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Lilium: From idea to final result

Our new outdoor collection designed by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Lilium is our new outdoor collection that launched on March 1, 2020, consisting of a bench, a dining table, chair, lounge chair and a lounge table. The world-famous architect studio BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group renowned for their original buildings and innovative way of rethinking public spaces is behind Lilium – the studio's first outdoor furniture collection.

Urban Rigger - student housing in the harbour of Copenhagen.  Designed by BIG, where sustainability and social interaction are two sides of the same coin.

”We’ve always admired the collections put forth by Skagerak, combining Danish sensibilities with the responsible and sustainable production of furniture. We believe that together we can create a long-lasting furniture collection.” - Bjarke Ingels Group.

Behind the scenes
The initial idea of the Lilium project came from one of BIG's many architecture projects where the surroundings and location inspired them to design a furniture family. They needed a brand of durable quality, and Skagerak was singled out as a furniture partner that combined with BIG's architectural vision would be an excellent match for the maritime setting of the project at hand.

The studio took inspiration from the waterfront and the industrial heritage of the city of Aalborg and the idea of casual interactions and social gatherings, where the Lilium collection would provide the tools for people to socialise, work and dine together. BIG was on board with the thought of creating a modern and versatile furniture family in a democratic design language that was compatible with both outdoor patios, indoor living and flexible workspace environments.

From idea and drawing to furniture in real life. The process is long and can take up to several years, depending on the production challenges along the way.

Honest materials and innovative manufacturing
The elements of the Lilium collection are only two: Teak and stainless steel. The teak is untreated, and the stainless-steel frame is bare, meaning that every detail in the design is visible. Working with honest materials was one of the challenges during the design and production phase. Therefore, it was vital to work with a detail-orientated manufacturer, and a recognised workshop in Indonesia was the perfect fit. They produce in FSC-certified wood and track every piece from start to finish, to guarantee the high standards of FSC-quality and to get the most out of the resources. BIG visited the workshop to observe the production, which allowed them to be sympathetic to the construction process and make design changes on the fly.

When the wood arrives at the workshop, it needs to dry for a while before the production begins. That way, the teak doesn’t give and creates a more durable result. 

The workshop uses templates to ensure that every detail of the production is identical. The screws holding the seat to the frame was one of the design challenges in the production, and it was the workshop owner's idea to insert tiny wood tabs in the holes to cover the visible screws. A detail that gives the chair a delicate and elegant finish while at the same time solving a problem.

The visible screws in the seat and the backrest was a challenge. Then the workshop owner came up with the idea to fill the holes with tabs, creating both pleasing aesthetic and solving a problem at the same time.

The final result
The soft oval shape of the seat and back resembles a lily pad and is the inspiration behind the name. The ‘X’ detail of the stainless steel frame at the base and across the backrest gives Lilium its signature look, making it recognisable and different from other designs on the market. The slightly widened proportions of the lounge chair add flexibility to the way you use it as the extra space is a perfect resting spot for a book or a cup of coffee.

Lilium collection comes in several variants that can be combined as you see fit: as a dining table with chairs and a bench, as lounge furniture for relaxation in combination with other furniture pieces, or as multifunctional elements where the bench can double as a lounge table.

Lilium Collection plays with optics in the dialogue between the visible wood grains and the graphic slats of the table that are placed across, rather than lengthwise.
Lilium has an urban and contemporary language that articulates a new generation of outdoor teak furniture.

"When you design furniture, the scale is entirely different from architecture, but we see many of the same challenges as we're still observing the way life evolves and changes" - Bjarke Ingels Group

A common effort
We are delighted with the result and the collaboration with BIG and the responsible Indonesian workshop because it emphasises the importance of relations, respect of craftmanship and of taking care of the resources we have.

The collaboration with BIG has been inspiring for Skagerak on many levels. Their approach to architecture and materials has reflected the design process, and the result is an outdoor collection in a light, architectural design made in honest materials that patinate beautifully and which is entirely in line with Skagerak’s design and material philosophy.

“It was exciting for us to work with BIG because it was the first time they designed outdoor furniture for the urbane and outdoor spaces that usually take up their time. One of their main focuses was a clever use of the furniture. For instance, the seat of the Lounge Chair should be wide enough so you could move around in the chair or use the extra space for your coffee or a book. It was also an important focus to accommodate people with small balconies or outdoor areas,” says Ditte Buus Nielsen, Design Director at Skagerak.

The Lilium collection is a family of several members that you can combine due to specific needs.

Lilium Collection has excellent international potential due to its contemporary interpretation of teak in an outdoor setting. The primary ambition with Lilium is that the furniture is not for outdoor use only but is adaptable in several environments and for diverse purposes. Furthermore, Lilium complements and refers to our famous heritage of teak furniture and is in many ways a modern take on tradition with its light and contemporary expression – like a new generation of Skagerak outdoor furniture.