With designs ranging from 19th century inspired bistro chairs to modern-minimalist benches, tables and more, Fermob has been brightening up our outdoor lives with exclusive shapes, original designs and a rainbow of colors for more than 50 years. Based in Thoissey, France—a picturesque community that dates back more than 1,000 years—the manufacturer isn’t just about creating furniture designed to tempt you come outside and play; they’re also committed to respecting and preserving the environment. This is why Fermob only uses recycled and recyclable materials, including metals, fabric and wood along with eco-friendly powder paints, in a manner that strives for zero-waste from production throughout the entire life of the product. And in keeping with its green ethos, Fermob collaborates exclusively with innovative designers whose work balances elevated aesthetics with the company’s environmental objectives.
Of course, we’re always curious to know more about the designers behind the collections—ranging from rising stars like Sakura Adachi to iconic industry leaders such as Terence Conran. Hailing everywhere from Tokyo to Paris to London, the similarities in their passions and pursuits area as intriguing as their differences: several of the designers studied at the École Boulle and/or the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD). Others transcend all perceived barriers between art, design and commerce with parallel careers as sculptors, researchers, lecturers or international retailers. And every designer in the group furthers the Fermob objective of creating lightweight, easy-to-store, beautifully designed outdoor furniture that advances new concepts in form and functionality.
Without further ado, meet the designers:
The work of self-taught designer and artist Frédéric Sofia traverses myriad creative disciplines, cultures and technologies, and his background is equally diverse. He was born in Lyon in 1967; he’s a mechanical engineering graduate with a degree in marketing; and he founded a self-publishing company, Wombat, in 1994. He’s been working as an independent designer since 2000. He collaborated with Fermob on the Luxembourg collection in 2004, reinventing the classic chairs that have populated the famous Paris gardens since 1923. His 2010 design for Fermob’s Sixties armchair—composed of curvy aluminum tubing and cross-woven high-tech resin—received the VIA Label. His success as an industrial designer is matched by critical acclaim as an artist, and his 2007 Domestic series of colorful masks juxtaposing pop and tribal motifs (created in collaboration with Catherine Sofia) has been exhibited in galleries worldwide.
As an artist who ranks form and function over profits, Pascal Mourgue’s industrial design products reflect his commitment to modernity and simplicity. A graduate of both the École Boulle and ENSAD, he began translating his affinity for sculpture into furniture design in 1962 while also working as an artist. His Lune d’Argent outdoor armchair won a competition at the Fondation Cartier in 1985. The chair went on to grace the foundation’s Petit Café and Fermob added it to its catalog (selling more than 30,000 units from 1986-1998). Additional Fermob include Plein Air, flat-out fabulous chairs and tables composed of metal tubing and Outdoor Technical Fabric (OTF) that fold away with ease; Rendez-vous, a neo-romantic collection with airy perforations; and Dune, elegant, ergonomic lacquered steel folding furniture that’s been a bestseller for more than 10 years.
As one of the world’s most celebrated architects, designers, restaurateurs, retailers, authors and supporters of design education—Terence Conran has been an aesthetic powerhouse and arbiter of taste for nearly 50 years. Born in 1931, he quite literally became a household name in the 1960s and 1970s with the Habitat chain of home furnishings stores, which revolutionized the industry by bringing intelligent, modern design to the general populace. As chairman of Conran Group, he owns a worldwide collection of restaurants, shops and hotels while leading a thriving architecture and design practice. As a furniture creator and producer—and aficionado of the garden—he lends his artistic sensibilities to Fermob with the Kintbury collection, launched in spring 2014. Defined by elegant curves and geometric wirework, it captures the dreamy, relaxing spirit of the traditional English garden.
Sakura Adachi is a rising industrial designer whose work is characterized by a solid combination of concept, craftsmanship and the capacity to surprise. She was born in Japan in 1977, graduated from Musashino Art University in Industrial & Craft Design and completed her MA in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London. In 2004, she settled in Milan and began collaborating with top design studios, and in 2008, she launched her own. Her numerous accolades include recognition from the Promosedia International Design Competition Caiazza Memorial Challenge, the Red Dot Design Awards and ArtZept. She partnered with Fermob and, in 2013, she designed one of her most innovative pieces: the Osmose, a colorful sunlounger/bed/hammock that rocks when you’re using it and folds up when you’re not.
Harald and Heike Guggenbichler are the complementary forces behind guggenbichlerdesign. Australian-born Harald is designer and master craftsman who specializes in furniture and everyday objects. Heike studied marketing and advertising at the University of Vienna and now develops and promotes their Austria-based agency. Together, they provide a poetic and pragmatic foundation for creating products characterized by elegance, ease and enduring quality. In the spring of 2014, Harald partnered with Fermob in launching two outdoor furniture collections, including Surprising, a classic slatted design updated with unexpectedly comfortable curves, and Flower, neo-romantic family that includes an armchair with a joyous perforated floral pattern on the seat.
An expression that means “excessively” in Spanish, Delo Lindo is also the name of an innovative company founded in 1985 by two designers with a disproportionate amount in common: Fabien Cagani and Laurent Matras were both born in 1961; both studied interior design at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; plus, they’re both passionate about teaching and research. Over the years they’ve partnered on projects for venerable institutions such as the Orchestre National d'Île-de-France and the French National Monuments; their work has been collected by the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris and the Pompidou Centre; and they regularly show in galleries in France and abroad. Cagani and Matras teamed up with Fermob in 2009 to create Tablabri, an outdoor table with a removable canvas shade—an ingeniously practical design that feels as playful as a backyard treehouse.
Originally trained as a cabinetmaker, Juliette Liberman has accumulated diverse woodworking experience in far-flung locales, ranging from Burkina Faso to Ireland. She earned a professional baccalaureate in cabinetmaking in 2000, and subsequently studied at the École Boulle and ENSAD. For her final graduation piece in 2004, she created the prototype of her noteworthy Charivari outdoor bench, employing the same woodworking and steam-bending techniques traditionally used in shipbuilding. In a later collaboration with Fermob, she recreated the effect of Charivari’s wooden ribs with curved aluminum slats, maintaining the design’s original spirit while creating a light appearance.
For nearly 35 years, Patrick Pagnon and Claude Pelhaître have been partners in Pagnon & Pelhaître Design, specializing in furniture and architecture. Both attended ENSAD; after completing their studies, each worked with numerous architectural agencies—including those of the Quebec-based legend Michel Boyer (Pagnon) and the iconic J.A. Motte (Pelhaître). Pagnon and Pelhaître design everything from factories, shops and restaurants to chairs, tables and other furniture while collaborating with a variety of top international brands. The designers launched their first Fermob collection in 2014: Bellevie, a streamlined, lightweight and colorful outdoor furniture that embodies their ethos of innovative, timeless products.
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