Outdoor design: Design experts blur lines between indoor and outdoor spaces

Recent hospitality projects in the region – such as Four Seasons hotel in Dubai International Financial Centre, which has access to outdoors from each public area, St Regis Dubai with its vast atrium or the refurbished Kempinski Mall of the Emirates where the food and beverage venues are now connected through the terrace – all show that accesses to the open air is becoming a vital design element, directly influencing the guests’ overall experience.


Tapping into both the commercial and residential market, another increasingly dominant concept among interior designers is the drive to take the indoors outside. CID talks to regional experts about the newest and most interesting directions in outdoor design as well as the challenges they are facing while trying to incorporate elements of interiors outside in the harsh Middle Eastern climate.

In the newly opened Four Seasons DIFC, every public and food and beverage area in the hotel has an outdoor space as well. Giving them a strong residential look and feel, designer Adam Tihany explains that the outdoor space is becoming increasingly important.


“An outdoor area has to be an extension of the indoors, not something else as people would like the same experience,” says Tihany. “That is why we have rugs even around the pool area. We want to make it as compelling and comfortable as inside.”

Featuring 54 private villas, all with secluded walled gardens, swimming pools and extensive areas for sunbathing, the Mandarin Oriental resort in Marrakech is another good example of the way interior and exterior spaces co-exist. The architecture was done by Pascal Desprez while the design was created by French architects Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier.


Weather-resistant furniture

Bridging the gap between outdoor and indoor while mixing furniture and art is a prevailing trend among outdoor furniture manufacturers.

Mirko Habek, managing director of Sun and Shades, says that outdoor furniture designs have dramatically changed over the course of recent years and that the majority of designs are now suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, because of the use of stamskins, a new generation of vinyl seating fabrics.

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