For some unfathomable reason, summer evenings and Sunday afternoons are prime time for home entertaining, humidity, rain and blazing sun be damned. If you entertain al fresco all the time, chances are high the time has come to get some new outdoor gear, be it due to breakage, wear or being blown away in the last typhoon. An appreciation for outdoor living is on the increase in Hong Kong and the market has become fat with patio gear for every size and budget.
IKEA is the go-to choice for reliable furniture at reasonable prices. You don’t have to feel guilty about IKEA items getting ruined, but you’re also likely to get your money’s worth for several years. This year’s offerings are as varied as expected (furniture, cushions, accessories, flooring, lighting, storage) but among the highlights are the Askholmen table and chair set, made from acrylic-glazed acacia. Care is easy (soap and water will do the trick) and a range of cushions is available for long dinners. For those of us with kids is the Resö children’s picnic table in the same materials. The Resö is one of those public park benches many of us grew up with and which are frequently associated with a good time. For the sun bunnies there are the Brommö and Håmö lounge chairs, which fold away for easy storage, or the adjustable Falster for maximum tanning. Finish the lounging off with the Vindalsö trolley to easily bring food and beverages to you as you follow the sun. Best of all, for budgeters nothing on this list is over $1,300.
At the other end of the spectrum is the latest on the floor of Everything Under the Sun in Horizon Plaza. EUTS’s prices seem steep at first glance, but for serious al frescans and anyone doing serious, permanent remodelling it’s the only way to go. Seating is always key for lounging and Gloster Grid and Tribù’s Tosca are two options with wildly different styles. Gloster’s modular sofa series is typically Scandinavian — Danish to be exact — in that the clean lines and flexible parts (which includes tables) can be configured in nearly any way while still looking fit for indoors. Constructed from aluminium, stone, slatted sustainable teak and waterproof Leisuretex upholstery, no terrace or roof is too odd or too small for Grid. But if you prefer more lazing in your outdoor life, the Tribù is a woven powder coated stainless steel upholstered with a foam mousse. It’s all weather resistant and water repellent and looks exactly like the kind of seating that invites flopping out and never getting up. Finally, cover it all up and keep the blaring sun and rain off the food with Miami-based Tuuci’s Plantation Max dual cantilever parasol. It’s a two-in-one item for maximum coverage and minimum space occupancy, and its unique mast is made of strong, durable aluminium but has a misleading wood finish.
So with a place to sit and something to keep the sun off you, the question remains of what you’re doing out/up there. A barbeque is the logical choice. Australians know a thing or two about grilling, so Patio Mart is importing the new Turbo Series, designed for heat, power, speed and efficiency. The Turbo’s infrared ceramic burners with quartz dome, double-skinned fireboxes and matte enamel over heat-conductive cast iron or stainless steel grills are what set them apart among barbeques. But with the ribs cooking it’s going to get hot out there, so you may want an Idrobase Torre 360 misting unit that also repels mosquitoes, neutralises odours, reduces the temperature by up to 10 degrees for 300 square feet and holds your drinks. The waterproof and UV-resistant base is made of synthetic rattan for added durability.
Finally, you need something to put on the tables and create a little ambience for those lingering evenings so head over to Indigo Living for a range of bright, summery accessories and atmospheric lighting. Of course, Indigo’s Conrad dining chair and replica Saarinen marble dining table are also a good place to start for retro-cool gatherings. But hand made in Italy, a new range of tableware — lunch and dinner plates, serving platters and bowls, jugs mugs and serving accessories — in vibrant yellow, bright green and minty blue will set a casual tone. And a soft, welcoming glow can be had with lanterns and candleholders in brass (a hip metal at the moment), glass and ceramic. As you sit comfortably enjoying a barbeque you might not even notice how much you’re sweating.