While no furniture production process is completely impact free, there are a growing number of designers and artisans producing garden furniture with sustainability at the very heart of what they do.
From giving a new lease of life to discarded fabrics and waste wood, repurposing products and working with sustainable, natural materials, these businesses have social responsibility at the core of their company ethos.
So eight ideas to keep cool outside this summer in the knowledge that your garden furniture is not only functional and stylish, but it hasn’t cost us the earth.
Pear Pod, Frome
Ellen (above) weaves with willow to create stunning garden pods where the inhabitants can simply ‘be’. Gently swaying in the breeze, suspended in the shade of a tree or standing alone, a bespoke Pear Pod will both blend with your backdrop whilst making a gentle statement. A garden installation crafted with purpose, made with heart and soul.
Find out more www.pearpod.co.uk
Weaver Green, Salcombe
After 7 years spent refining the process of turning hard, waste plastic into a soft, flexible fibre, Tasha & Barney created a product with the look and feel of wool that is machine washable and stain resistant making it ideal for outdoor use. Their Devon based company produces woven rugs, blankets and cushions, each hand loomed by artisans throughout Europe and Asia. The large floor cushions made from 100% recycled plastic bottles are perfect poolside or for simply lounging in the grass with a good book
Get in touch www.weavergreen.com
Gas & Air Studio, Norwich & London
The brainchild of 2 entrepreneurial art & design students, Gas & Air Studio produces handmade garden furniture from salvaged wooden pallets. After a period of experimenting from a back garden in South London, several prototypes and a Kickstarter campaign later, the duo now create furniture which combines strength of form with sustainability. Every part of the design process is carried out by hand, nails from the dismantling process are recycled and wood that is not used to make stock pieces is re-used in bespoke projects. The Chevron outdoor table and slate topped stools are perfect for an urban garden.
Drop them a line www.gasandairstudios.co.uk
Dvelas, Pamplona, Spain
Starting life as a creative reaction to the vast volume of material being thrown away by the yachting industry, the company takes old sails and rigging and turns them into sculptural pieces, inspired by their original form, function and purpose. Durable, resistant and strong, each piece uses ‘tension’ to inform its design, so while the sails might be retired from their original use, they continue to perform true to their original purpose. Dvelas produce a range of outdoor beanbags, loungers and deckchairs, all with a gentle nod to the nautical.
Find out where to buy www.dvelas.com
Tom Raffield, nr Helston, Cornwall
From the designer-maker that brought us the iconic No 1 Pendant, the Amble Hanging Seat effuses relaxation. With a weightlessness that is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship and socially responsible design, the hanging chair is created from steam bent lengths of sustainably sourced ash. Suitable for outside use in a covered space, it’s ideal for a sheltered deck or terrace and would be at home in both an urban and countryside setting.
Take a closer look www.tomraffield.com
East London Parasol Company, London
Whilst living in Kerala, Lucy spotted the brightly coloured parasols used at religious ceremonies and purchasing one, which travelled home with her to East London, she turned her design eye into a business. The East London Parasol Company was born, employing happy people who are fairly paid. The company ethos is to keep artisans in work, creating high quality garden furniture, while sustaining their craft. All the parasols are made by hand in India & Indonesia, the canopies printed using a block printing technique and the tassels that adorn the shades are hand made by the local temple umbrella makers in Kerala.
Get in touch www.eastlondonparasols.com
Made from recycled Brazilian Cotton, the Rio family sized hammock is hand woven in a Jacquard design for softness, strength and comfort. With a decorative veranda hem and ends hand finished with macrame, the whole family can kick back and relax between the trees in style. Alternatively it can be suspended from an FSC certified larch frame with stainless steel fittings, allowing you to place it anywhere in the garden.
Find out where to buy www.amazonas.eu
Raft Furniture, London
For garden furniture made from teak that originally started life as part of a bridge, building or a ships deck, Raft Furniture is the place to look. World leaders in reclaimed teak, Raft employs over 300 skilled artisans in Indonesia. Providing employment for local people, the reclaimed timber is dried using solar kilns and the teak is carefully prepared to minimise wastage. While the British weather may not be guaranteed to hold, teak garden furniture can be relied on for years to come.
For more information www.raftfurniture.co.uk
Continue to enjoy the sunshine safely and happy garden designing!