Sunny outlook

The Gulf attracts a fair number of tourists because its leisure activities and the allure of a sunny day near a palm tree are appealing to Europeans in the winter, according to Antony Guss, VP international, Casualife.

The UAE-based firm of Australian origin is just one of many in the region that supplies outdoor furniture to commercial spaces. In spite of harsher temperatures during the summer, the market for these particular types of products is hot in the Middle East.

Guss said hotel exteriors are often used in brochures and recreation facilities as a selling point. Comfortable and good looking outdoor furniture is important for repeat business in hotels.

Zenia Home, established in 2009, also targets hotels and restaurants with its fair weather pieces, mainly made of faux rattan, which is highly durable, lightweight and easy to maintain.

Reem Nassar, managing director, Zenia Home, said the firm does not stock lines of furniture, instead choosing to customise everything according to the needs of its clients — from selection of rattan to colours and quality of fabric used. “This ensures that every piece is unique and personal,” she said.

Angel Salvador, international contract director, Dedon said trends, even in outdoor furniture design, are driven by the basic need to feel comfortable. “We are not only selling chairs and tables; we are offering a new outdoor lifestyle. Emotions will become the key of every trend.”

Balchik General Trading is a family-owned business which specialises in high quality outdoor furniture. The firm, which is named after the city Balchik on the costal side of the Black Sea in Bulgaria, has a wide range of products for summer residences, and other garden pieces and accessories for hotels, country houses, restaurants, cafés and shops.

Arina Essikova, general manager, Balchik said the goal when designing its products is to create simple objects, made from teak wood with a high quality finish.

In the Middle East, durable raw materials such as polyethylene, faux rattan and aluminium framing are suitable for the humidity and protect against rust, said Nassar. Stainless steel can be used instead of aluminium, which although more expensive, gives certain pieces a better polish and modern look.

Colours in outdoor design are also important, with neutrals, tans and teal in vogue this year. “For durability and anti-fading, an excellent quality of fabric is a must, and we recommend Sunbrella fabrics, which offer excellent quality and a myriad of colours,” added Nassar.

Guss said it’s silly to follow trends; designs should be chosen based on other factors. “For example, if a resort has a Tuscan feel then a wrought design may be best, or if it’s an ultra modern hotel then stainless steel will suit.”

He added synthetic woven wicker, which is a durable rattan-looking fibre woven around a frame is a very popular outdoor style. However in dusty areas, wicker can attract a lot of dust and look shabby quickly, so a smooth surface like an aluminium frame suits these areas better and is easier and quicker to clean.

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