There is a wide breadth of research that highlights the importance of a natural environment for the productivity, health, and well-being of a workforce. David Howell in his report ‘Inside Out’, explains how Facilities Managers should incorporate any available outdoor space when planning office environments dedicated to workforce wellbeing, and not just focus on the indoors. In a research report by the UCL Department of Geography, Dr. Russell Hitchings found that it is key to highlight the crucial link between outdoor spaces and ‘getting things done’ in the workplace. One of the crucial elements for a successful outdoor space is the provision of adequate and supportive furniture. When it comes to selecting highly functioning, robust and modern outdoor furniture, there is one particular designer who stands out for a keen eye and expertise on outdoor furniture design. Here, we explore a number of key furniture products from Flemish designer Dirk Wynants that are now available through Spaceist.
With a family background in cabinet making, Dirk Wynants was from the outset exposed to the way furniture making its application in interior settings. Going on to study interior and furniture design at Saint-Lucas, Ghent Institute for Architecture, he developed his first versatile furniture product in 1994. This first round table presented a unique combination of built-in seats that were full adjustable. This table, which is still in production is the Gargantua picnic table.
Taking the idea of a simple picnic table, Wynants adds a superior level of functionality to it with a table and bench combination that allows a wide range of applications and uses. The Gargantua table remains modest in form; the base frame is made from a robust steel combined with hardwood seats and table top surface. The steel frame, seen here in galvanised steel, offers substantial protection against weathering or rust.
The key factor that really makes the Gargantua stand out is the adjustable function of the bench seats. Attached centrally to the base, each of the seats can be adjusted to various heights, up the table top height for an extended table surface or to create a larger table, with chairs. The versatility of the Gargantua table allows application in spaces that requires a robust outdoor option, especially for public spaces and large workplace environments.
Further to the Gargantua picnic table, Wynants presents the hoop bench table. The inspiration is obvious; the classic picnic bench, but bought to touch through innovative design. Wynant’s saw that although the classic form worked well, it presented a challenge when moving in and out of the seat. To counter this, the table and benches have been made from a single metal sheet, folded with a downwards shape creating a pass-gaps for easy access, so users do not have to lift a leg to take a seat.
The main frame is constructed from galvanised steel and finished with hardwood table top and bench top surfaces. Both are resilient against extreme weather and so the Hoop is highly suitable for outdoor areas. For additional support, a durable polyester shade accompanies the Hoop picnic bench. A smart spring mechanism allows for easy opening and closing, whilst a tilting mechanism on the base of the shade means it can be adjusted in the required direction.