerts in the parks and public pools aside—is stuck eating
hot dogs from carts and peering at miles of waterfront from hard wooden
benches. “The idea was to change people’s minds, to say you can be outside
with the same standard of living as inside,” says Alexis Gouilly, Kettal’s marketing manager. “It’s not a folding plastic chair for outside.”
The Barcelona waterfront has taken on an over-the-top quality that leads
some locals to compare it unfavorably to Miami Beach: after the United States,
Spain has the second biggest tourist economy in the world, and the Ramblas
feels at times like a vast cobblestone bordello. But, even among the narrow
alleyways of Barcelona, everywhere the roads widen into plazas and the streets
are filled with outdoor seating for cafés and restaurants. A mountain range
that extends alongside the coast has historically isolated the city, but the same
global forces that have integrally connected Spain to Europe, the United States,
and China are allowing other Spanish cities to challenge Barcelona’s unrivaled
status as design capital. Contemporary design has already come in a big way
to Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela, where Peter Eisenman’s epic City of
Culture of Galicia is taking shape on a hill overlooking the medieval town. With
its recent construction boom and heavy dependence on imported fuel, Spain
has been strongly affected by the global financial crisis and skyrocketing gas
prices, but design remains a bright spot in a period of instability. “Design
is needed to survive,” Capella says. “Without good design, no company can go
high. Barcelona is the capital of design in Spain from a long time ago. But
Madrid improved. Now there is a design school in°Valencia. The other cit- ies are going up. That’s the truth. And I am happy.” www.metropolismag.com
Spanning or freestanding,
single Uprights or multiple
runs against a wall, the Sorbetti System
is the ultimate in flexibility for
shop interiors and windows.
See the full collection
of all accessories,
and tons of installation
ideas at www.BNind.com.
Call For Entries
2008 marks the 23rd anniversary
of our leading edge competition
seeking innovative designs of
furniture hardware, components
and accessories, for commercial
and residential furniture.
2007 First Place,
Offering a First Prize of $1000,
an engraved trophy, and a royalty.
Entries close October 6, 2008, so enter today!
Call (800) 523-1269 or visit mockett.com for more details.