The Sifas Oskar collection blends materials such as metal and wood to create a unique poolside aesthetic. The outdoor chair is finished in anodized aluminum for higher resistance against the elements.
Finding strong materials to last in the sun, wind and rain is difficult, as many designer materials grow weak under one of those three elements. Aluminum and stainless steel are some of the most popular materials in this category due to their resiliency, though the materials used must be pure.
“Cast aluminum that imitates iron is the most popular metal for outdoor furniture right now, but when recycled materials are used they simply don’t have the same strength,” said Tony Marti Pont, president and CEO of LTCS Hospitality Design. Pont also recommends using multi-tiered layers of aluminum tubes within furniture elements such as the legs or armrests of fixtures to enhance their strength.
“Anyone can use recycled aluminum to save money, but it’s a risk because you don’t know what is actually in it,” said Aaron Gochman, president of Caluco. “It can cause all kinds of problems, which is why verification of materials is important.”
For Gochman, nothing short of a statement from laboratory testing is enough to verify a material’s worth. He recommends working directly with manufacturers to be sure of what materials are used in the construction of their products, and with the right materials, Gochman believes outdoor furniture should have 3,000 hours of protection from ultraviolet radiation. This translates to three years of sunlight before they begin to fade.
As recycling is detrimental to the strength of aluminum, Jerome Armaroli, directeur general at Sifas, believes designing using the minimum number of pieces is important to reduce waste.
“If you can go to three millimeters rather than five you can reduce the weight, reduce the cost and reduce the impact,” Armaroli said. “The end of the product’s life is important, and if you can’t plan for this it will cost a great deal to have the product destroyed. Then you will pay in energy and carbon dioxide.”