It’s no coincidence that as dozens of studies over the last decade have shown the benefits of being outside, home design has embraced a blurring of the lines between inside and out. Potted trees and trailing plants bring nature indoors as living and lounge spaces are moving outside—and for designers, it’s not unusual for an outdoor room to be a key part of a project rather than a secondary space. While this shifting mindset has required some design companies to restrategize, the French outdoor furniture company Fermob was built on these bringing-the-indoors-out ideals.
“We all know the outdoor room has become important, but the outdoor room is not just about decorating,” says Leslie Thompson, COO of Fermob USA. “It’s about the joy of living, which is one of Fermob’s core values. I think the U.S. consumer might not articulate it that way, but what’s underneath the desire for outdoor space? It’s the joy of living.”
Fermob is not your average outdoor furniture brand. An unmatched color expertise coupled with a deep-seated respect for nature make for a line of products that result in upbeat, unconventional outdoor rooms, whether in a city park or private backyard.
The company’s lightweight metal pieces are easily recognizable in part because of their rich custom hues, which directly relate to that central tenet of joie de vivre. The colors—shades of green with names like Cactus, Rosemary, Willow, and Cedar; cool colors like Acapulco Blue that work with the ocean; and warm, desert-inspired shades like Red Ochre, Honey and Chili—all echo those found in nature.
The company’s curated palette of 24 colors is a constant work in progress; when new shades are introduced, old ones are retired. This year, for the first time, Fermob created three new colors that are a departure from the brand’s signature brightness.
When developing any color, the company looks to fashion trends and to its existing color chart. This time around, Fermob’s design team felt the collection was missing “a fresh universe, bright and soft,” says Thompson. The new pastel hues—the pale yellow Frosted Lemon, subtle blue Ice Mint, and warm Clay Grey—bring a sense of lightness and fill the void.
Like all of the brand’s shades, these new hues were extensively tested for scratch-, humidity- and UV-resistance. Thompson, who has been with Fermob for 21 years, notes that the new shades align with customer desire in both the U.S. and European markets, which isn’t always the case. The brand offers trade services like color consultations to help guide designers and offer advice on which pieces would work best given the conditions, from high winds or lots of sun to spaces ideal for nighttime use.
Fermob’s “joy of living” mantra goes deeper than its range of colorful products. Since CEO Bernard Reybier acquired the business in 1989, he has prioritized the development of not only new products, but also a strong sustainable conscience. Fermob runs one of the most efficient and eco-friendly paint plants in Europe, implementing the first-ever zero-waste painting line in 1996. All paints are solvent-free, and any residue created during the design process is fully recycled. The innovation allows the company to save 8 tons of paint per year.
“When you sell 30,000 pieces of furniture per year, you’re either helping the environment or hurting it,” says Thompson. “So it’s important for us to show that sustainability is part of who we are.”
Fermob’s products are made of steel and aluminum, two of the most recyclable materials in the world; some 98 percent of the metals are recycled worldwide. On top of that, the company uses minimal cardboard and plastic in packaging, and every material received is sorted and recycled. The company is a longtime member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, and in 2017, Fermob was the fourth manufacturer to earn the council’s Gold Exemplary Recognition, which requires companies to complete a rigorous review process.
The drive to innovate and maximize environmental responsibility connects back to Fermob’s mission to design “happy garden furniture” that brings people outside and contributes to the joy of living. “We know that when we spend time outside, it’s good for our mind, our soul, our body,” says Thompson. “It’s now popular to talk about these things, but it’s been at Fermob’s core forever.”
This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Fermob.
Homepage photo: The Ribambelle table and chairs from the Surprising range, all in Acapulco Blue | Courtesy of Fermob