Case Furniture: The Eos Collection

Dawn: the herald of a new beginning, new hope, new energy at the start of a fresh day. In past times, it was so important it even had its own goddess, Eos in the Greek pantheon. The first light of the day was a moment of inspiration. No wonder, when award-winning designer Matthew Hilton was looking for an idea to represent his new furniture range, he turned to that ancient vision. That was when the Case Furniture Eos collection was born.

He was looking for a concept that would capture his idea of how to transform the way people think about their garden furniture. They needed something futuristic, lightweight, colourful, and weatherproof. With the Case Furniture’s Eos Range, he achieved all of that. He came up with a model that looks just at home sitting on a city roof terrace as it does as a feature in an upmarket hotel pool or sitting in pride of place in a country garden.

The concept was simple. He was looking for something that was comfortable but functional. The aluminium structure means the seats, loungers, benches, and tables are all light, you get to pick your colour. Aluminium is also rust-proof, and the powder-coated materials used to protect it add to its durability. Soft cushions make sure the items people are going to be sitting or lying on are comfortable.

Who is Matthew Hilton?

Case Furniture’s Eos Range is the brainchild of Matthew Hilton, one of the country’s prominent designers and a leading figure in creating classy furniture throughout the world. He is somebody with a stellar reputation, with the EOS collection a perfect example of the way he likes to work and nowadays.

“All my pieces are loaded with meaning and memory and are very personal to me,” he says, though he usually adds that he is not keen on design movements and prefers to create individual works for each project he embarks on.

He was always interested in painting, sculpture and architecture, but it was not until he went to college in Portsmouth that one of his tutors suggested the idea of becoming a designer. After graduating, he worked in industrial design, setting up his own studio in 1984.

He describes himself as a child of the 1960s and 70s, and some of his earlier work showed evidence of some of the trippier ideas around as Britain emerged from the utilitarian post-war era. Soon, however, he decided functionality should be the dominant theme behind good design. For the last 30 years, that has been the driving force behind his creative concepts.

He relishes working in new materials, so the chance to create a garden range in aluminium was right up his alley, allowing him to show how the fusion of metal and fabric can create functional art.

Does Eos Furniture Affect the Environment?

The significant advantages of aluminium are its design flexibility, its lightweight strength and its durability as long as it gets a bare minimum of care.

They make most aluminium furniture using the extrusion process, which means forcing softened metal through a die to create the shape. Tubes, whether circular or square in profile, are the most common product, but the reality is that as long as you can create the die, you can get any shape you want. You can cast a chair or a sun lounger all in one piece and that adds considerably to the strength and durability.

On top of that, you can buy aluminium products with an easy conscience. It is the most common metal on the planet. Bauxite, which is found all over the world, is the raw material in the refining process. You need a lot of electricity to extract the pure metal from the raw material, but it often comes from a renewable power source. In the UK, for example, the only remaining smelter is in the Highlands of Scotland and is part of a hydroelectric scheme.

Aluminium is incredibly functional and has a wide range of uses, from aircraft parts all the way to the foil for food containers. It is light, is non-toxic, conducts heat well, doesn’t corrode easily and is easy to shape. The metal is also non-magnetic and does not spark. It is the second most malleable metal and the sixth most ductile. In short, it is close to the perfect material for a designer to let his imagination run riot.

Why Case Furniture’s Eos Range?

In 2009, Case Furniture asked Matthew Hilton to produce a chair, bench, and table as part of the company’s outdoor collection. The brief was for something iconic but useful, easy to care for, as well as easy on the eye.

It was always going to be fresh, so the goddess of the dawn seemed to be an obvious way to signal the start of something new. If you think about the way people use the word “dawn” in the modern world, you get something of the idea. Ideas dawn on you, a change for the better is a new dawn, and so on. It was much the same with Case Furniture’s Eos Range.

