business of home | Mar 16, 2018 |
The New 'It' Category

With nearly 80 percent of U.S. households enjoying outdoor space, it’s no surprise that the International Casual Furnishings Association expects the outdoor furnishings category to gross $5.5 billion by 2021. We turned to the brand standard-bearers for an inside look at the top-performing SKUs and finishes. 

The New 'It' Category
Marine day bed from Serena & Lily

Ahead of the Curve: “Most of our customers live in coastal communities and spend time outdoors year-round,” explains Kirsty Williams, senior vice president of design for Serena & Lily. Yet while the brand has perfected the après-beach look, it is relatively new to the outdoor category. This spring, it focused on translating its bestsellers into pieces that shoppers can actually take outside, like the Capistrano outdoor daybed, the resin version of an oft-Instagrammed rattan indoor favorite. “It retains all of the same graceful curves, but is constructed of sturdier outdoor materials,” says Williams.

Finishing Strong: Though neutral shades of the high-performance aluminum have long surpassed the demand for other colorways, the Virginia-based furniture company McKinnon and Harris has seen a significant uptick in requests for the bolder, nature-inspired green and blue hues in its 22-color deck of finish options.

43 Years: That’s how long legendary architect and furniture designer Antonio Citterio has been creating award-winning product for B&B Italia. His outdoor collection, Gio, continues the winning streak—the striking range of outdoor sofas, lounges and dining sets in antiqued gray teak has been the company’s chart-buster since it launched two years ago. 

The New 'It' Category
Janus et Cie's Zebra chair (top) and the Augustine metal garden chair from Thomas O'Brien for Century (bottom)

Paint the Town: Powder-coated aluminum outdoor furniture in a rainbow of hues makes top marks at Sutherland. 

Modern Marvel: Janus et Cie’s all-weather furniture often makes its way indoors. In powder-coated aluminum, the Zebra armchair answers designers’ craving for looks that swing both ways—indoors and outdoors, that is. 

Past Perfect: Designer Thomas O’Brien’s first outdoor collection for Century is an ode to historical garden furniture design that is elegant, practical, and just as beloved as his indoor line. 

Need for Speed: This spring, Castelle launched a quick-ship program for its most popular aluminum, all-weather wicker and resin wood styles—and saw a boost in sales as a result. “We’ve taken a 2-4-6 approach,” says CEO and president Derek Ritzel. “Two weeks for consumer delivery of our best-sellers; four weeks for our express program, which includes more collections and color options; and six weeks for any fully customized outdoor product. The benefit of these programs is being seen across all three categories.” 

100 New SKUs: Summer Classics goes all in on performance textiles this season, with more than 100 exclusive new fabrics for its outdoor seating lines—including a new, completely upholstered outdoor collection. 

Rising Stars: Woven seating is having a major moment at Dedon. The Sebastian Herkner–designed Wing chair from the Mbrace collection, made of teak and a triaxial synthetic weave—beloved for its comfy profile and mixed materials—is quickly becoming a top performer. Outdoor lighting—including Herkner’s splash-proof Loon floor lamp—is another growing category. 

Inspired Style: Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard makes his mark on the outdoor category with two new collections for Frontgate: a midcentury-leaning modular seating and dining series inspired by the lines of a director's chair ("It's very luxury-yacht-goes-to-Saint-Tropez," says Bullard), and a Moorish-inspired teak line, whose standout piece is a hanging daybed mounded with exotic textiles.

The New 'It' Category
Lido chair from Lee Industries

Best Seller: Lee Industries long ago perfected the art of the indoor swivel; now the North Carolina-based manufacturer brings the feature to its outdoor offerings, including the best-selling Lido Chair. 

Made-to-Order: Custom details are all the rage among Munder-Skiles’s clientele, especially the shapely teak Cantor collection, which features specially made gridded wood panels.

In the Frame: Tommy Bahama for Lexington Home Brands looked to its own collection for inspiration when creating the best-selling outdoor frame, the Island Estate Lanai wing chair (above), which is modeled on one of its most popular indoor styles.

This article originally appeared in Spring 2018 issue of Business of Home, Issue 7. Subscribe for more.

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