The pursuit of relaxation has become especially necessary in the current South African environment.  For most of us in our residential lifestyles, chilling out and kicking back is an essential affair.

In this, Habitat’s annual FOCUS feature on contemporary seating and upholstery, we showcase the ever widening scale of choice in South Africa’s major centres. As is our established direction, designers and manufacturers provide foretelling opinions on both local and international trends. Cover image by @home

It’s accepted that a positive seating solution incorporates two elements: aesthetics and comfort; and that the latter involves ergonomics. This is a best of both worlds scenario and ideally, the result should conjure a contemporary statement, yet without fashionable additives and decorative confectionary.

Today’s sofas, unit seating systems, comfortable occasional chairs and recliners are often favourite pieces – almost cherished. Their arrangements are sited in areas where families and singles relax, eat meals, use digital devices and even work. We humans of all ages, doze and recline, or even lay down, very often contemplating screens of various dimensions. We have been digitalised at home and are now being seated to suit what has become a rapidly changing lifestyle.

Italian manufacturer Porada adds comment on behalf of SA agents maldini about looks and trends for 2019: ‘Domestic environments are designed with the idea of a personal, secure place in which to recover from daily stress and digital overwhelming. This current direction is highly influencing the furniture and interior field as the space – and each piece contained within – must welcome and accommodate. Therefore, seats are soft, oversized, enclosing.

‘Again, linking to our need for well-being and sustainability and in opposition to the over-digitalisation of daily tasks, fabrics (and actually materials in general) are characterised by surfaces that are of tactile interest, such as embroidered textiles, wool bouclé, tweed, linen, organic cotton and other weaves with a 3D / embossed texture. A particular case is that of vegetable-derived leather and suede: there has been, for example, some experimentation with apple-based leather, miming the evergreen upholstery material, but as a sustainable option.’

Bearing this in mind, and waving the banner for modernism, Habitat champions contemporary furniture: line and form that rejects conformity and interrogates both style and function; if not multifunction.

What is most relevant in contemporary seating, and its fit in current living spaces?

‘Sofas are of course the main player in the living room, the space where we humans spend most of our time, and we’re seeing a strong return to comfort as the main element of any sofa,’ so says Aldon
of True Design, ‘Colourways are becoming defiantly dramatic: deep greens, yellows and burgundy; with an alternative of soft patterns – very Japanese – i.e. futon and printed linens with Ikebana graphics. Softness is taking centre stage, it’s a move back towards feel and comfort with leathers being non-pressed and more natural pelle hides.’

Raffaela Marelli gives other examples on behalf of Flexform / Il Lusso: ‘The aura that envelops the Flexform Mood collection is intimate and sophisticated. It features sofas and armchairs that show traditional stylistic shapes redesigned with a contemporary twist. The Alfred sofa, designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, perfectly epitomises this attitude in conveying a typically ‘New Classic’ flair. Its enveloping seat back curves around, sloping gently from the armrest. Couture details highlight the soft silhouette and the seat back, and cushions are finished with refined tone-on-tone or contrasting colour grosgrain piping.’

For the full article see Habitat #271 May / June 2019

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