Can you tell us a bit about the history of Royal Botania? How, when and why was it founded?
Kris Van Puyvelde and Frank Boschman first met at university in Antwerp Belgium while studying to become engineers. Many years later in 1992, they met up again, each wanting to start their own business. Together they wanted to start importing teak outdoor furniture from Indonesia; however, they quickly discovered that the products were of poor quality and were manufactured only in a colonial style.
Undeterred, they decided that they could create better designs and improve the quality of the furniture. Within days the company was formed and named Royal Botania, an allusion to both the natural beauty of lush botanical gardens and the matching supreme “royal class” furniture they were about to create.
Initially, the focus of Royal Botania was to fuse superb quality and refreshing designs made out of teak wood. Quickly the company became internationally synonymous for luxurious quality and design.
The reputation and brand name gained worldwide recognition. This success led to new outdoor furniture collections being designed as well as to the launch of outdoor lighting and bathroom furniture lines. The team expanded and soon introduced lines made of new materials such as stainless steel, aluminum and synthetic fibers.
25 years later, Royal Botania now employs over 800 people worldwide, with over 50 located at the head office situated in Antwerp, Belgium. There is also a 100,000m³ large warehouse that stores all of the products before they are carefully sent out to many happy customers worldwide.
Over the years, Royal Botania has earned an acclaimed reputation for creating the most refined, diverse choice of outdoor collections in the world. The individual ranges use a wide selection of different materials, as well as being designed and manufactured to offer a perfect blend of precision and functionality. Our company goal is to meet the individual needs of our customers.
How do you incorporate the brand’s philosophy into the design of the pieces?
Royal Botania has more than 27 years of experience in outdoor design. The acquired know-how can be experienced time and time again. Every new collection breathes the Royal Botania DNA. Sheer craftsmanship with an in-depth focus on design, ergonomics, and aesthetics. Royal Botania turns your terrace and garden into places for endless enjoyment. Every year over, Royal Botania succeeds in making your garden shine.
Tell us more about yourself and how you got into the business of furniture design and production?
I am Pieter Van Puyvelde, the marketing manager of Royal Botania. The fact that I have the same last name as the founder is no coincidence. I am the son of Kris and I will do everything in my power to contribute to this amazing company. As I am 27 and the company is too, I’ve known Royal Botania whole my life. It was therefore easy to get to know the ins and outs of Royal Botania while I started in April this year. After graduating in business management some years ago, I started working for SLV Belgium, a German lighting company, as marketing manager. This is where I’ve learned a good base of marketing (and lighting) before knocking on Royal Botania’s door. Now, the only way is up.
How do you define “luxury”, and how are these elements incorporated into your products?
Luxury is a state of mind. When you can indulge in luxury, it means that you have everything figured out and enjoy life to the fullest. Every aspect and detail is important to elevate in this state of mind. Firstly, if you look at the design of our products, no detail is overlooked. Quality meets aesthetics and ergonomics. Secondly, the use of our products is meant for sheer luxury moments on your terrace and garden. You don’t have to travel abroad to enjoy life. With Royal Botania furniture in your garden, you can have your well-deserved holiday at home. Royal Botania turns your terrace and garden into places for endless enjoyment.
What do you love most about working in the luxury outdoor furniture and lighting business?
Striving for the best.
In your opinion, what makes the Royal Botania brand and its products so special?
Apart from the refined quality and the aesthetical aspects, our collection has always been appreciated by our clients for the focus on ergonomics. Especially the exceptional comfort of our sun loungers, has always been applauded. This comfort is created by innovative technical solutions, resulting from the engineering background of the founders.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of interior design and what is luxury outdoor furniture’s role in this?
Even though we have been at the basis of quite a few evolutions in the outdoor market when talking about material use and technical aspects, we rather follow our own taste an style than trends. And indeed those evolve over the years. Those who follow trends are by definition always behind and never in the lead. Making a me-too product is easy but not challenging. Our Palma umbrella was the outdoor revelation in Milan two years ago. A prize winner. By just following trends one could never come to that level.
What inspires the design of the products?
The focus on ergonomics, aesthetics and engineering. Our DNA and all our designs are made around these values.
We offer the best quality products on the market. That is the reason why we have started our own production plant some 15 years ago. While most of our competitors are subcontracting their production, we want to keep the full process in our own hands to be sure about the quality in every single detail.
This allows us to exceed the expectations our clients have when buying our furniture. Not just when first placed on their terrace but moreover in the long term. Our repeat customers purchase the furniture because they want to give their outdoor space an update and not because the furniture is falling apart. We often hear about clients placing the Royal Botania they bought 20 or more years ago elsewhere, or pass it on to their kids, so they can furnish the area with new RB products.
Tell us about some of your latest collections?
Royal Botania inspires in 2019, by complementing its collection with quite a few interesting newcomers to enhance your outdoor spaces, and create an environment to enjoy the warm days in sheer luxury!
The MOZAIX is no doubt the eyecatcher of this season! The warm and large wooden grids in oiled mahogany, available in 4 lengths allow you a wide range of combinations to create the desired set-up. The extremely comfortable cushions can be installed anywhere you want. Obviously, those have a ‘QuickDry’ filling so that a rainshower will not throw a spanner in the works. The sections that are left open after installing the cushions, offer you nearly unlimited customization possibilities. You can not only fill those grids with fine enameled lava stones available in 5 different color tones or with wooden tiles, but you can also install some accessories, like a small solar-powered table light, or a large pendulum. Small aluminum planter boxes can be fitted so as to add some green! Or how about installing a practical pivoting table? Royal Botania has really thought of everything. No detail was overlooked! With the MOZAIX you can be the architect of the most luxurious lounge set ever!
What are your indispensable Royal Botania favorites?
Though I like all the Royal Botania products, my favorites are the Mozaix (as mentioned above), the Palma and the Jive chair.
The Palma outdates all traditional umbrellas. The first thing you notice about PALMA is how organic it looks. All of the mechanisms are contained within the contours of the design, with nothing to detract from the styling. Even the hub has no visible screws or other visible mechanical parts. The arms of the canopy need no supporting struts. All of the mechanical cleverness is hidden within. The base contains a quick-release mechanism and the aluminum shaft encloses a gas strut. Together they provide the most convenient operation possible. All you need to do is take hold of one of the arms and start to lift the umbrella. The mechanism does the rest, raising it to a fully open position. By pulling down on one of the arms, you can retract it in just the same way. No longer do you need to get under the canopy and push the umbrella open or close it. You just stand back and let the patented mechanism do the rest.
Our Jive chair – this garden chair harmoniously combines teak with tapered aluminum profiles and olefin fiber into an inviting, very decorative and refreshing chair. This combination of materials makes the chair a chameleon that fits perfectly alongside a contemporary looking table as well as a warm teak wood model. Prepare to be seated – and overwhelmed.
2020 will be a jaw-dropping year for Royal Botania. We have a great amount of new and unseen products as well as new materials, fabrics and clever techniques. Make sure to keep an eye on us.
To find out more about Royal Botania and their products, visit their website.