The range of materials suitable for outdoor furniture in hospitality at first appears limited. Outdoor furniture needs to be resistant not only to the elements, but to guests and staff, and must be able to withstand abuse and still look appealing. Precisely why hotels must investigate materials at the manufacturing level to ensure they are worth the investment.
The primary metals used in outdoor furniture, according to Jerome Armaroli, directeur general at Sifas, are aluminum and stainless steel. “When using aluminum, it must be protected from water,” Armaroli said.
Sifas uses fabrics waterproofed on the inside to speed up the drying process when wet, while also protecting the aluminum from extended exposure. “Even if there is water inside the foam, it won’t be able to get through and it will dry up,” Armaroli said.
Tony Marti Pont, president and CEO of LTCS Hospitality Design, emphasized the need to use processed aluminum. According to Pont, processed aluminum has anti-corrosive qualities to protect it from rust.
Another lightweight yet durable material for use in outdoor furniture is bamboo. “If you stretch bamboo, it can be used almost like gum,” Pont said. “Where low-cost materials would break, bamboo is strong and also has great resistance to ultraviolet rays, protecting it from discoloration.”
Aaron Gochman, president of Caluco, recommends avoiding using wicker in outdoor settings as it is common, and its capacity to make a statement is limited.
“Using fabric that is three-quarters of an inch thick, on an aluminum frame, you can create a whole structure for seating, even a sofa,” Gochman said. “Wicker has been around for a long time, but the means to do something different are there.”