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Six Minimalist Outdoor Furniture Designs That Prove Less is MoreAuthor: Radmila Durasinovic
Six Minimalist Outdoor Furniture Designs That Prove Less is More
Minimalist design is all about the essence of things—creating functional objects with only necessary elements, whose beauty lies in their apparent simplicity. While minimalist design has only become more popular since Mies Van der Rohe’s declaration “less is more”, by its adversaries, it is often viewed as a rigid standard of a good taste. The primary critique revolves around the perception that minimalist design can come across as cold, unwelcoming, and lacking emotional depth. However, minimalism has much more to offer than what obvious criticisms suggest, for the simplest solutions often require a complex thought process and meticulousness in the execution of details. As current lifestyle trends steer towards living with less in the quest for increased well-being, minimalist design continues to inspire both in architecture, interior and industrial design. With the dawning of summer, as we move dining, relaxation and socialization outdoors, we have selected six outdoor furniture designs that embody the strengths of minimalist design, for ultimate enjoyment of outdoor living this season and many more to come.
In 2016, Italian design collective Nucleo released Terra 2.0 as an improved version of their initial 2000 design. Essentially a simple flat-packed cardboard waffle structure, Terra transforms into a chair over time—once assembled on-site, the user fills the frame with soil and waits for grass to grow over it.
Covered in the continuous skin of the surrounding environment, the chair simultaneously becomes the landscape, and the landscape a chair. In its entirely minimalist, sustainable and democratic concept, Terra forges a highly poetic relationship between nature and man, the manmade and the natural.
Designed by José A. Gandía-Blasco Canales for Diabla Outdoor, Clip is a collection of outdoor furniture consisting of only two key elements: an armchair and a coffee table that can be used separately or combined to create a sofa, or a lounge chair. Using a minimal number of different elements to create flexible and customizable arrangements, Clip showcases the strength of a well thought out design. Made of 100% recyclable polyethylene, Clip is not only minimalist in its design, but also in its impact on the environment.
The barbecue is the traditional emblem of outdoor living, signifying summer, get-togethers and relaxation. Oftentimes their design can be bulky and overly complex, with various built-in accessories and settings for the ultimate culinary experience, which can be a problem for beginners or small spaces. The streamlined design of Druida by Mermelada Estudio, however, is intuitive and simple. Inspired by the large kettles used by druids to prepare their magical concoctions, it is created to resemble fine designer furniture. Its thoughtfully planned aesthetic and compact size make it perfect for smaller outdoor areas and those with a penchant for minimalist design.
Philippe Starck’s preoccupation with dematerialization has become a definitive part of his brand. Plastic is the French designer’s material of choice in his ambition to create more with less materials and energy. Designed in 2002 for Kartell, the Louis Ghost chair has given a new lease of life to the “less is more” mantra and Starck’s advocacy for de-growth. Inspired by the elegance of Louis XV-style armchairs, Starck gave it a contemporary twist by using durable, injection-molded polycarbonate, to create a reduced lightweight and transparent rendition of the iconic Rococo style silhouette. Its seamless, single-piece construction contributes to its sleek and minimalist aesthetic, while the transparent design effortlessly integrates the design into any environment.
Danish brand Muuto has a single outdoor collection—the Linear Steel family by Thomas Bentzen. The collection combines functionality and durability with refined details, demonstrating how simple, well-crafted pieces can meet various needs and become the sole offering of a brand. The collection’s clean lines, robust materials and subtle elements, such as folded edges and intersecting legs, create an elegant and timeless aesthetic—the ideal choice when limited to one option.
Jasper Morrison says that design mustn’t be dominant but quietly present; successful design is special, striking in its simplicity and appealing in its inconspicuousness. Park Life, designed by Morrison for Kettal, was the English designer’s first outdoor collection and consists of pieces with a simple profile that may be used in a variety of settings, encapsulating his design philosophy. With careful consideration of ergonomics and the ability to be easily stacked, Park Life is a versatile design characterized by its functionality and simple aesthetic.
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