Eos Garden Furniture from Matthew Hilton
Cast ne’er a clout till may be out. So they say. Whether you read that correctly as the may (hawthorn) blossom or as the month of May, the message is the same: summer is here. It is time to break out the barbecue and the sun-tan lotion to take to the garden. (Okay, maybe you can safely go easy on the sun-tan lotion. Living in the UK restricts its usefulness. But that just means you can spend time even more time outside without the risk of burning. Win-win.) When you do, you don’t want just the flowers and bushes to look good; you want everything to go easy on the eye. That’s where Case Eos garden furniture from designer Matthew Hilton comes in.
When you head for the great outdoors, you need something comfortable to sit on and practical tables to hold the drinks. You cannot go wrong with Matthew Hilton’s Eos Outdoor Garden Furniture range, which we supply at Olson and Baker. Time, now, to look at the story behind the brand.
Eos Garden Furniture Review
The garden is both a personal and a public space. You can spend hours on your own among the flower beds and shrubs, but you will also want to have friends round for food and drinks. So your furniture has to be practical and functional, but you will also want it to look good.
Enter Matthew Hilton. The award-winning British designer can be a little whacky when he’s in the mood but his garden furniture — i.e. his Eos range — is practicality central. It is functional but still stylish; a creation for people to live with on a day-to-day basis.
The range is called after the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn – the forerunner of Aurora in the Latin pantheon. Like her it aims to bring a bit of light into the world. It is both practical and fun, the perfect addition to bring a touch of sophistication to the garden.
Who is Matthew Hilton?
Hastings-born Matthew Hilton has been one of the most important designers in the country since the 1980s. His work is found all over the country and many major companies, including Case, one of the furniture suppliers we use at Olson and Baker, use his designs. Among their many offerings, Case have the Eos range – one of their most popular when it comes to garden furniture.
Matthew Hilton is a bit of a radical in that he does not believe in design movements but prefers to look at the function of the object and how it has evolved. When he came up with the Eos range, his aim was to combine a modern look with a streamlined structure. He wants the garden chairs to be artistic but also strong and comfortable. The drive towards practicality includes making it possible to stack the chairs and store them away safely.
How Much Room Do You Have?
Before you even start to think about what the garden furniture will look like, you have to work out how much you want and how big it should be. The space available will determine both. You want enough to be useful but not so much that you crowd the space and make it impossible to get round. Rather than crowd the area with lots of chairs, consider something like the Case Furniture Eos communal bench as a space-saving solution.
It is probably worth measuring exactly how much practical space you have. You may have a big garden but not all of it is useful for sitting out. Flowerbeds and areas overhung by bushes or shrubs don’t count. Take into account which areas get the sun. You may want to maximise the amount of direct sunlight you can feel while out in the garden, but you may also want to take advantage of naturally shaded areas.
The two don’t have to be exclusive. You can turn any sunny area into a shaded one with an awning, pergola, umbrella, gazebo or whatever. What you can’t do is turn a shaded area into a sunny one, so it’s worth erring on the side of keeping things clear and open.
Work Out How the Space Will Be Used
You also need a good idea what the space will be used for. If you are looking for a quiet personal space, then one set of considerations come into play. You are looking for seclusion, comfort and accessibility. You can afford to spread out with something like the Eos platform lounger, which is both stylish and comfortable.
If you are going to be doing a lot of barbecuing and hosting, on the other hand, a different set of decisions face you. You need to pick a focal point in the garden, something like a communal dining table or a view point. If you are cooking outdoors, some people like to make that area the focal point. The dining table will always be important, though, and may well determine what kind of chairs you need to accompany it.
On the other hand, if people are mostly just sitting around chatting, items like a garden sofa come into play. You will also need side tables for snacks and drinks as well as plenty of seating.
As a rule of thumb, try to make the space feel clear and open. People don’t relax properly when they feel cramped, so make sure there are walkways around the seating areas so that people don’t have their conversations interrupted by people cutting through the group when they move from one spot to another.
Picking Your Garden Furniture
There are a number of things to take into account when you start to think about equipping your garden. They apply regardless of the type of garden you have. Increasingly people are starting to look at the outdoor space as an extension of the indoor. Similar design principles will apply so that you can move seamlessly between the two without feeling a major jolt as the mood and appearance suddenly change.
The first thing you need to think about is what the garden furniture is going to be made from. Top priority – it has to be practical. You also need to think about issues such as whether the garden furniture will stay outside in the winter. If you have an outhouse, garage or shed, the furniture can be stored away from the worst of the winter rain, snow and frost. Without taking it indoors, however, there is not much you can do about winter freezes. The material you choose must be one that cannot be bent or warped by changes in temperature. You need tables and chairs such as the Eos lounge chair that can cope with whatever a British winter will throw at it.
Could You Stick With Wood?
If you have gone heavily for wood indoors, you may want to replicate that outside. Remember, however, everything is going the be exposed to the elements. If not properly cared for, wood will rot. If you decide to use it for the garden, you are accepting the maintenance that goes with it.
A lot of high-quality wooden garden furniture is made from teak. That can make it expensive, but it is impossible to beat for both its look and its toughness. It is an easy-to-work hard wood that resists both the weather and insects, making it ideal for outdoor use.
The problem is that even teak needs some TLC. You need to clean it – warm soapy water is fine but make sure you dry it properly – and you may want to oil it before taking it out for the summer. If you don’t bother with the oil, the teak will develop a silvery patina — some people like that look.
Most people want simplicity, though, so it is more sensible to go for something that does not need more than token care. Plastic is always available but always looks cheap and is often a false saving. It won’t rot but it will discolour badly and most plastic furniture breaks easily.
That’s where the Eos range comes in. Matthew Hilton has designed it with a space-age aluminium frame that looks stunning in any garden setting. Nothing matches it when it comes to ease of care.
When it comes to outdoor goods, aluminium is just about the perfect material. It does not rust and it is light – so it is easy to move it around the garden. You can paint it any colour you want. If you knock the paint there is a slight danger you might chip the finish. Touch-up paint, the type you get for keeping car bodywork immaculate, solves the problem quickly and easily. The important thing to remember, however, is the paint is only the finish. The metal beneath won’t be harmed even if the paintwork is damaged, which means it retains its strength even if it looks a bit worn. Nylon tips to the feet made sure the tables and chairs won’t damage anything if they are used on a patio or decking.
Whatever the frame is made of, when it comes to loungers, sofas and chairs, the cushions are just as important. The Eos range works there too. The cushions are finished in water-resistant Sunbrella fabric. It is breathable and easy to clean but also resistant to ultra-violet light so it won’t fade if left outdoors.
Case Study on Using Eos Garden Furniture
Since the Eos range is an object lesson in how art meets practicality, it is not a coincidence it is used in a wide variety of environments.
So, for example, the Eos rectangular table was featured on the TV psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes – shown on Netflix – while the range has also made its way to California as the style of choice for the up-market Junipero Hotel in Palm Springs.
They are aiming for a cross between Mediterranean and Moroccan influences with plenty of original art. The 1930s building in the Spanish Colonial style lends itself to an exotic mix of influences and the Eos range fits in perfectly.
Eos sun loungers are ideal for the poolside while the Eos communal table with its matching chairs sits nearby. It is ideal for al fresco dining. Hotel designer Jaime Kowal likes the clean, aesthetic lines, which counterpoint the harsher lines of the nearby hills and the natural vegetation the area.