Outdoor Design Innovation: Adapting to Consumer Needs

In the latest episode of Archispeak, hosts Evan Troxel and Cormac Phalen are back with a dynamic duo of guests. Scott Selzer, CEO and founder of StruXure and Bromic’s very own, Scott Smith, CEO of the Bromic Group joins in on the conversation. These industry titans, renowned for their engineering prowess and leadership excellence, come together for an engaging and insightful discussion on the hottest trends in outdoor living and heating solutions. Don’t miss this compelling conversation that’s set to redefine your perspective on outdoor innovation! 

About S. Selzer

Scott Selzer is the CEO of StruXure, a leader in innovative outdoor living products. Originally a teacher, Selzer co-founded Schools Out Construction during summer breaks, eventually shifting to the building products industry full-time in 2008. He founded Struxure after identifying a market need for versatile outdoor coverings and has since expanded the company across North America. Selzer states, “if you/we can keep them comfortable, they’re going to stay outside longer.”  

In 2021, StruXure was acquired by AZEK Building Products. Under Selzer’s leadership, the company continues to innovate, with developments like Struxure+, a system that integrates and controls various outdoor devices. Selzer accredits his background and passion of teaching in his leadership and mentorship style. 

About S. Smith

Scott Smith is the CEO and co-founder of Bromic Group, an Australian company renowned for its innovative heating solutions. With over 40 years in business, Bromic ventured into outdoor heating in 2008, launching Bromic Heating. Smith, an engineer by trade, recognized the inefficiencies and dangers of traditional outdoor heaters and sought to develop a better solution. This led to the creation of more efficient and safer outdoor heaters, significantly improving outdoor comfort. 

Smith states, “our desire has always been to see people happy, whether that be in a commercial or residential point, allow families, allow colleagues, whoever else it would be, to enjoy the space in the outdoors because it offers so much.” Under Smith’s leadership, Bromic Heating expanded from Australia to North America and beyond, now operating in 24 countries. The company focuses on enhancing outdoor living experiences, ensuring people can enjoy outdoor spaces year-round. Smith’s vision and dedication have positioned Bromic as a global leader in outdoor heating, catering to both commercial and residential markets. 

Outdoor Trends Post Covid

2020 was a year that changed the world, noticeably in outdoor spaces such as al fresco dining, new found liking to outdoor areas and more. It became a lasting positive leading to an increased desire for well-designed outdoor spaces. This shift has paved the way for innovative concepts like “productizing” outdoor spaces, as noted by host Troxel. Similar to Ikea furniture, the assembly of items for outdoor spaces such as a pergola kit help to streamline outdoor amenities to become more accessible for the everyday residential owner. As outdoor spaces grow residentially and commercially, both sectors see a growing trend towards incorporating high-end amenities into outdoor spaces, noted by Scott Smith. “It should provide comfort to areas in a seamless manner without being an objectionable circumstance in it. It should blend into the environment and create and allow your design or an architect’s design to take over for the user and just create an environment that they want to stay in. Because that’s where the comfort comes from being warm or cool or shaded in an environment.” 

Innovation Opening Doors

With product design, user experience, and consumer-driven approach, this has led the market for amenities and appliances such as heating to enter in other markets some may not have thought of. These markets include maritime travel, or the healthcare sector. Healthcare professionals have recognized the benefits of outdoor spaces for rehabilitation and aged care, leading to the integration of heating and shading solutions in these settings. Both companies faced the challenge of catering to diverse markets, from high-end residential backyards to large commercial settings. Selzer emphasized the need for flexible products that serve both residential and commercial clients, while Smith highlighted the growing demand in mixed-use residential spaces, which now feature amenities like gaming rooms, work pods, pet spas, and communal areas. This trend of comfort in the outdoor space presents new challenges, but exciting and rewarding opportunities for product development. 

Collaboration, Conception, Completion

A well-designed and completed project is often backed by a team that has communicated efficiently and collaborated with all parties involved. Both Bromic and Struxure emphasize the importance of engaging with design teams early in the project lifecycle, providing design assistance and educational support to ensure successful integration and implementation of products. Bromic focuses on integrating heating solutions within various architectural constraints, while Struxure offers design consultations and educational sessions to optimize product use. The design assist services from both companies streamline the design process and enhance the quality of outcomes, helping architects deliver well-informed and efficient solutions to clients through a collaborative approach. Host Evan Troxel also noted that it saves time and creates a more efficient timeline with having an expert in the matter rather than trying to second guess. This then delivers informed solutions to clients. 

User Demand and Tech Integration

Bluetooth-enabled devices, automated controllers, and other wireless appliances are transforming outdoor spaces into tech-driven environments, creating a luxurious and resort-like feel. This technology not only enhances comfort but also blends amenities seamlessly into the surroundings, creating perfect micro-environments that are both beautiful and functional. These advancements allow users to control various elements and amenities, elevating the outdoor experience to a new level of immersion. Selzer envisions smart, customizable outdoor environments that offer more immersive experiences. This rapidly evolving landscape in outdoor design, marked by technological integration, promises boundless potential for creativity and transformation. Both Selzer and Smith note that these advancements drive the engineering and creation of their products. 

Sustainability and the Future

As the podcast comes to a wrap, the discussion shifts towards sustainability in outdoor spaces. Smith highlights Bromic’s commitment to green practices and efficient outdoor heating solutions. Scott Selzer underscores StruXure’s sustainability efforts, highlighting their use of recycled materials and their parent company’s investments in recycling, emphasizing their eco-friendly approach in manufacturing aluminum pergolas. At the end, it all ties into collaboration, communication with others and striving to make a better future.