The new collections of Poltrona Frau for outdoor living embrace the concept of “boundless living”: life without physical or mental limits, in search of places where in & out blend and intermingle, with furnishings that adapt to the changing seasons and the various hours of the day.
“Boundless” is also the term for the company itself, which breaks out of its traditional field of action (large as it is, including residential interiors, contract projects and the automotive sector) to enter an open-air setting, connecting the firm’s philosophy with the theme of nature.
Sparkler by Poltrona Frau, Design Kensaku Oshiro
The three debut collections – previewed during the latest Milano Design Week – are in fact a tribute to manufacturing quality (solid wood, steel, textiles treated with the same mastery as leather), to restrained but elegant style, and the ability to trigger emotions. Three collections, respectively designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, Ludovica + Roberto Palomba and Kensaku Oshiro (the latter with a line of outdoor floor or table lamps), long-term interpreters of the identity of Poltrona Frau.
Roberto Lazzeroni and the forms of memory
The Secret Garden is the composition created by Roberto Lazzeroni with an air of bourgeois elegance, proper proportions and immediacy of expression. A collection – completely in teak with a natural finish – of many parts: a relaxation zone with cots and tables, a dining zone with a table and chairs, a lounge dining area with two-seater canapés, armchairs and a large table.
“The leitmotif is wood, very finely crafted, almost like skilled cabinetmaking – Roberto Lazzeroni says. – Teak, along with its international appeal, brings a fresh, light effect to the product, accentuated by the soft, even feminine form.” This delicate approach has always been one of the designer’s strong points. “These are furnishings that are there to be touched, not just seen.”
While the material brings sensual warmth to the collection, the design accentuates its enveloping, evocative character: “I wanted to create products in which the material is reduced to a minimum, but still features familiar forms, things we might have seen before, delving into memory. These pieces require no explanation, you can understand them immediately, at first glance – the designer continues. – This idea of normality has been with me for some time: to make objects that can last in time, to be passed down to new generations, immune to changing fashions. This is why I describe my work as ‘sentimental design,’ which links back to signs of the past, reinterpreting and finding stimuli for a new, updated guise.”
The ceramic tops and the colors of the coverings (by Loro Piana) turn back to the Mediterranean tradition, ready to adapt to all kinds of contemporary contexts.
“For this reason, the entire collection conserves an indoor look, though it has been conceived for outdoor areas. The pieces seem like hybrids, in a situation of indoor-outdoor contamination. This will undoubtedly encourage the evolution of the collection itself, which with different finishes, and leather in place of fabric, can also become ideal for indoor living spaces.”
In the shadow of Solaria
“Flavors, colors and above all aromas of spring and summer. We’ve taken inspiration from the cultures that face the Mediterranean, in an unimaginably beautiful voyage.” Ludovica and Roberto Palomba have drawn on pure Italian character to design Solaria: a DNA that emerges from the forms and atmospheres it generates. Islands of comfort take their cue from two- or three-seater sofas, corner modules, with a bench and chairs with or without armrests, along with two tables, square and rectangular in form.
“We started with a rigorous Nordic tone, a very precise citation of Dieter Rams, on the plane of the purest functionalism. Like the armrest that is raised and completely emptied, leaving only the functional surface – Roberto Palomba explains. – But we also wanted a strong Mediterranean matrix: in the colors, the materials, the transparencies and the type of weave, our aim was to create an essential object. The result is Mediterranean character that is not just stated, but becomes the essence of the entire project.”
The weave of cords (in ecru color, in tune with the chalky hue of the stainless steel structure) creates a very precise aesthetic and functional motif: “One of the obsessions in our studio is the idea of shadow, influenced by the oriental world – Ludovica says. – Shadow provides a different key of interpretation of the object: depending on the light source, it can change the geometric presence and vision. Hence the choice of making woven cord backs, while in other cases a full fabric covering is used.”
The overall sense of lightness that emerges in the different compositions of Solaria narrates an idea of outdoor living, “which is happy, relaxed, transparent, lounging –Roberto remarks. – As time passes, we realize that our job is less and less that of creating forms, but is above all a matter of finding empathy, in tune with the emotions of those who will then live with the object. We try to feel free of the stylistic factor, to concentrate mainly on the emotional aspects. This collection pursues these aims.” “Because in the end – Ludovica concludes – we are creators of worlds, and Solaria is one of them.”