Fabrics are every designer´s friend. They add warmth, colour and texture to a room while seducing people with their touchy feely qualities. A chair or sofa can be completely transformed with new upholstery; if the cost of labour and material prove too prohibitive for some budgets, then a few cushions or throws may do the job. Drapes help to frame windows and enhance views while providing privacy and shade when required. And while many opt to go a conservative route with solid coloured textiles in a neutral shade, consider making an impact with patterned fabrics that tell a story. Like its owner, every home deserves a good narrative.
Retro remains on trend in furnishings and the lava lamp groove extends to fabrics. Most people are familiar with Charles and Ray Eames´ Molded Plywood Armchair and Ottoman, first introduced in 1956. Its recognisable form has been the darling of many chic movie and TV interiors, including 11 years in a prominent spot on Frasier. The American husband and wife duo also designed upholstery, and explored their fascination with science, math and their repetitive sequences in nature through their creations.
Ray Eames, a graphics designer by training, created Dot Pattern in 1947 as a sort of homage to the molecular compositions of things. It is interpreted as an upholstery fabric available in four colours and sheer drapery available in negative and positive impressions through American fabric company Maharam, distributed in Hong Kong via Fabricnation. The Eames also designed Circles and Crosspatch, two upholstery textiles that examined geometry; meanwhile, a couch upholstered in Sea Things is like a scuba diver´s wet dream.
French fashion brand Paul & Joe has recently expanded into home fashions through Madura at 33 Wellington Street. Its founder, Sophie Mechaly, introduced two collections of fabrics for drapery, linens and throw cushions at Paris Fashion Week last September. Named after Mechaly´s two sons, Paul & Joe has come a long way from being a shirt company founded in the ´80s by her parents. Today, the brand offers men´s, women´s and girls´ apparel and accessories as well as cosmetics and skincare products, all imbued with the brand´s breezy aesthetic. That freshness now extends to textiles for the home.
The Quintessentially British collection was inspired by hunting scenes and the great English outdoors, and features a neutral ground with depictions of country manors, formal gardens and horses in pastoral settings. Meanwhile, Midnight Garden utilises darker hues of deep blue and burgundies with peonies and other floral patterns to evoke the romance associated with starry nights.
Handcrafted Tibetan rugs were the inspiration for Richard Smith´s No. 9 Collection for Bangkok-based textiles company Jim Thompson, available in Hong Kong at Altfield (www.altfield.com.hk). Although the 1990 original exhibition that Smith saw in London´s Hayward Gallery sparked his interest, research over the next 25 years or so resulted in images well beyond animals to yield geometric prints in delicate shades similar to watercolour paintings.
The collection consists of nine textiles in cotton and linen blends for upholstery, drapery, wall hangings and table runners. Two complementary embroidered border tapes are ideal for neatly finishing curtains or throw cushions. Tiger Tiger is a twill pattern with an equal blend of linen and cotton and features impressionistic tigers set within a bamboo forest finished by a fret border. Lhasa is another cotton and linen blend with the painterly geometric patterns of a trellis. Satori, made from 100 percent linen, is a series of bold stripes that melt into one another. The patterns come in three or four colourways and were designed to work together harmoniously to create some jungle fever at home.