So, dozens of times across the ancient Greek epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey, “Rosy fingered Eos” pops up, and you know something dramatic is about to occur. Her arrival means change is on its way. That idea works for a new furniture line too, with the design winning the Design Guild Mark Award in 2016.

What is the Eos Range?

The first request for Matthew Hilton was only for an armchair, bench, and table for the new outdoor range. Since then, he has expanded the offering to include stools, sun loungers, sofas and more.

Being aluminium, it is pretty much maintenance-free, making it just as ideal for an upmarket hotel as for a homeowner without the time to lavish on garden furniture. The most you may need to do is touch up any paint that gets knocked off, though giving it the occasional wash-down will keep the dirt and moss at bay and keep it looking pristine.

You can stack the chairs if you need to get them out of the way, and nylon feet make sure they don’t scratch or damage any decking or paving they are sitting on. Being so light, it’s easy to store them away for the winter, but you certainly don’t have to. They are strong enough to cope with bad weather.

Case Furniture’s Eos Dining Tables

Probably the best known of the Case Furniture’s Eos Range is the Rectangular Table. This is a full-size table for outdoor use, but if it is not big enough, you can add square tables to create a larger and more versatile eating area.

The benches in the same series can sit inside, though there are plenty of other seating options as well, including a table much the same size but round and held up by a single central leg. Stackable for compact storage, this table works well with the side chair and armchair.

For more casual use, there is the coffee table, which combines a contemporary aesthetic with a lightweight structure and clean lines. The company designed it for relaxed alfresco dining. It comes in optional finishes of black, white, or rust.

If you need something smaller, there is a range of smaller and lower side tables, ideal for holding that cold drink as you lie back and enjoy the sun.

Eos Sofas and Chairs

There is a range of dining chairs, ready to be used at any of the tables, but for real comfort, you need to look at the sofas and armchairs in the range. Matthew Hilton added these after the model took off and the cushions add a new dimension of comfort to this luxury range.

With both cushioned seat pads and the usual sturdy aluminium frame, there are more options for using contrasting colours to create different effects. The cushion fabric in grey or rust colours is water and UV light resistant, so you can leave them outdoors without suffering damage.

Matthew Hilton designed the Case Furniture’s Eos Range armchair to go just about anywhere. The sofa option comes in both a two-seater and a three-seater version, with about a 70cm (28 inches) difference in the width of the models.

The Eos Sun Lounger

This is one of the most popular elements in the range. The frame is aluminium, as with all the Eos range. An all-weather fabric called Textilene makes up the comfortable sling seat. Case created it from a tightly woven polyester, making it an extremely durable material and ideal for garden furniture.

The process coats individual strands of the polyester with poly-vinyl chloride, and it is all heat-set. This unique process makes Textilene resistant to rough treatment, fading, and sun damage. That makes it so well suited for outdoor use. Wheels and plastic floor glides to make it easy to move it about.

Case Furniture’s Eos Benches

There are two primary models of bench. The first is the communal bench, with plenty of room for three or four people, possibly even more if they squeeze in really tightly. The second is the normal bench. It is a little higher and deeper but not as wide and will accommodate fewer people.

Both can go with any of the tables, making them ideal for outdoor eating on occasions such as summer barbecues.

Bar Furniture in the Eos Range

Though Case Furniture describe this part of the Eos Range as bar furniture – and it will fit in perfectly if you have a garden bar – you don’t actually need one to find these useful. The secret is that they are taller than the rest of the range, so perfect for standing around or taking a quick rest while circulating around a crowd of guests.

The bar table stands just over a metre tall. The stool comes in two versions, one with a back and a little higher than the table, ideal for perching at the bar, or a backless version, which is a perfect height to use alongside the table.

Eos For the Dawn of  Summer

All-in-all, Matthew Hilton designed the Eos range with functionality in mind. The aluminium frame makes every item strong but light, ideal for garden furniture. The range is elegant and has that little extra you get from something that looks good and is also strong and useful. Its creation was the dawn of a new concept in garden design; breaking new ground in service to style, elegance and practicality.

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