Outdoor Furnishings

FIVE MINUTES WITH: Robert Polacek, Puccini Group

Space for a patio has become a big site-selection criterion for restaurants — and with good reason. They’re an absolute win-win: Guests adore wining and dining al fresco, and operators love the additional revenue opportunities that outdoor spaces provide. Robert Polacek, chief creative officer at San Francisco-based Puccini Group, says that while ground-level patios are terrific if space allows, many clients are looking up to create signature rooftop dining spaces. Many of the same design and furnishing challenges apply to both ground-level and rooftop spaces, but the latter have a few unique considerations to keep in mind.

1Design challenges outside?

RP: Inside, you have four walls, a ceiling and a floor. There’s a certain amount of furniture and design that’s needed to make that space feel like it’s something. But outside — on rooftops, in particular — you don’t necessarily have that. So how do you arrange furniture in ways to make it feel like it’s an actual space that you want to be a part of? To that point, we also often see outdoor spaces — again, rooftops especially — with virtually no decor at all. Artwork such as sculptures and an abundance of potted plants can help to anchor the space and provide a natural softness.

Ground-floor patio versus rooftop furnishings?

RP: Furnishings that work well on traditional patios may or may not work in a rooftop dining space. Wind is the biggest consideration, but the elements in general hit harder up on a roof. You really need to understand what it’s like on your roof on a day-to-day basis and ensure that the furniture is heavy enough to withstand the wind but not too heavy so it’s cumbersome. We were working on a rooftop in Chicago, and we actually hired a wind expert to come in and tell us exactly what we’d be working with. God forbid we put chairs up there and they blow off a 20-story building!

Exciting new product trends?

RP: There’s a big focus on quality woven and upholstered outdoor pieces. And we’re seeing retro-inspired furniture coming back, such as rattan and mosaic tabletops and bar tops, but made with modern materials that are lighter and can withstand the elements. Bringing the indoors out is a big trend, i.e., playing up side tables with heavy decorative things and using a lot of ceramics or outdoor pillows for color and texture. Anything that you’d experience in an indoor living room, we’re seeing being recreated to produce that same feel outside.

Polacek’s Five Quick Tips for Maximizing Guest Comfort Outside

  • Invest in high-quality, comfortable furniture that’s specifically designed for outdoor use.
  • Master the weather by providing 
    sufficient structure, shade, heating and storage.
  • Make sure staff has easy but out-of-sight access to garbage, supplies, ice, etc.
  • Use sufficient and creative lighting to enhance the space at night.
  • Stay connected. Provide power, Wi-Fi, etc. — all of the things that people expect inside should be provided outside as well.

ard outdoor harbourdiningcollection

Graceful Outdoor Dining Collection

The graceful curves of the Harbour Dining Collection create a pleasing aesthetic that is as comfortable indoors as out. The chair is constructed of kiln-dried, plantation-grown teak from Java with a round driftwood weave of HDPE resin wicker and comes with a Sunbrella fabric covered cushion. Impervious to the elements, the Werzalit tabletop is paired with a cast aluminum base.

ARD Outdoor

outdoor greatroom use this one as primary

Patio Fire Intrigue

The Intrigue Table Top Venturi provides an innovative, swirling flame that adds ambience to outdoor dining environments. Easily installed with a spring-loaded connection lock, it’s designed to fit on any table with an umbrella hole (1¾ to 4 inches). The unit’s 10-inch turbo disc base has a dora brown powder-coated finish and is topped with a 9-inch-tall glass cylinder. The Intrigue is a commercial-grade product that operates on a 1-pound LP tank for up to six hours. It is UL listed for safety.

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company

ir energy luxury outdoor tube

Versatile Outdoor Heaters

Expand your revenue-generating potential by providing efficient, reliable, comfortable heat to outdoor dining spaces. IR Energy designs and manufactures a variety of outdoor heating products, including the evenTUBE Collection of luxury patio heaters. With a sleek design and modern craftsmanship, these heaters are wind-resistant up to 12 mph. The heaters are available in either 9- or 15-foot lengths and are effective for ceiling heights from 9 to 16 feet. Both indoor and outdoor applications are available.

IR Energy Inc.

emuamericas dockcollection

Flexible, Stylish Collection

The Dock Collection from Emu is made up of aluminum frames and modular cushions that allow you to personalize any setting. Lounge chairs and sofas of various lengths and heights are just a few of the stylish elements that Dock lets you create. This highly flexible collection is made complete with an assortment of glass-top coffee tables in various shapes and sizes.

Emuamericas LLC

fermob luxembourg

Lightweight, Stackable Collection

Restaurants use Fermob’s Luxembourg collection for lightweight, stackable, noise-reduced seating and contract-quality tables that endure the test of time. The Luxembourg collection has distinctive lines and forms, combining the lightness and resistance of aluminum, the comfort of curved seat slats, and the practicality of a stackable frame.

Fermob USA

mindo klara collection

Contemporary, Comfortable Seating

The Klara Collection from Mindo USA is made to withstand the elements. The Klara Arm Chair pairs teak arms with an aluminum frame. Available in a choice of standard colors and Mindo Sunbrella fabrics or the customer’s own material, the collection features a dining table, barstool and table, coffee and side table, and has been expanded to include a lounge chair, sofa and loveseat.

Mindo USA

tucci tilt cantilever

Tilt-Option Cantilever

Enhance your outdoor space and maximize guest comfort with the new tilt cantilever from TUCCI. It’s designed with a tilt option to block sun or add privacy at any angle, all with the convenience of an out-of-the-way cantilever design.


magnusongroup sim tables

Practical, Stylish Tables

SIM square or rectangular tables complement any architecturally designed space. SIM’s unadorned design fits unobtrusively and is visually compatible with a broad range of design plans and color palettes. Highly practical and stylish, the tables are suitable for exterior or interior use and are available in a choice of two heights and three finish colors.

Magnuson Group

bioclimaticstructures arlequin3

Colorful Arlequin Pergola

The Solisysteme Arlequin pergola features frames and panels that glide, allowing restaurant operators to decide where they want the sun and shade. Open completely by gathering the frames and panels for full sun, or close completely for shade and rain protection by rolling them all out. It has a built-in gutter system and is made of aluminum.

BioClimatic Structures LLC

mistamericacorp outdoorcoolingfans2Cool-Mist Outdoor Fans

Mist360 outdoor cooling fans enable restaurant owners to cool patio areas like never before. The Mist360 was developed to cool well even in humid climates. Using pure water, a high-pressure pump and feed lines, and fans (typically hanging like a ceiling fan), the Mist360 realistically reduces air temperatures by 10 degrees F to 20 degrees F.

MistAmerica Corp.



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