History, culture and a love for outdoor living in the new Patio collection by Ethimo

The outdoor furniture collection created by Studio Zanellato/Bortotto features the results of new research on weaving

Giorgia Zanellato & Daniele Bortotto - photo © Mattia Balsamini

Patio is the name of the latest collection of outdoor furnishings by Ethimo, and marks the second collaboration between Studio Zanellato/Bortotto and the brand specialized in furniture for the open air, after the presentation of the Rotin collection in 2022. Composed of lounge and dining furniture, Patio features an innovative leitmotif: the rediscovery of traditional weaving techniques from various cultures, with their fascinating geometric schemes and skilled craftsmanship. Study of these methods leads to unusual motifs, simultaneously structure and decoration for welcoming, seductive and refined products.

Patio includes an armchair, a three-seat sofa, a daybed and a coffee table, in the colors fog gray and moss green, as well as a comfortable hammock, a synonym for excellence in outdoor relaxation; the outdoor cording is in light gray combined with pale lagoon blue. The seat cushions, with ample volumes and soft textures, are in sand and sea tones, while the decorative cushions add greater comfort thanks to soft fabrics in the hues of Mediterranean flora.

Patio hammock by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto

Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto, how did the encounter with Ethimo come about, and what are your elements of connection with the brand?
The encounter with Ethimo came several years ago, and our collaboration started from a simple exchange of email messages, sharing ideas and stimuli for research that then led to the Rotin collection. From the outset there was a strong connection, also on a human level. We have a shared passion for research and craftsmanship, the desire to envision products through a philosophy that does not simply chase after fashions and trends.

Regarding Patio, you have stated: “The collection stems from our passion for the variety of weaves and patterns discovered on our travels. We designed a series of motifs as 3D surfaces that could be become the decoration and structure of a series of outdoor seating elements. The latter become true frames in wood and teak into which skilled craftsmen weave close patterns based on our suggestions, tests and inspirations, gathered with this new project in mind for Ethimo.” Is craftsmanship an outstanding aspect of this collection?
Craftsmanship is a central factor, forming the basis for the thinking that has gone into the series. The initial inspiration developed in the first drawings for Patio came from a series of traditional oriental baskets, whose structure remains almost invisible and frames large strips of natural fibers, woven together. We wanted the same effect in this collection of products: structures in teak with simple, understated forms, functioning as a loom for the nimble hands of the weavers.

Patio armchair by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto
Patio armchair by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto

Teak and cord: could you tell us more about the choice of materials and colors?
The decision was very simple, involving two of the canonical materials for outdoor use, with which the company has extensive expertise developed over the years. The teak is skillfully crafted to create curved and shaped surfaces, while the outdoor technical cording has a texture similar to that of soft fabric. The colors are delicate, putting the accent on the visual impact of the weave.

The latest trends in outdoor living are oriented toward the use of forms, materials and colors in harmony with nature. Is this also true of Patio?
The structure and weave reflect this idea, and it is possible to play with combinations of fabrics to create different chromatic moods and settings.

Also in the Rotin collection, we see the triumph of craftsmanship and handiwork: what is the value of tradition, in your view? How do you blend it with new technologies and materials?
Tradition is a fundamental factor in our research, and has always been the basis for our work. We link back to tradition while attempting to offer our own vision, interpreting it through the canons of contemporary design in terms of research and technical evolution. This approach can also offer a long-term perspective though which to safeguard techniques that were once considered obsolete, or connected with a crafts approach that is distant from serial production.

Patio sofa by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto

What was the inspiration for Rotin?
The traditional living rooms in bamboo and rattan, typically on verandas and terraces of villas in the past. We have reinterpreted that language here, and we urged the company to experiment with ways of working on teak.

Rotin also makes use of cords: it is a sort of link back to our past, to age-old knowledge. What is your vision here?
Also in Rotin, the cords are an element of connection, which through weaving and tying holds things together, gathering the parts, bringing stability and balance. This leads to the decorative aspect, the colors and patterns that enhance the surfaces.

Patio dining set by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto
Patio table by Ethimo, design Zanellato/Bortotto

The tops of the Rotin tables are in marble or glazed cotto; the coffee tables in Patio have tops in glazed volcanic stone. Marble is going through a comeback, and is being offered in contemporary forms; the same can be said about cotto and terracotta, or lava stone: please comment on these materials.
We have always liked them: marble has a strong connection to our territory, and to the craftsmanship that has always been applied to these precious stone surfaces. Cotto allows you to make room for the imagination, thanks to the many shadings of color that can be created by using vitreous glazes.