As the region’s real estate industry continues to flourish, so does the design sector, led by a number of hospitality developments. Experts largely agree that the standard and quality of design have become better over time. One of the segments that has made a significant improvement is the introduction and availability of outdoor spaces that are an extension of their interiors.
Additionally, communal spaces and public plazas are becoming an integral part of large scale mixed-use developments, which have a strong focus on hospitality, retail and food and beverage establishments. Landscaped boulevards surrounded by water features, native flora and sculptural installations with open air seating are injecting a new energy into these spaces, making them more dynamic and increasing footfall. This approach to human-centric venues is certainly a win-win-win situation for developers, business owners and customers, as it boosts economic gains, too.
However, challenges still remain in terms of having to deal with the harsh climate for the better part of the year. Designers are responding to them with clever use of materials, spatial planning and cooling measures. This also calls for some genuine innovation in product design by way of such items as shading equipment and durable furniture that can withstand high temperatures and humidity levels.
One of the most sought after names in this category is Italian designer Paola Lenti (pictured above and top), whose colourful and innovative fabrics for a complete suite of outdoor products and accessories are not only visually striking, but also long lasting. Spanish manufacturers such as Gandia Blasco and Vondom are increasingly producing some of the most suitable products for the contract sector. The latter among the two names is known for its industry-leading products, which combine material and technology innovation in a functional, yet aesthetic manner. Its Vela daybed (below) by designer Ramon Esteve comes with sun protection and LED lighting, which can seamlessly transition from day to evening ambience.
Outdoor lounging areas are no longer just limited to sun loungers by the pool, but also extend to alfresco seating in restaurants, exterior public plazas in shopping malls. The health benefits of being outdoors are compelling and evidently, there is a strong case for this. Leading design experts such as Rob Shakespeare of Cracknell, Jonathan Ashmore of Anarchitect and Lee Nellis of XBD Architecture say that integrating exteriors into the interior design, vastly enhances the value of a property by giving it an edge on maximising space utilisation, and offering guests a distinct experience.