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June 16, 2005 latimes.com : Sports : NBA : Lakers Print E-mail story Most E-mailed
Turning the patio inside out PHOTOS
High-tech weatherproofing moves period pieces and modern décor into the elements.
(Glenn Koenig / LAT)
By David A. Keeps, Special to The Times
Back in the 20th century, furnishing the backyard was simple. Lightweight dinette sets and loungers made from
fiberglass, resin or tubular aluminum were easy on the back and the wallet.
"That was when it was called patio furniture," recalls Ron Safran, owner of two Victory Furniture showrooms in the
L.A. area. These days, it is outdoor décor. "With real estate where it is, everyone is trying to make the most out of
every square foot, so people want to create outdoor living and dining rooms. Furniture that had to be functional is Parental guidance
now being driven by design."
Call it better outdoor living through chemistry. With a
growing palette of weatherproof materials and finishes,
designers can make pieces that are as 21st century minimal
as the latest Italian creations or as tailored as a Baroque
Open and shut
(Karen Tapia-Andersen /
How else could one possibly explain the Louis Soleil? LAT)
Created by John Hutton for Sutherland as an antidote to
"overly serious minimal" outdoor designs, the generously
proportioned 17th century French lounge is an indoor chair
built for le jardin. On its intricately carved teak frame, Hutton
used stainless steel nailhead trim to attach weatherproof
upholstery, instead of the usual loose cushions. The result is
a graceful interpretation of a classic period piece that can
stand up to Santa Ana winds and Santa Monica sun.
At the other end of the stylistic spectrum, designers are
looking forward for inspiration, creating furniture that wouldn't
look out of place on the sundeck of the Jetsons' sky pod.
Mamma, created by Patrick Messier of Editorial, a Montreal
firm, is a sinuous rocking chair designed, he explains, "to look like a ribbon unfurling through the air."
"My wife just had a baby and wanted to buy a rocker, but all of them were ugly so I designed one for her," Messier See worthy
says. East '20s
(Glenn Koenig / LAT)
High-tech polymers, corrosion-free metals and synthetic fibers and cushions have created a stylistic free-for-all in
outdoor furniture, says Andy Hackman of the L.A. store California Living. "Manufacturers can now create any
design, new or historical, that will be fully suitable for indoors or out."
California Living specializes in the sleek midcentury modern designs that, after World War II, put the city on the map
as a manufacturing center for poolside furniture. Other L.A. retailers contribute to that tradition.
At Warisan, recycled teak is fashioned into chic rustic patio pieces. Arden House recasts wooden Chippendale
Those playgrounds in the sky
seats and early 20th century bamboo stick furniture as sturdy powder-coated steel club chairs; designer Andrea June 16, 2005
Newcomer sets cushions with a Bel-Air country club flair atop an upholstered seat, a common feature in indoor That's right neighborly of you
furniture. June 16, 2005
Bold, bright and hard to break
Outdoor décor also has become a global phenomenon. New Zealand designer David Trubridge bends tatajuba June 16, 2005
wood into slatted loungers called Sling and Glide (shown on F1) that look like a skeleton of a canoe. In the Backyards in the forefront
Philippines, Kenneth Cobonpue, known for his extraordinary work in rattan, is experimenting with woven steel June 16, 2005
canopy chairs covered in weatherproof rope. The Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola covers her low-slung
"Lazy" lounge chair in an oversized stretch mesh.
High-end manufacturers in the U.S. are launching outdoor furniture lines in traditional styles using modern products Pride in Ownership
to re-create an antique look.
Beyond Big Shot, Horry Carries Spurs to Victory
"Whether they are decorating vacation homes or an apartment balcony, everyone wants the feeling of a resort,"
Horry Still Has Some Magic Left in His Shot
says Eleanor McKay, chief executive officer of Niermann Weeks, which has a showroom at the Pacific Design
Center in West Hollywood. "We're way beyond the $5 plastic chairs you buy at the drugstore." Clippers Align With Global View in Seeking Talent
Niermann Weeks' 30-piece outdoor collection includes 19th century English Regency and Chinese Chippendale These Aren't Those Lakers
styles. The Loggia group consists of chairs and a Knole sofa with carved seashells and neoclassical crossed arrows more >
adorning the back. The sofa also features hinged drop-down sides held in place with a decorative chain, plus a
finish and weatherproof cushions. "You can pour water right through, and they'll be dry in 10 minutes," McKay says.
Such upscale designs have already had a trickle-down effect on an increasingly sophisticated mass market.
Although it is still possible to spend five figures on a carved bench designed by Oscar De La Renta, it is also easy to Caltech to Harvard: Redo the Math
replicate the look by going to the website Grandin Road (www.grandinroad.com) and choosing the $699 Delano, Never Steal a Turkey in Lubbock, and Other Tales of
which neatly complements Los Angeles' Mediterranean architecture. For English gardens and Normandy terraces, Texas Justice
Ballard Designs offers woven plastic fiber Queen Anne-style chairs for $199 (www.ballarddesigns.com), and Smith Father Knows Best, Except at Caltech
& Hawken has a full range of French Provincial styles. > more e-mailed stories
Major manufacturers also have begun to dip their toes into the pool of creative outdoor furniture design. At Victory
Furniture, Brown Jordan's South Seas group mixes British Colonial lathed legs and Pacific Island floral carving in CLICK HERE to have Times
teak furniture with cane seats and tabletops woven in a synthetic material that echoes sea grass. The collection, news sent to your inbox
with six pieces ranging from $649 for a side table to $3,099 for a settee, arrived last month. Victory has filled half a
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"It's not exactly inexpensive," says Victory owner Safran. "But it is sophisticated, and that's what people are looking
Additional reporting by Adamo DiGregorio.