“For table delights. For big parties and festive occasions. For unforgettable moments and get-togethers...”
One of the highlights of refined living is the country garden, a place where, by design, nothing ever changes very quickly. A place of repose and reunions, where natural beauty is cultivated, and people give expression to their souls through the careful curation of flower borders, fountains, and furniture that is built to last.
Exquisite German Craftsmanship
Headquartered near Hamburg in Germany, Garpa has been crafting outdoor furniture in the country garden tradition, for private residences and public parks, since 1979. From its first catalog offering over four decades ago, a rustic teak park bench called Rothesay, to today’s Pan collection, an ultra-modern minimalist affair with graceful corset-like weaving of light-weight fibers supported by a springy steel frame, Garpa is unlike other furniture manufacturers that continually update, revamp, and discontinue their collections.
By staying true to the spirit of previous generations of design, and continuing to offer past collections, Garpa has organically grown their catalog to include ever more technically advanced, eclectic, and classically-inspired aesthetic alternatives to today’s mass-produced trends. This guarantees that Garpa garden furniture in your possession will endure both in terms of its beautiful appearance as well as its timeless style for many many years to come.
A Love Story Spanning Continents
CurranHOME is proud to be the exclusive North American e-commerce distributor of Garpa. The story of how this partnership came to be is very interesting, and like many great stories, at heart, it is a love story.
It was a fateful flight from Amsterdam to Geneva, in March of 2001, when Jeff Curran, owner of a Seattle-based furniture catalog, met Barbara Steiner, a Swiss citizen returning from a business trip. Jeff was meeting friends to go skiing, and loved getting the lay of the land from a local, so he invited Barbara to join them.
After hitting the slopes, the two parted ways, and didn’t speak for a year. However, Jeff must have really enjoyed himself because he decided to take another ski trip to Switzerland the following year, and again he reached out to Barbara to be his local guide. This time they kept in touch, and the next year Barbara visited Seattle en route to the San Francisco wedding of a friend. They were engaged in 2003, married in 2004, and welcomed their first son in 2005. Amid all these life changes, Barbara decided to lend her business acumen and organizational mindset to Jeff’s business and together they converted from the time-honored print version of the catalog to an e-commerce website, www.curranonline.com.
The Currans returned to Switzerland every summer to visit Barbara’s family, and their fondness for European-style furniture not being a secret, invariably they found awaiting their arrival from the foot of the bed that year’s new edition of the Garpa mail order furniture catalog. The catalog was famous throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Austria for its contemporary but classically-inspired garden-oriented designs. The seed was firmly planted in their minds to introduce Garpa to a Pacific Northwest and larger North American audience.
CurranOnline increased its reach, and divided into different categories of products, adding European luxury brands such as Gloster, Barlow Tyrie, and others. The Currans also did a brisk business in natural fiber and synthetic floor coverings, catering to the design community, consumers, and big corporate clients. They were approached in 2020 by Angelo van Tol, CEO of Diethelm Keller Group, the vast holding company that administers 3 of the biggest outdoor furniture luxury brands in the world: DEDON, Garpa, and Gloster. (As of 2022, CurranHOME now carries all 3).
Angelo encouraged the Currans to meet with Garpa CEO, Maren Kohler-Prehn, for lunch in Zurich. After they toured one of Garpa’s very impressive showrooms, an offer was made for CurranHOME to be the exclusive e-commerce distributor for Garpa in North America. Garpa was launched on the site in Spring of 2021, in the midst of a challenging time for businesses worldwide. Now a year later, CurranHOME is continuing the tradition of dropping the latest Garpa catalog (online this time) at the foot our customers’ proverbial bed. Here are a few highlights from CurranHOME’s Garpa offerings.
3 Iconic Furniture Collections
With its Salvador Dali-esque cascade of contoured teak slats and circuitously ornamental steel frame details evocative of wrought-iron work, Fontenay is a homage to the refinement and elegance of the French Belle Epoque period of the late 1800’s. While visually very rich and layered, this wide selection of chair styles and tables are also very functional (they are folding and relatively light-weight), and comfortable (the polished teak is ergonomically shaped to form-fit the body).
The advent of modern building materials such as steel revolutionized the style of furniture design in the past century. The compact strength of bent steel tubing eliminated the structural need for traditional supports i.e. the need for a chair to have 4 legs. Bolero is a Bauhaus-inspired version of the classic cantilevered chair design that was considered the height of Modernist innovation at the time.
Garpa has taken the original concept, which embraced minimalist simplicity and geometric purity, and weatherproofed it so you can appreciate the design icon in the warmth of your garden on a sunny afternoon. Sculptured teak slats provide luxurious comfort while the satin steel frame provides a springy liberating feeling of floating. Bolero chairs also stack for easy storage.
Strandkorb, or “beach basket”, calls to mind the Danish principle of hygge, which loosely translates to “coziness” or “comfort”. This self-sufficient beach chair module provides a luxurious retreat from both the chill of spring or autumn, and the intensity of the summer sun.
This style of hooded wicker beach chair has been a ubiquitous sight at seafront resorts across Northern Europe since the start of the 20th century. Constructed from solid teak and synthetic wicker, the Strandkorb is available in three summery all-weather fabric selections. Optional wheels provide mobility while extending foot compartments make it easy to stretch out and offer space for concealed storage.
Integrated details include a book bag and two fold-out teak trays that serve as extra surfaces for work or a meal. If your eyes begin to feel heavy after a relaxing day outdoors, the multitalented chair smoothly transforms from an upright two-seater to a flat double lounger with the simple pull of a handle.
Looking Forward to the Next 40 Years!
These are only a few selections from the many Garpa collections we currently have at www.curranonline.com. Check out this video from Garpa showing many of their garden furniture pieces in action from a garden party celebrating their 40th Anniversary Celebration in 2019 at their headquarters in Escheburg, Germany.
Paul is the Outdoor Furniture Storyteller at Curran and sisalcarpet.com. For the past 2 years he has been focused on crafting content that helps connect those who enjoy the finer things in life with heirloom outdoor furniture pieces. With over a decade of experience in e-commerce and web publishing, he envisions Curran as a comprehensive destination for building dream outdoor spaces. His favorite furniture style? Mid-Century Modern (it kind of encompasses a little bit of everything :D).