Gardens, balconies and terraces are used as an outdoor extension of living space, and therefore garden armchairs make ideal furnishings that bring out the convivial atmosphere of the sitting room outside. As with other garden furniture, garden armchairs are either waterproof or have parts that can be stowed away easily, and many can be used to furnish interiors as well.
Take Alessandro Mendini’s ‘Magis Proust’ for Magis, an explosion of coloured dots on an opulent, baroque armchair, and one of iconic pieces of postmodernist design. Russell Pinch’s ‘Winchester Lounge Chair’ for Gloster Furniture is a solid teak garden armchair inspired by traditional Windsor chairs. Patricia Urquiola’s ‘Crinoline’ garden armchair for B&B Italia features a base and a seating shell woven from polyethylene threads and a cushion for added comfort.
Architect Egon Eiermann’s ‘E 10 rattan lounge chair’ is a seductive, organically-shaped midcentury classic made with natural materials. Conversely, Terri Dwan’s ‘Maui’ garden armchair for Riva 1920 is a smooth, pebble-like volume carved from a single block of wood. Ron Arad’s ‘Voido’ for Magis is a rocking garden armchair and Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Spun’ resembles a giant spinning top. Both are made from rotational-moulded polyethylene by Magis.
Another unconventional garden armchair is ‘Faz daybed’, designed by architect Ramón Esteve for Vondom, which is more akin to an angular, opening pod that integrates a wireless sound system. ‘Lobbyist Rocker - Rocking Chair HPL’, designed by Dominik Lutz for pliet, is a garden armchair made out of high pressure laminate plates that can be assembled by its owner and features a shelf for magazines underneath its seat.
Konstantin Grcic’s minimalist ‘Sultan’ garden armchair is made from two intersecting planes of White Carrara marble. Seledue|Seleform’s ‘Alu 7 Armchair’ looks like a conventional piece of furniture, but it is a stacking chair made from aluminium with wooden strips on its armrests. Lastly, Zachary A. Bitner’s robust ‘Wavebreaker chair’ looks as though it was cast from concrete, although it is a more lightweight design materialised from fibreglass.