Have you ever seen a flower that looked so perfect, you had to touch it to make sure it was real? Or maybe you’ve seen a painting so realistic you thought it was a photograph? Summer Classics N-Dura™ resin wicker outdoor furniture is much the same. Each hand-woven chair, ottoman, and table is an individual work of art and the materials look so authentic, it’s hard to believe they aren’t straight from Mother Nature.
So what makes Summer Classics wicker patio furniture different from other manufacturers? We sat down with Summer Classics owner and founder, Bew White to discuss the art and science behind the N-dura resin design.
The Science Behind Wicker Patio Furniture
So how do you create something that mimics nature so perfectly—and stands up to the elements? When Summer Classics founder and CEO, Bew White III set out to improve the look and feel of woven resins on patio furniture, he found that with a little science, he could create something that would not only be beautiful—but it would be a beauty that would last.
White already had a team of talented craftsmen in place, but he needed a malleable fiber-like resin product that looked natural AND offered durability. The missing ingredient? A UV inhibitor. “When we started using UV inhibitors in our resins, it was revolutionary,” Bew says. “None of the other outdoor furniture companies had the technology.”
White trademarked the material and called it N-Dura™. Introduced at furniture markets in early 2000, the term and technology created a huge buzz and forever changed the standard of quality in outdoor furniture.
Patio Furniture Built to Withstand the Elements
With N-Dura™, Summer Classics was able to extend product warranties from one year to five years. “Outdoor furniture made from N-Dura™resin is tested for 4,000 hours,” says Bew. “Sunbrella fabrics are tested for 1,500 hours. That means most people will have to replace their cushions three times before they have to replace their furniture.”
So, what exactly is N-Dura™resin wicker made of?
1. It all starts with polyethylene—the most common of all plastics. Beginning with a hard pellet form of the plastic, Summer Classics industrial designers add liquid color and UV inhibitors. Heated, the mixture turns into a putty-like material that can be formed into different shapes through a specialized machine.
2. Similar to a trompe l’oeil (a French phrase meaning to trick the eye), Summer Classics resin weaves and colorways are designed to trick the eye of even the most discerning client. With every piece we make, quality controls are put in place to ensure the look of those natural characteristics.
3. When the polyethylene pellets, UV resistant coating, and colors come together, it’s still not as simple as pushing a button. Currently, Summer Classics manufactures a number of different profiles. A profile is the shape of a singular strand of material used for weaving. Profiles exhibit shape and size characteristics of natural materials and can come in forms ranging from small, round and hollow to flat solids, to wide triangular shapes. When the resin putty is pushed through these shapes, the designers are keenly aware of how much color is released in order to get the varying striations for a natural look. Matching furniture frames from weaves to color is something these industrial designers study—in application, trend, and comfort.
So why not just use natural fibers?
There’s no doubt they look great—that’s why Summer Classics has perfected the science of mimicking them. But, unlike resins, natural fibers are less durable and prone to fading, mold, mildew, rot, and insects. Organic fibers can become dry and brittle. Once dry, the fibers can crack and cause the weave to unravel and weaken the strength of the furniture.
Today’s Technology: N-Dura™ Resin is malleable, and it can receive a variety of colors as well as weaves and shapes.
Summer Classics technology is so advanced that they have the ability to customize colors and weaves. For Summer Classics, every single detail matters—and with a strong team of designers and a commitment to exceed expectations, the only limit is the imagination.