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Best of the Best 2008: Decor: Outdoor Furniture: Sutherland by Starck

Samantha Brooks

"There’s nothing I hate more than a gorgeous country home with a beautiful yard that someone has ruined with plastic furniture," says renowned designer Philippe Starck. "It should look organic, like it belongs in nature." That Starck—known for creating shockingly minimal, avant-garde interiors that border on the surreal—would offer a debut line of outdoor furniture specifically designed to work in concert with nature might come as a surprise to those who have followed his work. But that is what he has done, in conjunction with Texas-based outdoor-furniture company Sutherland. The partnership’s 26-piece renewable-teak-and-polished-aluminum collection, called Sutherland by Starck RobinWood Deluxe, includes such staples as chairs, tables, and chaise longues, as well as standouts like the Loxley Bed, the Sherwood Corner Bed, and the Sherwood Daybed, each of which is designed for afternoons spent in repose. "The beds are my favorite—I’m old enough to know that it’s useless to sit when you can lie down," jokes Starck. Accessories and additional pieces of furniture are forthcoming and ultimately will complete a comprehensive 55-?piece collection.

While Starck designed each piece to make a sophisticated statement beyond pure form, he also was meticulously considerate of function. For example, the chairs are quite comfortable, yet they also stack tightly for convenient storage. Starck says that during his 20 years as a designer, he has refined this marriage of form and function to an exact science. Now, as his career enters its third decade, he adds environmental concerns to this science, embracing both designs and materials that will last for years to come. "Recycling isn’t always the best solution for the environment," Starck says. "The most ecological thing to do is design something timeless that you’ll be able to use forever."

Sutherland, 800.717.8325, www.sutherlandteak.com

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