By Audrey Hoffer

Special to The Washington Examiner

In Washington, where the temperate climate lingers weeks after Labor Day, the air is perfect for lounging or dining outdoors.

Fortunately, furniture manufactures are taking their classic indoor styles and making them more durable so they withstand inclement weather.

Design Within Reach
Herman Miller Eames

"Classics have been translated from the indoors to the outdoors so you can have real iconic pieces which sit and look exactly the same," said Noelle Pilchak, account executive and design consultant for Design Within Reach.

The Herman Miller Eames Aluminum Group lounge chair, carried by DWR, is one example of a 20th-century design that has been reimagined for the outdoors. It offers the same modern aesthetic with a white plastic mesh seat and back instead of leather.

Cassina, the Italian manufacturer of the Le Corbusier collection, offers items in polished steel that looks like chromium. "You see it on movie sets and in hotel lobbies," Pilchak said, "and now you can have it in your backyard."

Cushions are wrapped in a synthetic fabric. "The beauty is the water soaks right through the bottom without detriment to the material," she said.

Le Corbusier designed a lot of indoor-outdoor furnishings in the 1920s, but the technology wasn't available to make outdoor pieces last over the long term, "so the furniture was literally carried in and out of the house," said Jennifer Mannelli of DWR's Georgetown location.

Now, with new finishes and fabrics, manufacturers can offer outdoor pieces that resist rusting, fading or molding -- and are as stylishly innovative as pieces in the most fashion-forward living room.

Dedon's Slim Line collection features modular pieces that can be arranged to fit any space with a multiseat lounge, chair, sofa, bench or day bed. Dedon's Orbit lounge chair is fun, too. The 65-inch-wide loveseat has an optional canopy that raises 76 inches. It "creates a nice hideaway for city living," said Flannery Norwich, showroom manager at Muleh, the exclusive Dedon dealer in the Washington area.

Dedon's signature piece, the Nestrest, is a hanging lounger shaped like a giant water drop in which several people can nestle comfortably.

"Everything Dedon does is functional," said Norwich. "But [the designer] also makes playful pieces, and the Nestrest falls into that category."