MOLTENI&Cby Julie Klein
Since 2020, the outdoor furniture market has been expanding at an annual rate of over five percent. So it was only a matter of time before Molteni&C, on of the foremost design brands “Made in Italy,” joined the al fresco fray. “We took a little longer than others because we wanted to get it absolutely right,” says Giulia Molteni, CMO of the family-run company. Under the leadership of Molteni's creative director, Vincent Van Duysen, who recently remodeled the firm's HQ north of Milan, the nearly 90-year-old Italian house is presenting four new collections plus standalone furnishings and textiles for all-weather use.
Under the monikers Helios, Landmark, Heritage, and Timeout, Molteni's 25-piece outdoor product line includes everything from woven baskets and rugs to a kitchen platform, all made using replaceable, recycled, and recyclable materials, including repurposed glass from TVs and computer monitors. In addition to brand-new designs by Van Duysen, Nicola Gallizia, and Marta Ferri, there are key pieces from Molteni's existing collection that have been adapted for outdoor use. Among them are the Arc table by Foster + Partners (the outdoor version is all in cement), Ron Gilad's Panna Cotta side tables (with lava-stone details), and a re-edition of the 1994 Palinfrasca sofa by Luca Meda in teak and polyurethane.
The real showboats are re-releases of two pieces by the über-father of Milanese design, Gio Ponti: the D.154.2 chair, conceived in the 1950s for the Villa Planchart in Caracas, now with added durability thanks to a new polyurethane-resin skin; and the D.150.5 chaise longue, designed in 1952 for the sundeck of the Andrea Doria, the tragically glamorous transatlantic ocean liner that Ponti fitted out from bow to stern. “There's a good balance in the collection,” says Van Duysen. “Some pieces are very comfortable, others more sculptural and edgy, with greater personality. I call it a controlled eclecticism.”