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Dedon, the European housewares company, makes furniture fit for a king. Kings, actually - as well as movie stars and the occasional pope.
Accompanied by a team of Israeli journalists, Dedon representatives toured company headquarters last month to emphasize their furniture's handcrafted quality and durability. Among their comments were references to the former king of Greece, who joins Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania in showcasing the brand at home. Pope John Paul II was once a customer, as is Brad Pitt, who had seven of the firm's signature Orbit "sofa-islands" flown to his Los Angeles home last year.
Dedon officials were recently in Israel for the Ramat Gan unveiling of the company's newest collections, which will become available to the public later this year through Tollman's, Dedon's carrier in Israel.
Headquartered in Luneberg, Germany, Dedon began operations in 1990 as the brainchild of Bobby Dekeyser, a former Bayern Munich goalie. The brand has evolved dramatically in the past 16 years, and today specializes in stylish furniture durable enough for the outdoors but elegant enough to put in the dining room. Each item is the product of hours of careful craftsmanship by teams of workers who undergo six months of training at the Dedon factory in the Philipines.
"Our furniture has a soul," says Dekeyser.
The company's Luneberg facility is a testament to Dekeyser's commitment to his workers, with workout and other leisure facilities spread around the compound for the designers, marketing team and production line technicians. Lunch is provided daily for the entire staff in the company dining hall by Dedon's trained Italian chef.
Its regard for employee morale is just one of Dedon's distinguishing features. Every Dedon item is made with hundreds of meters of Hularo, the trademarked fiber designed, tested and produced at the company's Luneberg headquarters. The facility includes sophisticated quality control machines that subject the Hularo to years' worth of heat, UV rays and potential water damage in a matter of hours. Material that passes inspection is then spooled and shipped to the Dedon plant in Cebu.
Once there, Hularo is woven by hand to create a variety of lounge chairs, dining tables, footrests and couches. Produced in a number of colors, Hularo can resemble stainless steel, wicker and other materials. Throw pillows and cushions fitted to the furniture create comfortable, attractive options.
Top designers are responsible for the company's newest line of furniture. Key pieces include Daydream - a couch for sunbathing or indoor relaxation that can be covered with a distinctive and attractive canopy.
Also copyrighted is the collection's most original and eye-catching design, Obelisk. A truly unique creation, Obelisk resembles the Egyptian structure after which it is named. The difference, however, is that this Obelisk breaks down into parts fit for a living room or outdoor seating area: four large, curving chairs and a small table that make a comfortable setting for sharing drinks and socializing. When space is needed indoors or outside, the pieces can easily be fit together and stacked, reforming the Obelisk - a structure sure to provoke curiosity from guests.
Conceived in northern Europe, Dedon furniture is perhaps better suited to Israel, where so much of the year is ideal for relaxing outside. Orbit, a large circular chair with a high back on one side, can be set outdoors in the summer or moved into a bedroom or living room as a comfortable reading spot during the winter. With a half-canopy that can be extended over the seat, Orbit can shade its occupant from the sun or provide a sense of intimacy to a child and parent reading a story before bedtime. With the canopy removed, the piece would look perfectly appropriate under an impressive wall hanging, or beside an elaborately set table.
With designs and colors ranging from sleekly modern to understated and naturalistic, Dedon furnishings enhance almost any room in the home - or the balcony or deck.
The writer was a guest at the company's headquarters in Luneberg, Germany.