Garden chairs are as diverse as their indoor counterparts, and can be found in private gardens, communal courtyards and even in public parks. Their outdoor location means that they are made of weather-resistant materials and loose covers are often available, although contemporary architects, designers and manufacturers take the utmost care to design and produce comfortable garden chairs.
Take Ron Arad’s ‘Tom Vac’ garden chair for Vitra, whose seat is a continuous, polypropylene ribbon that embraced the sitter, mounted on tubular steel legs. Till Behrens’s ‘KSL 0.3 Bistro chair’ is made from slender steel rods and allows for a flexible, gently swaying seating experience. Philippe Starck’s ‘Heritage Stacking armchair’ is a traditionally shaped garden chair made wholly from brushed aluminium.
Jasper Morrison’s ‘Fionda | MC6’ combines a teak X-frame with a suspended canvas seat for a light, comfortable, portable garden chair manufactured by Matiazzi. Karim Rashid takes a brightly coloured, steel cantilever frame and connects it with bars of flexible polymer foam into ‘Boing’, a colourful, fun design for Gufram. Architect David Adjaye’s ‘Washington Skeleton™ Aluminum Side Chair’ is an unconventionally cantilevered chair with a lattice seat, produced by Knoll International and is available in ultra-durable outdoor coating, although it can furnish contemporary interiors as well. On the other hand, Oxleys Furniture’s ‘Shenstonian dining chair’, also an aluminium design, has a support structure that comprises elaborate and tasteful floral reliefs.
Design classics, such as Verner Panton’s iconic, Vitra-produced ‘Panton chair’, a fluid, sculptural, cantilever chair made from a single piece of moulded plastic, can sit happily alongside Riva 1920’s ‘Log’ garden chair, a massive piece of wood with a carved-in seat. Alexander Pelikan uses the weather resistant composite panel for his ‘CLICDINERCHAIR TRESPA’ by PeLiDesign, which can be assembled easily by slotting individual components together. Hay’s ‘Shanghay Chair’, designed by KiBiSi, is a garden chair composed from broad bands of plywood. Lastly, architect Junya Ishigami’s ‘Family Chair’ collection contains tubular steel garden chairs with charmingly irregular, steel mesh backrests.