Design Week 2019 – Ikigai, Modern Tropics & Technical Weaves

design week 2019 modern tropics sofas and stuff

There were a multitude of new fabric trends to discover at Design Week 2019 in Chelsea Harbour this month. Ikigai, Modern Tropics, Technical Weaves and Fade Resistant fabrics were just some that caught our eye and we’re really excited about embracing these new trends at Sofas & Stuff in Tunbridge Wells.


The word Ikigai comes from Japan and loosely translates as ‘finding a feeling of purpose and wellbeing’. It follows in the wake of the Danish Hygge (roughly meaning ‘a feeling of cosiness, conviviality and wellbeing’). Within interiors Ikigai comes through in the use of naturally tactile, feel-good fabrics such as wools, velvets and linens. Tonal, earthy colour palettes are teamed with inky blues and textured surfaces. Creating a wonderfully down-to-earth, laid back & gentle feel that’s the opposite of ‘showy’ and instead focuses on nourishing the soul.

Also from Japan and overlapping with Ikigai is the emerging trend of Wabi-sabi – the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. Promoting authenticity, organic forms and handmade items. We’re embracing this ethos at our showroom in Tunbridge Wells and believe the imperfections in natural fabrics should be celebrated and treasured – whether it be hand woven Harris tweeds or painstakingly hand-blocked Indian linens.

sofas and stuff indigo and wills


It’s inevitable that our attention is turning to more organic, sustainable and recycled fabrics with today’s environmental worries and this is of course more than just a trend, but necessary for the future of our planet. It was evident at Design Week with more focus on natural, sustainable fabrics than ever before. We’re constantly thinking about how we can reduce our impact on the world, whether it be considering our fabric choice more carefully or just recycling our Nespresso capsules!


green velvet sofa sofas and stuff

Modern Tropics

Another trend everyone was talking about is Modern Tropics. Evolving from the botanical themes that have been popular for a couple of years now, prints have become more abstract and less graphic with an art deco inspired colour palette and plenty of different texture. It’s perfectly illustrated on this mood board put together by Romo.

sofas and stuff romo tropical moodboard

Of course, the green sofa has always been iconic and we’re finding it’s becoming an even more coveted choice, whether in sumptuous, deep green cotton velvet or a more subtle, textured sage linen union. Perhaps its popularity is a reflection of our general lean towards the environment and all things natural – the rising popularity of house plants, for example. Whatever the reason, here in Tunbridge Wells we feel the green sofa is here to stay and we’re really looking forward to taking delivery of our new Stourhead sofa in gorgeous dark green Romo Forenza cotton velvet next month!

Technical Advances

Lastly we were blown away by the technical advances that mean even more fabrics can be made fade resistant, stain resistant and even weather resistant. This is great news for people with a conservatory or just a really sunny spot. We chatted to Nina Campbell who has produced a lovely range of ‘Endurance’ Technical Weaves and Mark Alexander was showcasing Indoor-Outdoor Linen weaves too.

Ikigai, Modern Tropics & Technical Weaves Holmfirth chair

Taking in all the new fabrics at Design Week certainly left us with buzzing heads, full of ideas and inspiration, which we’re busy trying to emulate in our Tunbridge Wells showroom. We’re always keen to have a chat about fabrics, sofas and even your lovely pets, so why not pop in for a coffee?

sofas and stuff tunbridge wells