ITALY, Milan. Ethimo, the Milan-based outdoor furniture specialist, will be launching its new collection, Swing, at the 2015 Maison & Objet trade show in Paris. spoke with Patrick Nourget, winner of GQ’s Designer of the year 2014 and founder of the eponymous design studio, about his collaboration with Ethimo and the new collection.

“Three years ago Ethimo asked me to start collaborating with them, to think about the business and what the future held for their products,” starts Nourget. “Step by step we have tried to change the image, philosophy and collections.”

Nourget is quick to point out that he hopes to limit and integrate the use of teak. “Teak is very popular,” he says, referring not only to Ethimo’s design philosophy, but also to the superyacht industry and the outdoor furniture market as a whole. “But teak is very precious [endangered], and is not always the best for sourcing and sustainability.” The aim, Nourget explains, is to mix the teak with other woods as well as to use new technologies and materials.

Two person sofa

In the new collection Nourget has used teak, but in a very industrial manner. “I have used very basic pieces of teak,” he explains. Every piece used in the collection is the same size and shape. With the industrial style processes employed it is possible to create “a big sofa, a two place, three place, sun chair – we are developing the rest of the collection for next year”. The teak slats are held in place by a powder coated aluminium frame and the cushions are finished with durable outdoor fabrics.

By combining these pieces of teak and playing with the aluminium steel structure Nourget is able to create a versatile, naturally toned family of products based around the figurehead swinging chair.

Teak is a material that has stirred much debate in the superyacht industry, its popularity combined with its slow growth and contribution to illegal activity splits opinion. It is always refreshing when designers acknowledge the necessity of teaks use in relation to its unfavourable circumstances.

Designers such as Patrick Nourget and Tim Gosling (who spoke at SuperyachtDESIGN Week 2015) continue to use teak, but by exploring different materials and construction techniques they manage to dramatically reduce the amount of teak used per item of furniture. Whether it be veneers or slats or sustainable private forests, integrating and limiting the use of teak is commendable and highlights a degree of aesthetic maturity worthy of mention.

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