Buying outdoor furniture, especially in New Zealand where the climate is harsh and the sun severe, can be difficult.
Design Concepts was established in 2015 to fill the gap the outdoor furniture market between chain stores selling “throwaway” items (designed for the moment but don’t last) and expensive, high-end design stores.
Design Concepts’ founder Richard Lee says, “Our aim from the outset was to curate collections of beautiful outdoor furniture for all New Zealanders – providing high quality furniture that rivals the design stores’, but without the price tag. While quality does cost more, it doesn’t need to be out of reach. Our offering is specifically designed to provide premium furniture built and designed to last in New Zealand conditions, without the price tag.”
He says there are a few key things to look out for when designing your outdoor space, and these all relate to quality and finish of the materials. While it’s easy to be swayed by a low price tag, purchasing cheap furniture manufactured and designed overseas in less than satisfactory conditions isn’t generally going to be fit for purpose. While it may look great for a few months, chances are those lovely cushions will fade in just one season, and the framing will degrade to the point where it ends up in landfill, he says.
Design Concepts is run by a Kiwi family, he adds. “We are proud of our brand and collections. We design and supply the best furniture and accessories for local outdoor spaces. Our collections represent quality pieces that will last, made with premium materials, while maintaining design superiority.”
He offers some tips on buying outdoor furniture that will last – and suit your situation:
The first step to creating a stunning alfresco area is logistics: what will fit, in what configuration. Then it’s time to decide the style of furniture and settings. From here, Richard breaks decisions down into the Three Fs (Frame, Fabric and Foam), each of which is critical to ensuring you buy pieces that are fit for purpose.
Outdoor furniture framing should be able to withstand all the elements. To this end, Design Concepts’ furniture is crafted with the highest quality materials guaranteed to last in the outdoors year-round and for years into the future.
Aluminium is one of the best materials for outdoor use due to its durability. It stands the test of time and will not rust. Design Concepts also uses marine-grade stainless steel in some of its framing. Some cheaper stainless grades rust over time. The best way to tell if you are buying quality stainless furniture is to hold a magnet to it. It should not stick. If it does, steer clear as this indicates a low-grade material.
Wood is another component of Design Concepts’ collections. Hardwood is always the preference for quality outdoor furniture as it is unlikely to warp over time. Outdoor furniture is commonly made with hardwoods including kwila, jarrah and rosewood, but teak is far superior to these, and is one of Design Concepts’ mainstays. Teak has minimal movement and thrives in harsh climatic conditions, easily withstanding year upon year of continued exposure to the elements.
There are countless inexpensive fabric options. Generally, it’s only once the fabric has been purchased and spent a month or two outside that it becomes obvious whether it is quality or not. That’s where knowing the best brands is important. In New Zealand those brands are Sunbrella and Sunproof, which Design Concepts uses for all its collections. Both these fabrics are guaranteed for a minimum of five years in New Zealand against any fading, but generally will last in top condition for much longer.
It’s often easy to be swayed by the low price tag of regular foam, but this is not fit for purpose outdoors. Quick dry foam, which is used in all Design Concepts’ pieces, provides the same level of comfort but will not hold water. After a heavy downpour, the cushions can be dry enough to sit on after as little as 15 minutes.
Design Concepts are the experts in quality outdoor furniture. Richard and his team will help you set your outdoor spaces apart, ensuring the furniture looks amazing for years to come.
Design Concepts, 18 Barrys Point Rd, Takapuna 0800 4688 366
Open seven days 10am-4pm