In recent years, there has been a remarkable transformation in the world of outdoor furniture. Gone are the days of mundane patio setups with limited options for style and comfort. Today, outdoor spaces have become an extension of our homes, blending seamlessly with our interior design aesthetic. Manutti, the renowned luxury outdoor furniture brand hailing from Belgium, has been at the forefront of this revolution, continuously pushing boundaries with its innovative designs and impeccable craftsmanship. With its latest offering, the Sandua collection, which epitomises elegance, functionality, and sophistication, the company is once again elevating outdoor living to new heights.
Envisioned by multi-talented maestro Robin Hapelt, the Sandua range blends the Swiss-German designer’s passion for modernism with traditional weaving to create pieces with subtle oriental undertones. Inspired by the serene beauty of natural landscapes, the Sandua collection is an ode to age-old Asian artisanship. Featuring a harmonious blend of organic materials, clean lines, and contemporary design, every piece is a statement of superlative skill and sophistication.
Characterised by its unique woven aesthetic and circular shape, the Sandua line takes cues from Hapelt’s time spent in Indonesia. Originally from Germany, the designer felt stifled by Europe’s more conservative furniture styles, so he set off for Asia, and here, he was able to freely unleash his creativity, using bold colours, fabrics and textiles to create the distinctive, beautifully expressive pieces he’s always dreamed of.
“In Germany, I had been focused on finding my own style for some time. Being so fascinated by colour and contrast, I always felt like the odd one out. Then, one day, I got a call from an architect I had befriended during my first internship who was based in Indonesia. He needed someone to develop customised furniture for his clients. I went there and instantly felt liberated. Here, I could be expressive in colours, fabrics and materials. So, I decided to stay,” explains Hapelt.
“Being here [in Asia] undoubtedly influenced me. I remember growing up with this dull-looking woven veranda furniture. I hated the conventional design, but I liked how the weaving looked. Being in Indonesia, rattan is simply everywhere. It triggered me to do more with it. So, I learned some basic weaving techniques, started my own workshop and trained my own craftspeople. Together, we tried to figure out how to apply weaving in modern furniture design.”
This was when Hapelt realised his niche: connecting European and Asian design was a conceptual challenge he loved and was talented at. His travels soon became his muse, incorporating the local materials and craftsmanship of the places he visited into his designs to create objects teeming with meaning. And this holds true for the Sandua collection too, which fuses contemporary design with Asian handicraft traditions.
“I often feel that small regional influences get lost in our big international world,” shares Hapelt. “The point of globalisation is not that everything looks the same, but equal access to the amazing materials and talents available worldwide. That’s why, in my designs, I try to combine the knowledge and uniqueness of each continent I visit. During my time in Europe and Asia, I often felt frustrated and overwhelmed, as well as inspired. I used all these different emotions to create something special.”
“It is precisely this blend [of modern and traditional] that makes the whole [Sandua] collection stand out. Not just the fact of mixing contemporary design and traditional materials. We also modernised a well-established craft, like weaving, by combining two materials that we both braided and folded. This all adds to Sandua’s smooth appearance. But don’t be mistaken: it’s discreet and eye-catching at the same time.”
Crafted with immaculate attention to detail, Manutti’s Sandua range showcases the brand’s commitment to creating exceptional outdoor furniture pieces that combine form and function effortlessly. A labour of love, the design underwent rigorous testing and development before the perfect weave was found.
“Manutti wanted a collection that combined teak with weaving. But something out of the ordinary. We tried over thirty variations before we were satisfied with Sandua’s signature Dicord® weave, a rare combination of rope and synthetics. I worked on the concept, Manutti’s weavers perfected it,” explains Hapelt.
“Also, shape-wise, this collection is quite ‘me’. In my first expressive phase, I liked everything but round. Over the years, round shapes really grew on me. Sandua is the expression of this. The bottom, inner and outer shapes all have a radius that points towards the shell. You can find this curviness in the wooden frame as well. Personally, I never consider a design completely my own. Every piece is the fruit of great teamwork. This shared experience helps me grow as a designer.”
The design philosophy behind the Sandua range revolves around simplicity and versatility. Manutti and Hapelt have ingeniously balanced minimalism with an emphasis on comfort, ensuring that every piece is not only visually appealing but also incredibly inviting. Distinguished by an organically shaped woven shell that sits on a sleek, sculpted wooden base crafted from sustainably sourced teak, the Sandua range envelops users in a warm embrace. Comprising a diverse array of pieces, including high-back lounge chairs; daybeds; dining armchairs; footrests; and rechargeable, remote-controlled lights, the collection promises endless moments of outdoor luxury. Colour options include warm natural teak or Manutti’s signature black teak scuro for the base, and soft pepper or dark anthracite for the woven shell. Altogether, Sandua’s clean silhouettes, combined with a subtle interplay of textures and colours, allow for its effortless integration into various outdoor spaces, be it a sprawling terrace, a cosy balcony, or a lush garden.
Over and above aesthetics and comfort, Manutti is diligent about every facet of its furniture design, including durability. The brand understands that outdoor furniture must withstand the elements without compromising appearance or practicality. Therefore, the Sandua range incorporates advanced technologies and materials to ensure exceptional longevity and weather resistance. The striking shells and matching plush cushions are made from high-performance textiles that are not only water and UV resistant but also easy to maintain, making them ideal for both residential and commercial settings.
It’s rare to find furnishings — especially modish outdoor pieces — that tick all the boxes. Manutti is one of these few brands that delivers on all fronts. Beyond just its dedication to creating furniture that displays the pinnacle of innovation and craftsmanship, Manutti works with passionate people, and this radiates through every product.
“Looking at every piece, I remember the specific story behind its creation: how it was developed, the people that worked on it, the frustration that pushed me to make it better, the joy when I finally got it right. To me, that’s really the soul of a creation. Once you’re able to capture this soul, you know your product will resonate with the audience,” concludes Hapelt.
More than just outdoor furniture, Manutti makes pieces that enhance its users’ lives, inspiring and delighting with every chair, table and cushion. So whether you desire a cosy spot to curl up with a book, a sophisticated setting to entertain guests, or a tranquil space to unwind after a long day, the Sandua collection is the perfect companion for soaking up the splendour of the soul-soothing outdoors.
To find out more about Manutti’s Sandua range, plus its other collections, visit the links below: