i+D - July/August 2021 - 32

Outside Is the New Inside - By Jesse Bratter
Outdoor furnishings
from Danao intend to create
a connection to nature.
(Image: Courtesy of Danao)
Los Angeles-based interior designer Lori Dennis knows a
little something about creating outdoor spaces that are truly
lived in. In fact, she says, her clients come to her specifically
because of her knack for designing interiors and exteriors that
flow together and with the landscape. Comfortable, well-made
furniture that withstands California's brutal year-round sun,
custom seating built into hardscaped walls, edible gardens, and
water features that enliven the space and nourish visiting birds
and squirrels are all signature design strategies for Dennis.
" Any feature we include is intentional and has purpose, " she
says. " If shade is needed or vines like grapes or passion fruit
need to grow, a pergola will be introduced. We work from
necessity and try to keep it simple, especially outdoors. "
Dennis' green design philosophy finds a kinship with
restaurants and hotels that have taken up residence in urban
environments and used their built structures in concert with
nature. " RH flagship stores have done such a great job of
creating outdoor oasis scenes in the city, " she points out as
an example, while noting Venice, California-based hospitality
concept Plant Food + Wine as another: " You're eating under
blossoming fig and orange trees, like the garden of Eden. "
You could say that mantra of working from necessity and
keeping it simple is part of her sustainable approach to design.
" Just being outside, even sitting on a blanket in your yard, is
the epitome of green living. You're getting fresh air, natural
light, using little if any grid energy, " she says. " The earth has
bountiful energy where if you place your feet or spine on it,
it literally feels like you're recharging. "
She keeps the outdoor spaces clutter free, feeling fresh,
and easy to clean, and you can bet there's always places for
relaxation-a hallmark of any good getaway. Sourcing FSCcertified
wood products and recycled metals or plastic materials
helps to maintain an eco-friendly quality, but, " if you're
surrounded by an edible garden and solar lighting for when it's
dark, " she adds, " you're really exercising sustainability in its
highest form. "
32
In Bali, the sovereignty of nature is such a strong concept that a
trip to the region 20 years ago influenced Larry Serge to create
luxury outdoor furnishings brand Danao with a similar ethos.
" Nature is integrated into every aspect of life [in Bali], and that
type of lifestyle where you're truly embracing the beauty of
the outdoors really resonated with me, so I wanted to bring
this concept to North America, " says Danao's founder and
CEO. " All of our products are designed in collaboration with
world-renowned designers, and we look for partners who aren't
afraid to push boundaries and explore creative structures and
materials-but always with an understanding that our pieces
are created to supplement and embrace nature. "
Focusing at first on hospitality spaces (a lesson in withstanding
heavy traffic and enduring the elements), Serge finds today that
most residential clients come to Danao in search of ways to
bring home the ambience they often find at a resort. " When it
comes to creating an oasis in your own backyard, homeowners
want to invest in furniture that's not only beautiful but also
durable, functional, and, above all, comfortable, " he says.
i+D - July/August 2021

i+D - July/August 2021

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