The arrival of Indian Ocean on the furniture design scene in 1990 coincided with a shift in the way we design, use and view our outdoor living spaces.
Design that links indoor with out, via a series of seamlessly flowing spaces, has become de rigueur for stylish, affluent owners, and Indian Ocean has played its part in this lifestyle change. A privately owned British company, it designs and produces luxurious outdoor furniture and creates design concepts for your balcony, country garden, outdoor kitchen or superyacht.
Co-founder and managing director, Jamie Hobbs, gave up his job in the City aged 26 in order to start the business. At the time, his father was the Honorary Consul to Madagascar, and Jamie had acquired an insider’s view of what this beautiful island nation had to offer. One day he stumbled across a factory that made high quality, oversized teak parasols – unlike anything he had seen before. He launched as an importer of these, following up with a complementary collection of teak garden furniture, and named the business Indian Ocean in homage to its primary inspiration.
Elegant, comfortable ‘heritage’ pieces remain part of the core collection. So does a commitment to the finest quality materials, detail and high-spec finishes.
But – over 25 years on from its simple beginnings – the brand has gone higher-octane. Edgy, contemporary designs to furnish a variety of outside spaces including kitchens, outdoor lighting, electric sunshades and other accoutrements for modern outdoor living, all now form part of the collection, which can be viewed at Indian Ocean’s two London stores (Balham and Hampstead) and at Harrods. Orders are fulfilled from a British-based warehouse, via a team that specialises in old-fashioned customer service.
‘Each piece,’ says Hobbs, ‘begins with our desire to combine the pleasures of tradition with excellence in design, comfort and practicality – based on how we use our outdoor spaces today. An initial concept can take up to two years to perfect: from sketch to model, then on to the sample stage before it passes the tough criteria to become part of a new collection. We love pieces with “wow” factor too – just to add a fun element to life outdoors.’
Having grown its expertise in shipping overseas to clients’ second (or third) homes, in 2016 Indian Ocean embarked on establishing a network of international representatives.
The products now have a presence in Cannes, Cairo and the Algarve – with more locations to come. The company regularly exhibits at the must-do design trade show Maison & Objet, and is also showing at the Boutique Design Show in New York. Numbering 30 staff in London, Indian Ocean is small and agile enough to be able to respond in a direct and personalised way to the special requests of its A-list client base. Someone from the design and planning service can be with you in a whisper, measuring up your garden and presenting innovative, bespoke design solutions. Just what the modern sophisticate needs, in other words, to be at the forefront of stylish outdoor living.
INDIAN OCEAN 155–163 BALHAM HILL, LONDON SW12 9DJ +44 (0)20 8675 4808