top of page

Why Marco Polo?

Marco Polo Furnishings products are manufactured with meticulous attention to detail to be high quality, durable, and long-lasting.

Unlike many internet-based businesses: Marco Polo Furnishings is located in Western Canada.  Many companies use selling tactics that show websites that look like they are from “Alberta” or “Canada” where they’re actually from the US and/or the pricing is all in US dollars.

In addition, Marco Polo is not hiding behind the quote system, if you are looking to get a budget price on chairs, our list prices are posted on our website.  If you would like us to quote on a larger quantity of chairs, we can do that for you, giving you a price break based on the quantity.

Differences between retail and commercial quality

Commercial furniture is often crafted with heavy use in mind. It can withstand environmental changes, like being moved often or jostled around. The materials we use are higher quality and durable to provide a long life span. The goal with commercial furniture is to aim to replace it every ten years, meaning that the designs are typically more neutral and less eye-catching since they need to be fluid enough to adapt to different trends.

Residential furniture isn’t created with sturdy materials and usually has flashier designs that aim to follow trends and be more stylish. The pricing is lower on these, making them great for a residential setting where you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to replace a broken storage unit.

How often do you sit on the dining chairs in your home?  If you’re like most people, the answer is probably an hour or less per day.  Contrast that to restaurants, bars, and other hospitality industry establishments where the furniture is likely to be in use for up to 10-12 hours per day, every day.  Getting ten times, or even more, usage than a typical residential chair means that commercial furniture is subjected to far more stress in its lifetime.  That stress can weaken the integrity of the chair if not properly constructed.  While you and your family and friends are the only ones sitting on your dining chairs, commercial furniture is used by people of all shapes and sizes.  In fact, most commercial chairs are weight tested up to 300 pounds, and some can accommodate much more.

The difference between commercial and residential furniture has nothing to do with looks, although residential furniture is often considered more aesthetically pleasing.  Instead, it’s all about construction.  Commercial furniture has to withstand continuous usage and abuse at the hands of customers and staff, because of that, it is built with heavier materials.  Commercial manufacturers typically use 16 or 18 gauge steel instead of the 22 or 24 gauge found in retail furniture.

Commercial furniture often costs more than residential furniture and is less expensive when you consider cost per use.  Commercial furniture can easily get 10 times or more usage than residential furniture, and it often costs only 2-3 times as much, making it very cost-effective for restaurants, bars, resorts, and offices.

Furniture Certification

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) is a US-based association that provides voluntary product and industry standards that apply to general purpose furniture such as our restaurant wood chairs. Compliance with these standards is strictly voluntary and requires a variety of different types of tests to be passed before compliance is approved.

Some of the tests that restaurant furniture is required to pass for compliance are listed below, including the results as they relate to the products sold by Marco Polo:

The BIFMA Test Summary:

  • Back Rest Strength -150 lbf. Functional - PASS, 250lbf. Proof with no loss of serviceability to the chair.

  • Drop Test -225 lb. Functional Drop Weight- PASS, 300 lb. Proof Drop Weight with no structural breakage or loss of serviceability.

  • Seating Impact Test - 165 lbs. 100,000 cycles with no loss of serviceability to the chair after completion of both the Impact and Load Ease tests.

  • Stability Test - Front- 21 lbf. to tip, Rear - 45 lbf. to tip resulting in the chair not tipping over as a result of the force application.

  • Back Durability Test 75 lbf. Applied to back - 80,000 cycles with no structural breakage or loss of serviceability.

  • Leg Strength Test - 150 lbf. Functional Load - PASS 250 lbf. Proof Load with no loss of serviceability to the chair.

The BIFMA standards are voluntary, this means that not all manufacturers invest the time and money required to manufacture their furniture to these higher standards. When purchasing chairs from Marco Polo Furnishings you know that they are made to last and withstand the heavy daily use that is part of the hospitality industry.

