European Furniture: What Makes It Special25.05.21
There is something about European furniture design that captures the world over. Cosh Living was established in 2008 by Colin Kupke and Shane Sinnott, out of a love for the outdoor furniture styles coming out of Europe, and a desire to bring them to the Australian market.
At Cosh, we now represent designer outdoor furniture brands from across Europe - Dedon from Germany, Tribu, Manutti, Atelier Vierkant and Jardinico from Belgium, as well as luxurious indoor furniture brands Potocco and Lapalma from Italy.
CJ Cornish on our team at Cosh Living spoke with Carroll Baker for Grand Designs Magazine to chat about European style furniture, and what makes it so special.
The Anfora dining table and Velis tub armchairs by Potocco.
CJ, what sets European style furniture apart?
European style furniture is all about everyday luxury. The core philosophies that guide European design are a focus on rich materiality and quality craftsmanship. Furniture is designed to be impossibly beautiful, intended to be used every day and made to be passed down from generation to generation.
As a result of this ethos, the materials are strong and the overall design is timeless. Forget fancy sitting rooms that are intended for special guests only – the European attitude dictates that luxury should be enjoyed wholly and often.
When it comes to European style furniture – signs of life and age are deeply treasured. In an Australian or American home, we seal our marble – protecting it from red wine and balsamic vinegar. The Italians? They don’t like sealing marble, preferring to keep it in its natural state which is considered much more beautiful. A wine spill and balsamic splash is just a memory of a great party, and amplifies the history and beauty of the piece. European furniture also celebrates natural leathers, because the patina – the marks, softness and creases - that leather gets over time is only going to make the piece more special.
What we often see in European style homes is a base that utilises a neutral colour palette. Think natural tones - beiges, whites, charcoals, soft greys, browns. This creates the perfect foundation for layering furniture with accents of stone, marble, solid timber, sumptuous leather, brushed brass, linen and a touch of warm, seasonal colour. The overall feeling is rich in texture and materiality, but restrained (so as not to be too over-the-top!).
What are some of the new and emerging looks in European furniture?
Nodi outdoor sofa and teak Dunes outdoor side table by Tribu.
Teak outdoor furniture was and is always popular in Europe, but what we are seeing emerge is a celebration of the ‘weave’. With new technologies evolving, there is an amazing array of woven furniture that is built to withstand the elements. Collections utilising strands of recycled plastics that are soft to touch, weaves that resemble wicker, weaves that can be melted down and reused endlessly - the Europeans are using the latest technology and engineering to reinvent outdoor silhouettes. Combining their history of making by hand, knowledge of cushioning and these new weaving techniques – there are so many exciting new products on the market!
Elio outdoor chairs and Illum teak dining table by Tribu.
A version of this story appeared in Grand Designs magazine, issue 9.5. Browse the latest design news and stories from Grand Designs here.