Fabrics centre-stage at world's biggest design fair

Salone del Moblile in Milan is the world’s interior forum and it’s emphasis on texture this year has placed fabrics to the fore in any new decorative scheme, writes Carol O’Callaghan.

Fabrics centre-stage at world's biggest design fair

Salone del Moblile in Milan is the world’s interior forum and it’s emphasis on texture this year has placed fabrics to the fore in any new decorative scheme, writes Carol O’Callaghan.

Interior design aficionados, it’s time to sit up and take notice as the trend spotters at Italy’s Salone del Mobile Milano have pronounced on new looks for the remainder of the year and into 2019.

It’s just in time, too, when we’re considering a springtime change of curtains and a little stripping off of worn-out, wine-stained upholstery, while entertaining thoughts of a new bale of cheery cushions to replace the winter’s colour scheme.

Colour and pattern remain the in-looks in interiors, although what’s in and what’s out of fashion is specific.

So, it’s arrivederci to those ditsy, saccharine florals, damasks, and copper effects — chevron patterns are officially binned too.

A variety of patterns here include the Greek meander in a pink and green colourway for an up to date look. Fabrics are from the Eggplant collection by Thibault - bench in Ming Trail Woven ( €175 p/m), cushions in Carlotta and Bijou (€95 p/m). From Kevin Kelly Interiors.

A variety of patterns here include the Greek meander in a pink and green colourway for an up to date look. Fabrics are from the Eggplant collection by Thibault - bench in Ming Trail Woven ( €175 p/m), cushions in Carlotta and Bijou (€95 p/m). From Kevin Kelly Interiors.

Instead, it’s time to say ciao to warm colours and patterns, ranging from new takes on botanicals — including dramatic florals, birds, bees and butterflies — to an emphasis on the growing trend for geometrics.

Rich traditional velvets and satins are revived with contemporary applications to modern sofas and chairs — and there’s a new development with Asian-inspired design moving to the fore of the western mindset and following on the more familiar, Scandinavian influences.

Top billing, though, must go to botanicals. It’s an off-shoot of everyone going house plant mad last year when we couldn’t get enough of palms, succulents and spiky cacti. Now, while we may have successfully killed them off through neglect or overwatering, we can continue to enjoy the notion of plants indoors in the form of botanical-bedecked fabrics, which give us the look without the responsibility.

Manuel Canovas fabric graces the Brissac Canard covered sofa (€111 p/m), with the Gramont Celadon (€170 p/m) featured in the chair. The upholstered stool is covered in the Bellecombe Corail botanical print (€144 p/m). Available from Paul & Co.

Manuel Canovas fabric graces the Brissac Canard covered sofa (€111 p/m), with the Gramont Celadon (€170 p/m) featured in the chair. The upholstered stool is covered in the Bellecombe Corail botanical print (€144 p/m). Available from Paul & Co.

Keeping the look sophisticated is key to the success of this theme, unlike the exotic tropical blooms we’ve seen so much of since last summer.

While geometric pattern is everywhere, the blinding, multiple zig-zag chevron which your mind keeps seeing long after you’ve closed your eyes, is decidedly out of fashion. More relaxing circles are in, along with hexagons, triangles and the meander shape borrowed from ancient Greek art. Think pillows and bedding or an easy going footstool as a focus for their application and as the perfect antidote in all their angularity, to puffed up upholstery jobs.

Pink and green, as the colour combination of the moment, has been transported from the 1980s and is not quite as it once was. Versions in salmon and sage hues are taking on the modern hipster look by expanding the palette to include a touch of charcoal grey or black, designed to mitigate any possibility of a saccharine outcome.

Speaking of green, it’s a colour which has really come into its own this year, especially in plush velvet upholstery.

Nothing pastel here —but forest ferny tones and emerald green combined with pops of gold and chrome in chair frame work and accompanying occasional tables.

Even the typically restrained Scandinavians have been buying into this look. Did you see Issey Miyake’s Emerald cushion for Skandium? It ties nicely into the trend for Asian design meeting Scandi chic, and is the result of a collaborative effort between the famous Japanese fashion designer and Finnish homeware maker Iittala.

Next up is a look which involves gold upholstery and might justifiably be called bling, especially as last time we saw a gold sofa that didn’t come out of Versailles, Saddam Hussein was sitting on it in his Babylonian palace.

The Muse selection from Zoffany demonstates how the maximalist look can be achieved with elegance (sofa in Brik €147 p/m, curtains in Hepworth €100 p/m, stools in Brook €126 p/m, chairs in Leighton €157 p/m). From Aoki Interiors.

The Muse selection from Zoffany demonstates how the maximalist look can be achieved with elegance (sofa in Brik €147 p/m, curtains in Hepworth €100 p/m, stools in Brook €126 p/m, chairs in Leighton €157 p/m). From Aoki Interiors.

It’s all part of a new movement in interior design called maximalism — an aesthetic of excess, if you will. Just picture Donald Trump and Saddam’s interior designers indulging in a creative collaboration— maximalism would surely prevail.

We can forget our delicate, barely-there pastels and gentle patterns, and set about the ditching the restraint of Marie Kondo and her minimalist credo.

Maximalism is the polar opposite, with a vivacity which urges us to embrace big and bold colour combinations and dramatic pattern, often clashing.

Happily, it’s taken the sophistication of a fabric company like Zoffany to show how it ought to be done, which, as it happens, is supremely well indeed, with a fabric weft and weave technique toning down gold fabric’s garish potential.

Adding in some elegant styling with deep toned velvet drapery contributes to a dramatic but pleasing outcome.

So it can be done with taste, but it’s a tricky one to get right all the same. Best to gen up on it before indulging.

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