Outdoor Furniture - Materials and Care

How to clean: Brush off loose dirt, spray on a cleaning solution of water and mild soap, use a soft bristle brush to clean, allow cleaning solution to soak into the fabric, rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed, air dry.  Customers have also had good results washing the cover only in a washing machine with cold water with products like Oxy-Clean which are extremely gentle on fabrics.  Do not put cushions in dryer and never wash the interior foam in the washing machine.
Mildew and/or mold:  Mildew grows on dirt, pollen and other organic matter, so simple routine cleanings will prevent mildew from forming.
Abrasion: Refers to surface wear on fabric caused by rubbing, which can shorten the life of the fabric. Our performance fabrics are abrasion-resistant and designed to withstand this surface wear.

Resin Wicker
Known as all-weather wicker, is manufactured predominantly for use in outdoor patio furniture. It is meant to look like natural wicker, but is actually synthetic material. Many resin wicker products on the market are manufactured with lower cost polyethylene or PVC. This product has a similar look to our product, but it will not hold up in the long term, will not recover from being repeatedly or consistently stretched, and will not last as long under UV light like the sun.  Marco Polo uses High-density Polypropylene (HDPP) in all of its products. It is known for its durability and has been tested extensively in many industries as the standard in low temperature and/or harsh conditions. The product is designed to be left outside for years with no fading or stretching. As an example of how durable the product is: "HDPE is preferred by the pyrotechnics trade for mortars over steel or PVC tubes, being more durable and safer."

Resin Cleaning
For general cleaning, gently wipe the resin with a dry, clean, lint-free cloth lightly wet with a soap and water mixture.  For deeper dirt etc, use a soft-bristle brush with soap and water.  Avoid using abrasive products as they may damage the resin and cause breaks in the weave.


Resinwood / Polystyrene (PS) Slats
Our resinwood products are virtually maintenance free due to the fact that  they have exceptional resistance to fading, moisture, insects, splintering, and other common outcomes from environmental stress that one observes with treated lumber or wood fiber composite products.

Care and Maintenance
Washing regularly the top with soap and water to remove dirt and debris. Do not leave empty glasses on resinwood surfaces under direct sunlight. Doing so may cause sun damage to the surface. Resinwood is made with polystyrene and due to its unique nature, severe and direct sunlight may cause sun damage.

Marco Polo products use all aluminum frames that are welded with aluminum bead. This alleviates the common issue with lower cost furniture where the frames are steel or aluminum with steel welds - they rust in a short period of time and can stain your deck or in the worst case become unusable/unsafe. Our product has a longer lifetime because of this. Aluminum is very light and even the largest chairs can be moved by one person. We used a minimum wall of 1.5 mm and only use commercial grade aluminum.

Umbrellas and bases
You get the same benefits as our cushion fabric with its weather resistance.  For best results store the umbrella inside during the winter months.

The pole for our umbrellas are made with powder coated aluminum with 3.5mm thick walls. The ribs are resistant to bending caused by wind and weather.  Most umbrellas should be put away (down and tied) for windy weather conditions. The ribs are also made from powder coated aluminum and unlike many other brands on umbrellas, we used 8 rib instead of 6 (umbrellas with 6 tend to show sagging between the ribs, indicative of lower end retail umbrellas).



Indoor Furniture - Materials and Care

Fabric Cleaning

Vinyl - For general cleaning, gently wipe the vinyl with a dry, clean lint-free cloth. For tougher stains, use a soft-bristled brush in a warm water and soap mixture.  Do not use detergents as this can change the look and feel of the vinyl.  Wipe the loosened stain off with a lint-free cloth.
Leather - For general cleaning, gently wipe the vinyl with a dry, clean lint-free cloth. For tougher stains, wet a dry, lint-free cloth with soap and water and gently dab the impacted area.  Do not scrub.   Allow the area to dry naturally.
Fabric/Upholstery - For general cleaning, gently wipe the fabric with a dry, clean lint-free cloth.  Vacuum up the entire fabric area to remove any dust/dirt/debris that may be hidden in the upholstery.  For tough stains, dip a clean lint-free cloth in a water-based fabric cleaning agent and gently rub the area where the stain is.  Dry the upholstery with a clean lint-free cloth once finished.

