Ah, summer. The time to kick back, relax with a good (or trashy) book and sip mint juleps all day long and argue about what exactly the ultimate summer song is — Rihanna’s “Umbrella” or Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing in the Grass.” At least on the weekends. The lucky few among us blessed with a rooftop or terrace do it all year long, but there’s something about summer that’s just so right.
While there’s a valid argument in favour of good old-fashioned, durable plastic out of doors, there’s also a certain logic to putting some effort into it and splurging on a few quality fundamental pieces if you’re planning on making the most of an al fresco space. And not much is more fundamental than dining tables and seating.
A good table can be used for formal dining, buffet-style shindigs and cocktail parties or even as the storage locker for children’s parties. In Hong Kong’s climate, something that’s durable, holds up to the weather and is easily cleaned is crucial. Indigo Living’s Rochelle ($24,900) table is made of stainless steel and brushed oak for a slightly aged colour that can work in a covered outdoor space or, better still, in a room with an indoor/outdoor vibe (broad windows, terrace access). The round café style Saarinen dining table ($16,650) is made from Cararra marble that replicates the 1950s Scandinavian Eero Tulip table with a slender, white-gloss base. It’s ideal for smaller spaces and can also be ordered in oval for odd spaces. The matching the Saarinen swivel side chair ($3,590) or dining chair ($3,890) adds a jolt of colour with red or green felt upholstery.
Over at TREE, its Urban and Vintage outdoor collections are, of course, constructed from recycled teak and stainless steel. The Urban’s slatted tops make for easy drainage, and the bar table ($11,950) is a swanky, lounge-cool alternative to standard table seating. Clearly Scandinavian design never goes out of style, so the eco-shop’s 1950s and ’60s-inspired Vintage line (various items starting at $2,950) is notable for its typically Nordic lines, elegance and efficiency. In seating, the Vintage bench makes for a great lounge setting, but the low-backed Vincent Sheppard Gigi barstool ($7,950) with aluminium legs, fits in with a range of bar tables, not just the ones from TREE.
Finally, for the true iconoclasts out there, Everything Under the Sun has some unique items for those with slightly bigger spaces or rooftops — though that’s not a must. The avant-garde Vondom Wing barstool and table ($3,539; $7,079), manufactured using a rotational molding process from 100 percent recyclable material, is as ideal for extreme climates as it is funky. Spanish architects A-Cero (Vondom regularly taps prominent industrial designers and architects to create lines for it) designed the bold, innovative, sculptural pieces for compatriots Vondom, and succeeded smashingly with its visually forceful furniture. And they’re strangely comfortable. Good thing, because you’re likely to be sitting on them for a long, long time. A julep must be sipped to be enjoyed.