Solex 2012 - Outdoor showcase

July's Summer Outdoor Living Exhibition (Solex) at the Telford International Centre featured a range of new furniture and barbecue products, Jonathan Tilley reports.

Marrakech Metal - image: LeisureGrow
Marrakech Metal - image: LeisureGrow

Outdoor furniture

Hartman has unveiled a new range in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The cast-aluminium garden furniture has been influenced by the Victorian metalwork in the Temperate House, Kew’s largest glasshouse. The range includes a round table with four seats (£1,299), an oval six-seat table (£1,799), a bench (£500), a lounger (£400), lanterns (£90 and £100) and a cast-iron pavilion (£2,200).

TV gardener David Domoney was at the Hartman stand to launch his new outdoor furniture set. His ‘Celtic’ cast-aluminium range is likely to retail from around £349 for the bistro set to £999 for the rectangular dining set. His ‘Lattice’ weave range is likely to start at £999 for the dining set and go up to £1,499 for the modular set. Celtic and Lattice are available by container only.

Hartman also launched new colours and designs in its sell-out Jamie Oliver outdoor furniture collection. The new additions include a deep-seated coffee table with two chairs and an integrated grilling plate and accessories included in the formal six-seat dining set. The collection is likely to retail from £350 for a lounger to £1,200 for the dining set.

Also unveiled at Solex were the winning designs from Hartman’s first collaboration with students at Birmingham City University. The company launched a competition in September last year with third-year BA product and interior products design students. The winners are the ‘Tong lounger’ and the ‘Twisted’ four-seat table and chairs, expected to retail at £299 and £599 respectively.

LeisureGrow launched a fourth category to its 2013 collections at Solex, Metal. The sets have all been designed with Arabian styling in mind. An advanced electro-deposited primer three-step process has been utilised to ensure maximum protection from the weather. Inset ceramic tiles give designs to the tabletops. Marrakech tea for two has an RRP of £275.99.

Also new from LeisureGrow are the Norfolk and Suffolk collections, bold white cast-aluminium sets with a vintage look. Norfolk White tea for two has an RRP of £299.

LeisureGrow’s new Atlantic and Pacific collections in the aluminium and glass ranges use unique spraystone on their tabletops mixed with text-fabric recliners. Pacific costs £649.99.

Kettler launched a larger size of table in its Classic Garden collection, which had previously offered the industry standard — 60cm, 105cm and 145cm. Now 70cm and 110cm round and 160x90cm and 200x100cm rectangular mesh table sizes are available. The redesign also includes new leg styles and the tables can now be offered at lower prices.

The company also launched its Beach range of garden furniture. The lounge furniture collection is modern and modular in design, made using 30mm flat strip wicker, which is entirely waterproof and can be used all year round.

Kettler showcased new sets in its weave range at the show, including Provence, Medoc, Loire and Bretagne. Each piece of furniture uses hand-woven, weatherproof weave on an aluminium frame structure and comes with a three-year guarantee.

Working in partnership with Weber, Kettler’s two-seater Caffe Roma set has been launched in vibrant colours to match Weber’s barbecues. The set will come in Spring Green, Sea Grass, Ivory and Blue Wave, matching the Smokey Joe kettle barbecue from Weber.

Europa Leisure launched a new range of garden furniture exclusively for garden centres and department stores at Solex. Its Exclusive Garden range will not be available to online retailers.

Solex also saw the launch of the Casamoré outdoor furniture range, created by Firmans Direct to appeal to independent retailers. The luxury brand contains a wide choice of styles, ranging from outdoor dining to sofa sets.

Teak furniture manufacturer Barlow Tyrie has added to its Avon range with the launch of a circular dining table available in two sizes.

Barlow Tyrie also launched new high dining pieces for the Equinox mixed material collection, featuring a Textilene sling seat and back and a new Aura sun lounger (pictured below) with an aluminium frame and Textilene sling.



The Weber Spirit range of barbecues has been given a new look and extra features for 2013. There are five new models in the range, all with front-mounted controls and two or three stainless steel burners with lid-mounted thermometers and enclosed carts. They range from the Spirit Premium S-320 down to the entry-level Spirit Classic E-310.

Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates were also launched at the show by Weber. Designed to fit the Summit, Genesis and Spirit barbecues, they feature circular cutout sections to slot in accessories.

Weber also launched additions to its portable range, including Jumbo Joe, a larger version of the portable Smokey Joe range. It has a 47cm cooking grate and a "Tuck-Away" to lock the lid in place for carrying. A rust-proof aluminium lid and bowl vent provide airflow. Other launches include a portable charcoal table and a portable chimney starter.

OutdoorChef has strengthened its range with two more charcoal-fired grills. The Rover 480 and Rover 570 join the classic charcoal 570 model to complete the range of three charcoal kettle grills. Their prices are £159 and £219 respectively. OutdoorChef is the only charcoal-fired outdoor cooking kettle grill incorporating a rugged lid hinge for easier use by the consumer.

Napoleon has added two new models to its Prestige range of gas barbecues, both available as natural gas or propane units. The P500RSIB has up to 80,000 BTUs and six burners, including a rear infrared burner for the rotisserie and an infrared ‘Sizzle Zone’ side burner. The model is available in either stainless steel or black porcelain enamelled finish.

The PRO500RSIB has the same features as the P500RSIB plus backlit knobs and a linear pedestal base with hidden casters. Extra-deep side shelves incorporate drinks holders, ice bucket and cutting board. An optional charcoal tray allows the gas model to become a charcoal grill. The barbecue is available in stainless steel.

Outback showcased its V5 portable gas barbecue series. Refinements to the range include treated wooden fold-away side tables, cast-iron gas burners and lava rock beneath the cooking grills to add a smoky barbecue flavour.

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