DESIGN CONCEPTS

Design Concepts was formed because there seemed to be a large disconnect between the major hardware stores often selling cheap junk, and the amazingly expensive so called design stores in Parnell, and we wanted to fit in that gap somewhere in the middle, but to offer the same quality as the expensive stuff, but at a price that is more affordable to put it mildly.

Quality naturally does cost more, but not huge amounts more.

We also aim to be very ethical and sustainable about the way we conduct business, and have put a lot of thought into the furniture and products we sell, rather than just selling products. By selling a quality well made item, with materials that will last, it means the furniture will be around for many years to come, and will not be in the landfill in a year or so. Even all packaging is fully recyclable. This is surely better for all. We also have ensured the manufacturers we use are ethical, pay staff well and we can guarantee that all teak is sustainably forested, from government controlled plantations.

All of our furniture has quick dry foam with Sunbrella fabric as standard,

allof which is guaranteed 5 years minimum, worth its weight in gold in New Zealand outdoors. And then there is the design. Simple, contemporary and modern, and either designed in-house, or from our suppliers design teams, and manufactured by craftsmen, not sweatshops.

We also don’t stop at furniture, and have tried to create an amazing range of great quality Outdoor products such as the Umbrosa Belgium umbrella range, infra red heaters, but again to cheap chinese junk infra red heaters, beautiful fire pits that burn bio fuel so can even go in the lounge area in winter! And we are the first in Australasia to have an Eames replica designed for complete outdoor use! Has to be seen to be appreciated.

We are a small bunch that are happy to go above and beyond, and get a great kick out of seeing a bland deck, or new pool area, transformed into a beautiful space with our products.

We have also named all furniture pieces after New Zealand place names, as we live in a beautiful country, so why call it anything but beautiful places around our great country.

BUYING FURNITURE

Whether its our furniture, or any outdoor furniture you’re looking at, let us help to educate you to become more of an informed knowledgeable shopper, rather than just someone with a vague idea of the area you want to furnish.

Firstly, outdoor furniture has a much harder life than indoor furniture, so if you want it to last more than one summer, then quality of materials is key. Of course design and what looks nice is also important, as is size of furniture and it suiting the space, but if it looks great but is made of rubbish material, then it will just be landfill in a years time. I have literally had people tell me they have turfed furniture after a short time as the frame may be ok, but the cushions were mouldy or took days to dry and ended up looking awful after one season. Don’t fall into that trap.

Anyway, once you’ve worked out the size of your space, and the desired configuration such as corner suite, or sofas, dining table etc, then we break it down to three Fs.

Frame

  • All outdoor furniture frames should be able to withstand all elements of being outdoor. What we have done, is looked at the marine industry, and what materials they use, then worked from there. Materials like
    – Aluminium, as aluminium will not rust. Just think of your aluminium window joinery, chances are its a few years old and is still in perfect order.
  • Aluminium, as aluminium will not rust. Just think of your aluminium window joinery, chances are its a few years old and is still in perfect order.
  • Stainless steel, but only go for 304 grade, or preferably 316 Marine grade. They aren’t just numbers, but cheap grades of stainless will rust. The easiest way to tell, is to hold a magnet to the frame, and it should not stick! If it does, stay clear.
  • Wood. Obviously not all grades or species of timber is suitable for outdoor furniture. Wood does move, so the built in bench seats made of pine will not stay straight forever, even if tanalised. Ideally go for a hardwood if looking for furniture that will last. Hardwood moves much less in the weather, sun or rain. Hardwoods like Kwila, Jarrah, Rosewood are common, but Teak is superior to all hardwoods when living outdoors forever. It has the best properties for furniture such as non bleed, or minimal movement.

Fabric

If you are choosing an outdoor dining setting or sofa that has fabric, then you know how harsh New Zealands sun is, so choosing the right fabric is crucial. As a retailer, it is a very easy way to save money, by selecting a cheap Chinese or Taiwanese fabric, and to the average consumer, you will have no idea, until the black cushions are grey after only a few months. Two brands you should become familiar with, is Sunbrella, and Sunproof.

Quite simply, both of these brands fabrics are guaranteed even in NZ for 5 years against fade. Anything less, and you will be replacing it all sooner than you hope. It is easy for a store to mention these names, but get them to show proof like Sunbrella labels or maybe a fabric swatch with the brand name on.

Foam

This is another very critical one, but very easy for you to remember. If its not ‘quick dry foam’, then get used to sodden pants! We have all done it, sat down on an outdoor cushion and just feel the moisture seeping through. Its a very uncomfortable feeling. Again, a huge cost saving in choosing standard high density foam, but that is the same foam you have in foam squab mattresses, or if you have some foam to wash the car with, it works great at holding water to wash the car, but why would you put that in outdoor furniture! Because its cheap. Quick dry foam is an open almost honey comb looking foam, that still gives comfort and bounce, but will not hold water. I have had a chair outside the shop and it has been raining, then the rain stopped while I was talking to a customer inside, and I was explaining about the benefits of quick dry foam, and told him to go and sit on the chair outside and I could guarantee he would not be wet. He made a bet with me, that if he did not get wet pants, he would buy the sofa. It was an easy sale. Quick dry foam is worth its weight in gold, and has revolutionised outdoor furniture, and it also means you don’t need to take the cushions inside and find space for them when not in use. They should be left on the furniture all the time. We offer free protective covers for most items (excluding teak) but that is more to keep the cushions clean from overhead birds or general dust and pollen, than to keep the cushions dry. Outdoor furniture should be comfortable, but good quality furniture will feel slightly firmer than indoor sofas. If the cushions feel soft, then chances are it is cheap foam. We can show you the difference of quick dry vs normal foam in the shop when you pop in.

Summary

Shopping for outdoor furniture can be difficult as there is a vast range of prices, and how do you know you are getting the best value for money. Price doesn’t necessarily mean quality however. I have seen some eye waveringly expensive outdoor furniture that is arguably no better quality than any of what we sell. It is much easier to sell cheap rubbish than it is to sell quality products, but buying quality is buying an investment that will mean spending more now, but will save you more in the long run. We would also suggest you shop at a smaller business who can take the time to explain about the products, and give you the service you deserve, rather than a large department or hardware store that are just selling outdoor furniture as a summer product to make quick cash. There is more to furniture than meets the eye, so let us help you make that outdoor space look amazing, and look amazing it shall for many years to follow.