Summer is just around the corner, meaning it’s time to grab a glass of wine, fire up the grill and gather together with friends. If your outdoor space could use a little freshening up, you’d do well to consider Nomad from Gloster, a lightweight, contemporary line that promises to energize any space, from the patio to the rooftop.
Tim Cook, product development manager with Gloster, says that the original goal for Nomad was to create a relaxed seating collection that would reach a younger, more mobile audience—a group the company had overlooked in its previous lines.
“We needed something very different to appeal to our target audience,” he recalls. “This meant creating a shape that was lower, deeper and wider, and that had no ‘correct’ way of being used. We also wanted to break away from the modular system to something more informal that could be used in any setting.”
Cook adds that there was a belief among the design team that the line also needed to appeal to this new audience through the use of shape and color. “We needed to find a way to include fabrics that brought both color and pattern into the mix—something not previously associated with this type of furniture.”
Realizing that a different perspective was needed,
Gloster partnered with Mark Gabbertas, an award-winning designer who has worked on several previous collections for the company, including the Cloud outdoor lounge line. And so the design team went to work, beginning with the same type of construction that had worked so well on Cloud. At the end of the first sampling process, however, it became apparent that another approach was necessary.
“We had a piece of furniture that was too heavy, too expensive and that would not allow us to use the softer and more colorful fabrics that we required,” Cook says. “The team eventually settled on a lightweight aluminum frame that would be covered with a sling. This gave us the desired weight, quick-drying performance and a good price point.”
Nomad’s frames are constructed from tubular aluminum, with a sling cover over that. Where needed, there are two layers of sling to provide extra strength and support. The standard covers
in the line are crafted from two materials: Sunbrella acrylics for the plain fabrics and Italian-manufactured polypropylene from Enzo degli Angiuoni for the three brightly colored stripe fabrics. As the covers are manufactured in Gloster’s own facility in South Boston, any of Gloster’s existing fabric offerings, as well as customers’ own materials, can also be used.
All of the covers are filled with a layer of polyester fiber and then quilted to give them a softer visual appearance. They are washable, water resistant and easy to replace.
For Gabbertas, the refinement of the sling covers proved to be a pivotal point in the design process.
“We wanted to create a collection that would meet the rigorous demands of continuous outdoor use while also having a very relaxed aesthetic,” he says. “The cover can be removed and washed or stored for the winter to address issues of wear and cleanability. This allowed us to use ‘alternative’ fabrics that have high performance values that are available in more interesting patterns and softer weaves. This approach was a breakthrough for us.”
“As a designer, if you ask yourself the right questions, you are halfway to finding the answer,” he adds.
The form and construction of the other pieces in the Nomad line were refined after the overall logic of the system was finalized. “The seat had to have enough presence through its size and scale to be used individually, while also having a natural visual rhythm when used with other units,” Gabbertas notes. “Details like the gentle angle and radii variations were used to create a compelling profile. One of the defining characteristics of Nomad is its flexibility, such as keeping the seat separate from the ottoman function. The weight allows one person to easily move a piece on their own—hence the name.”
The finished collection includes the seating unit, an ottoman, a coffee table, a side table and a tray. The range of fabrics affords myriad design opportunities by combining various colors and striped patterns.
“I believe that we have found a whole new way of designing and thinking about outdoor furniture,” Gabbertas says. “Rather than trying to design bomb-proof structures, we took a lateral approach that gave us much more freedom of expression through fabric pattern, feel and texture. We are acutely aware of the power of furniture to affect and influence the way people feel and behave. This collection, I believe, is a great example of that belief.”
For more information on Nomad, visit www.glosterfurniture.com.
Janet Wiens is a freelance writer based in Memphis, Tenn. Formerly a marketing manager for HNTB, she now works with industry clients to address their marketing and public relations needs. She can be reached at email@example.com.