We may be a long way from eliminating plastic from the planet completely, but in the meantime, the more it stays out of landfill the better. More and more designers and manufacturers are finding new and alternative ways to make use of the material, one of them being outdoor furniture. Here are a handful of examples, plus some other great designs made from recycled materials, guaranteed to spruce up any outdoor living space. Time to get outside!
1. CUNNINGHAM CHAIR
Dvelas are a Spanish furniture company founded by architect Enrique Kahle Olaso. Famed for making the most of redundant boat sails that are no longer fit for purpose, Dvelas has created a range of designs that upcycle material to its full potential. The fabric is ideal for crafting outdoor furniture as it’s extremely durable and weatherproof.
This Cunningham chair is part of their latest collection (a cunningham is a sailing term that refers to a type of rigging that allows you change the shape of the sail). The chair comes in natural or black and is made from recovered sail, sycamore wood and marine plywood.
2. NAVY 111 CHAIR
The Navy 111 Chair in Charcoal* is modelled on the on the 1006 Navy chair* made from recycled aluminium. This chair was first built for use on submarines in 1944 and has been in continuous production ever since. For the Navy 111, Pennsylvania furniture company Emeco collaborated with Coca-Cola to create the same design from 111 recycled plastic bottles. They estimate that production will keep 3 million plastic coke bottles out of landfill each year. The chair is suitable for outdoor use and is also available in Persimmon orange, Red, Grass and White from The Conran Shop*.
3. RIO HAMMOCK
So technically this isn’t one you want to leave outdoors… uncovered… especially not in the UK. But a hammock at least can be easily stowed away until those perfect summer afternoons, when all you’re longing for is a siesta in the shade.
The Rio hammock is by a Brazilian brand called Amazonas. It’s made using recycled cotton cloth left over from the cotton industry and features Veranda tasselled edging. Described as a family hammock, this one has a load capacity of 200kg, but you’ll find a range of sizes and colours available at Amara.
4. PALLET CHAIR
Believe it or not, this painted Pallet Chair* by Norwich-based company Gas & Air Studios can be folded flat and conveniently stowed away. The timber is treated to withstand all weathers and can be left outside all year round. A matching Pallet Table* is available and you can even ask them to customise the colour.
5. RELAX CHAIR
The Relax chair is by the Dutch designer Ineke Hans and forms part of a larger outdoor furniture collection named Ordinary Furniture, which was developed over the years 1997-2005. What’s unusual about this furniture is that despite having visible ‘woodgrains’ and plank-like components, it’s actually made from recycled black plastic. You’ll find various products from the range available to buy from Clippings.
6. LEXINGTON OUTDOOR CUSHIONS
Dash & Albert is a line of textiles under American interior design Anne Selke. These floor cushions pictured in white and denim will certainly give your outdoor space a nautical New England feel. The covers are made from recycled PET bottles, making them 100% waterproof, extra durable and you can even machine wash them cold. Available in a range of colours from Fresh American or Design Vintage. P.s. Check out their range of indoor/outdoor rugs too which are also made from recycled PET.
7. RHODE CHAIR
The Rhode chair is just one of Raft’s many designs made from FSC reclaimed teak wood. Raft is the world’s largest retailer of FSC recycled 100% timber, predominantly sourced from old bridges and houses in Indonesia. The abundance of reclaimed teak available in Indonesia is due to a government scheme helping residents to build earthquake-proof homes. Coordinating outdoor tables are also available.
8. GÉNOIS CHAIR
Another design by Dvelas is the delightfully squishy Génois bean bag. These are again made from upcycled boat sail fabric and make for a thoroughly comfortable seat both indoors or out. The chair comes in a range of sizes, including the longer version pictured at the top of this page – perfect for poolside lounging. Clearly they provide the perfect set up for the most relaxed social gatherings that go on late into the night. Available to buy via Houzz.
9. ALFRESCO DINING CHAIR
Loll Designs is an American brand specialising in outdoor furniture made from 100% recycled plastic, mainly sourced from single use milk jugs. This is the stackable Alfresco dining chair in charcoal grey, but if that’s not doing it for you, it also comes in 12 juicy colours including apple red, sunset orange and leaf green.
10. CORTIÇA CHAISE LONGUE
New York designer Daniel Michalik has a specialist interest in overlooked materials and has recently been working on designs made from recycled cork. Cork is considered a sustainable material as it not only doesn’t require pesticides or irrigation, the cork tree is harvested by stripping the bark away. As the tree isn’t chopped down, the tree can stay alive for centuries regenerating bark, which after the first 25 years, is harvested every 9 years. This curvaceous Cortiça Chaise Longue made from recycled cork gently rocks back and forth, creating a floating sensation. It can be made to order here.
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