The new frontiers in outdoor design

between innovation and sustainability

Increasingly perceptible climate changes which have diminished the differences between the seasons together with new demands for increased relaxation spaces in urban settings have resulted in external domestic elements  becoming ever more significant.

As a result the conceptual difference between indoor and outdoor spaces has become noticeably less obvious and has acquired a dimension that can be defined as “open door” in which the areas outside the house  can be considered an extension of the interior spaces and which can also be used all year round.

The key words marking these developments are creativity but above all innovation and sustainability.

Thanks to specific technical equipment and materials, it is now possible to recreate the perfect multi-purpose multi-use space, increasingly focused on establishing a link with nature while encouraging conviviality.
As a result, technology increasingly embraces the natural character of the solutions on offer and verandas are therefore among the leading components of this trend with glass as a key material in the promotion of sight and light.

The possibility of sealing rooms with windows or glazed elements allows the creation of spaces that can function as a thermal buffer zone for the home, a heat exchanger that disperses or retains heat depending on the outside temperature. This dynamic is a feature of the quality of the glass itself.

A particularly interesting technological development for verandas or "winter gardens" is represented by bioclimatic pergolas. These are structures created using mainly modular and adjustable motorized aluminium slats, remotely controlled and able to create comfortable shaded areas but at the same time optimizing  the resulting microclimate and also managing air circulation.

The slats can be resistant to water or other atmospheric agents such as snow.

The insulating layer on the inner section of the slats also allows a high level of soundproofing.

These bioclimatic pergolas are also accompanied by a rainwater collection system which conducts rain to the ground through the legs in order to keep the underlying environment dry and protected, and of course guaranteeing perfect drainage of the rainwater itself.

This move towards transforming outdoor areas into real living spaces, both covered and open air, sees the involvement of a variety of materials including metal, concrete and different varieties of wood, in particular teak and iroko.

Proof of the growing importance of outdoor spaces is the fact that big names in international architecture  such as Massimiliano Fuksas and Antonio Citterio have recently been involved in design projects in this area. Fuksas has designed simple, essential, almost primitive forms, created as if using Lego and produced using the most common form of wood in the shape of stave, and assembled to create seats, tables and sofas. Citterio on the other hand has studied furniture accessory design in great detail, bringing out all those qualities that have always distinguished products designed for indoor use such as technological innovation, ergonomic and formal research, quality and comfort.

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Finally, among these new trends it should be noted that outdoor design affects not just the private sphere but also the public sector, particularly in terms of spaces that are opened up to sharing.
There are a number of examples that testify to the fact that outdoor spaces are increasingly designed to promote interaction, comparison and dialogue. This is the case with Monash University in Melbourne where outdoor spaces redesigned by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) have replaced an old car parking area with terraces, works of art and benches and as has happened in Anglo-Saxon universities, outdoor equipment has gone from promoting peace and quiet and meditation to immersing us in the dynamism of modernity.