At September's Casual Market Chicago, trends in outdoor living were on display in collections from about 250 leading manufacturers, who filled more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Merchandise Mart.
A major theme at this year’s event was making outdoor environments as comfortable as those inside, with carefully designed products that encourage consumers to relax and stay a while on the porch or patio. Fire features are an important part of the story. These key trend items are still experiencing double-digit annual growth, according to Agio. The newest applications seen in Chicago go beyond the still wildly popular chat sets (a low fire table surrounded by four comfy chairs) into sectional arrangements, bar-height tables and even updates to dining tables.
Deep-seating, which is becoming a must-have feature for outdoor living, is often used in conjunction with fire. These upholstered pieces offer another important way to increase the comfort.
But what’s comfortable for one person may not be the best choice for someone else. That’s why companies at the Casual Market offered many different types of seating in their newest collections. Rocking, gliding, swiveling, reclining and/or bouncing (at Tropitone, you can even personalize the amount of bounce) were available on chairs with curved high backs (Telescope, Lloyd Flanders), thicker seat cushions (Tropitone added 2” for a 17” height) and motion.
Barcalounger Outdoor Living introduced new motion pieces during the High Point furniture market. Included were several reclining chairs, large swivel rocking lounge chairs, swivel host chairs with an exclusive 360-degree auto-return mechanism and a sofa with left- and right-arm-facing recliners. In Chicago, motion embraced automation at Klaussner Outdoor's Merchandise Mart showroom. This company debuted a reclining mechanism borrowed from hospital beds that can turn a chair into a chaise, or extend a foot rest from a sectional, with the push of a button. Their power motion feature can work for up to 250 cycles, and comes with a rechargeable battery pack.
There were many other outdoor-living trends found at the Casual Market, and you can read about them in the October issue of The Trend Curve. This issue also covers tile trends from Cersaie in Bologna, new colors/materials/motifs from the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris, textiles trends from Modtissimo in Portugal, and the latest from NYNow.
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