Aluminum Frame
Aluminum is a light and tough metal with an excellent strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance - making it an ideal material for outdoor furniture. The aluminum is coated with an electro-statically applied, powder coat finish. The electro-static application method ensures 100% coverage of the metal’s surface area and provides a consistent and tough finish that far exceeds other conventional paint finishes. The resulting finish is knock and scratch resistant, impervious to moisture, and highly resistant to corrosion and rust.

Steel Frame
Lighter than wrought iron but heavier than aluminum, steel provides strength, stability, and endurance for designs requiring thinner components like legs. Powder-coated finishes aid in rust resistance. Typically used for framing high-end modern chairs and bistro-style seats, steel is also often used for retro designs and zero-gravity loungers.


Baked on Wood-like or Patterned
Chairs with a wood-look are our normal aluminum frames with a vinyl finish (printed to look like wood) that is baked to harden the vinyl and adhere it to the metal.  If the baking method is not used, vinyl has a tendency to peel or roll.  Baked finishes, just like most other metal coverings can chip if banged with sufficient force.  The great part of the wood-look vinyl is you can use the same “repair” processes that are used with wood - wax “markers” over the location and some slight touch up to match the grain of the wood.  And all this for a much longer lifespan than wood with none of the moisture-related weakness of wood.

Anodized finish vs Powder Coat
Anodizing is an inorganic finish, while powder coating is an organic finish. Powder coatings are some of the best organic finishes (paints) on the market. However, they cannot withstand the same abuse as inorganic finishes, such as plating or anodizing. Inorganic finishes have a superior hardness and scratch resistance properties when compare to organic finishes. Corrosion resistance is also better with inorganic finishes.

Why doesn’t Marco Polo make chairs with Chrome or Nickel plating?
Besides the high cost, chrome or nickel plating have many hazardous waste products that are inherent to the application process.  In addition, there is a tremendous amount of weight added through this process.

Powder-coated or iodized aluminum should require very little maintenance, other than to gently clean with water and a mild liquid detergent to remove any dirt or splashes. A microfibre cloth or sponge should be used to wipe over the surfaces of the furniture. Removing surface water with a drying cloth (like you would use on your car) will help avoid water spots. Avoid using any abrasive cleaning agents or materials, as these could mark the surface of the powder coat. Do not use steel wool or Scotchbrite on powder-coated surfaces.


Melamine vs Laminate
Melamine is the glue used to saturate the layers of paper transformed into a solid, plastic surface through thermal fusion. It’s available in a variety of colors and finishes. However, it fails when moisture or water is involved. The board it is bonded on also had voids at the end, thus necessitating an edge-banding to cover the area. Melamine is a great option if you’re looking to value engineer products that are meant to have up to a 5-year lifespan.

Laminate is when sheets of paper, mostly kraft paper soaked in plastic resin are placed under 1400 psi on a substrate. While laminate can be a bit more expensive, it is more durable to moisture, chemicals, heat, and impact resistance.

Installation (if required)
Some items are sold to be mounted by an installer or contractor.  Most products do not have indications of how to achieve these installations as they are done to an industry standard.

For general cleaning, gently wipe the laminate with a dry, clean lint-free cloth web with a vinegar and water mixture.  For stains, make sure to completely dry the pooled liquid on the surface.  Wet a clean, lint-free cloth in a soap and water mixture and gently rub the stained area in the direction of the grain.  After the stain is removed, following the general cleaning process above to clear the soap residue from the top.  DO NOT use bleach-based cleaners, waxes, oils or furniture polish as this may compromise the integrity of the laminate.

bottom of page