Textile design: Simplicity and elegance are never out of style

Textile trends are being influenced by a strong desire for comfort and practicality as we head into 2017. Designers in the Middle East are seeking out items that enhance the environment practically – through technical advancements in textiles – as well as aesthetically, for both commercial and residential projects.

Subtle textures and a paired-back colour range help to create a haven in changing times, says Jessica Fitzgerald, product manager with Wilson Fabrics. The company’s fabrics are regularly specified by interior designers and property developers, and its Boston window-blind fabric was recently selected for the Sheikh’s Executive Office in Dubai’s Emirates Towers.

“In terms of window furnishings, the palette remains minimal. Customers tend to stick to safe neutrals and charcoals when decorating their interiors. There is, however, a shift towards tinted neutrals and pastels, [which create] a calm and inviting aesthetic,” Fitzgerald explains.

“Moody hues, such as indigo and emerald, continue to be popular amongst the brave in drapery, as well as a hint of metallic gold, champagne, copper, and silver. In terms of pattern and design for window furnishing, the shift is more towards subtle textures and traditional damasks and plains,” she continues.

“For 2017, we are really focusing on products that can provide our customers with an evocative range that incorporates all the technical elements of our existing range without overcomplicating the style, and encouraging a relaxed look.”

Block-out fabrics that offer protection from the sun, and sheer fabrics that help soften the overall look of the interior, creating movement in the space, are always popular in this market, according to Fitzgerald, who adds that Wilson’s linen-look fabrics also continue to be popular, with the addition of “a slight sheen to the product through metallic yarns, which evolves this current trend into something a little more elegant and refined”.

General manager of Wilson Fabrics Middle East, Pamela Opie, agrees, adding that whites and neutrals are popular colours chosen by commercial interior designers. “We are also seeing a trend for hotels to move away from using separate lining fabrics, and we are getting many requests for our block-out coated drapery fabrics, which mean hotels can usually install one less hanging rail in each window.”

Wilson supplies block-out coated drapery fabrics with fire resistance (FR) credentials, another practical consideration that Opie says is gaining precedence rapidly with designers in the region. The firm recently launched Atlantis, its first fabric woven with FR yarn. Using 100% polyester and combining both matte and shiny finishes, it is a three-dimensional, tonal, jacquard fabric.

“Clients are now understanding that FR certificates and treatments done by the fabric manufacturer are longer-lasting and more reliable than treatments done post production. We now carry FR-inherent yarn in stock in our factory in Australia, and our most popular ranges can now be woven using FR yarns,” Opie says.

This awareness of inherent and engineered fibre properties, yarn and fabric features, is vital, agrees Amita Oza, marketing and sales manager at Rame, which has a portfolio of projects that includes the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Intercontinental Hotel in Fujairah, the Al Khatlan Residence in Saudi Arabia, and work currently underway at the Ritz Carlton Beach and Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah.

Recent additions to Rame’s collection include performance upholstery contract fabrics and LEED credit certified fabrics from UK brand, Robert Allen, and the Modern Palace range by Spain’s Gancedo Fabrics.

Oza explains: “It is an ethical responsibility for choosing textiles that meet all applicable industry and government standards and codes, particularly performance standards and life safety codes.”

Also with a strong foothold in the UAE market, York Furnishing works on projects ranging from residential to hospitality and commercial, including several new hotels and restaurants in Dubai, where the company’s fabrics are used in drapery, upholstery, wall coverings, and soft furnishings, both indoors and outdoors.

When it comes to commercial interiors, the company’s business development manager, Lucy Anne Perrin, says that plains and textures always reign supreme. “The classic trend is always nude, beige, and golden tones, which can be lifted with textures or a contemporary print,” she says. “I feel the
reason for this is because they want to keep things simple and chic, but bring across hints of personality and design flair through smaller furnishings, such as cushions and wall coverings.”

In 2017, prominent trends will include neutral and earthy tones, natural textures, and “boho chic patterns”, either separately or working together, according to Perrin. “A lot of hospitality projects I am dealing with are specifying fabric with earth tones and rich textures, as well as with boho prints. This applies to outdoor facilities as well as indoors,” she explains.

For hospitality and commercial interiors, the indoor and outdoor upholstery fabric, Sunbrella – which is exclusively distributed by York in the Middle East – is Perrin’s top pick: “It is a perfect fabric for hospitality as it comes with technicalities that [prevent] it from fading in sunlight, it is easily cleaned, and is water resistant.

“I’m a huge fan of classic fabrics like velvet and damask – they are always going to create an illusion of glamour and decadence, but I also love to specify linens and textures for a more earthy look,” she concludes.