Get that warm, fuzzy feeling – in your home
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The transition from summer to winter triggers a primeval response of nesting, cocooning and hibernation. Thoughts turn to simple pleasures: the crackle of an open fire or curling up under cashmere with a book. While the Scandinavians talk of hygge, the Japanese have ikigai, of doing something that brings pleasure or fulfilment. But whatever philosophy you subscribe to, the change in season is a cue to indulge at home.
Colour, texture and layers are important in creating a retreat. Look to the latest collections that marry sinuous form and ethereal lighting with a heavy dose of tactility. French architect and interior designer Charles Zana’s inaugural furniture collection officially launches this month: a fusion of oak and cedar with brass, suede and woven leather. Lamps, emitting a gentle glow, are forged from bronze and coloured glass, and fabrics weave tussah silk with wool and linen. “I have created furniture with fluid shapes, inspired by the free forms of nature,” he says of the collection, which includes around 60 new and updated pieces. “Luxury equates to generous dimensions that require space to breathe. I imagine furniture like nomadic pieces – I like it when their arrangement reflects the poetry of the place.” Likewise, the palette is muted and calming. “Sensuality lies in the harmonies of colours,” adds Zana. “Shades of green and browns mixed with camel tones. I love raw unfilled Travertino, as found in Rome, and picked brushed cedar from Lebanon for its perfume.”
Materiality is key to creating comfort. Layers of soft knits are a seasonal staple (find super-soft mohair at MatchesFashion and cashmere throws on artemest.com from around £605). Bouclé, shearling and sheepskin remain popular fabric choices, and add plenty of tactility. A touchy-feely sheepskin chair tucked in a corner helps to soften a space, and the voluptuous forms of modern designs (dubbed “fat furniture”) put a new twist on ’70s style, drawing on the retro futurism of designers such as Pierre Paulin, whose Pacha lounge chair reissued by Gubi (£1,889, twentytwentyone.com) remains strikingly contemporary despite being conceived in 1975.
A line may be drawn back to 1948 and the enveloping curves of Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair for Knoll ($4,364), turning full circle to modern versions that also hug the sitter. Pierre Yovanovitch makes this obvious in the design of his teddy bear-like Papa Bear Armchair (from £18,000). Pierre Augustin Rose’s sinuous bouclé Sofa 280 (from £14,000) and Laura Gonzalez’s Mawu chair (£1,812) at The Invisible Collection are subtler style-led statements with the same sensibility.
If you’re on the hunt for textile fabrics to use as curtains or coverings, Rose Uniacke’s green bouclé fabric (wool version, £194 per m) creates an altogether fresher aesthetic than the typical palette of whites. She has also introduced midweight linens (from £91 per m) with fabric made in small batches and tumbled to produce an ultra-soft draping effect. If you want to add extra sumptuousness to a scheme, her mohair velvet (£207 per m) is super-tactile.
Softness underfoot is a must and rugs inject an extra layer of warmth that can also be a canvas for self-expression. Deirdre Dyson’s new collection (£960 per sq m for hand-knotted designs) depicts swirls and ripples in shades of aqua taking inspiration from the sea. La Manufacture Cogolin has collaborated with Christian Bérard on hand-knotted rugs that bring to life archival gouaches by the artist, fashion illustrator and designer, along with strong graphic designs in collaboration with India Mahdavi and Brooklyn-based designer Jason Miller. The ever-inventful Moooi’s Lint carpet collection (from €2,330) is an in-your-face depiction of interweaved silk ribbons and, in the same vein, Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola has produced the Patcha collection for Cc-tapis using patchworks of mixed media pieces (including cast-off silk sari) like a collage, dyed with sustainable techniques (runners from £5,650 from Monologue London).
L.Ercolani Reprise chair with hide seat, £2,645
Hollie Ward Sasha cushion, £360, thenewcraftsmen.com
Or look to vintage or heritage-informed designs. One-time e-tailer Beni has now opened showrooms in New York and Marrakech. The rugs are not only squishy but versatile; there’s a richness of design from the colourful to the monotone. New additions to Maroc Tribal’s vintage trove of Moroccan Berber rugs (from £300), for instance, introduce soothing colours and tactile textures, the look spurring a new trend according to forecaster WGSN, which cites “tufted textures” as a key mood for 2022. “Whether made by hand or with tufting guns, rug-like materials will be used for cushions, carpets and car interiors,” says Lisa White, WGSN’s creative director.
Antiques dealer and interior designer Robert Kime “creates comfort” by pairing antiques from different eras and cultures without restraint: Delftware is teamed with Turkish rugs, gilt-edged mirrors and oil paintings hang over English furniture beside piles of books, creating a homely ambience palpable even in his Pimlico store. And Jessica Hanley, founder of linen bedding company Piglet In Bed, sees cottagecore lasting well into 2022: “I think it will have a modern influence: more modern pastoral than shabby chic, and we might see colours like forest green going to a lighter sage.”
The new direction taken by British furniture stalwart Ercol, maker of the Windsor chair, reflects a longer-term shift. It launched its sister brand, L.Ercolani, late last year, creating a home for classic pieces such as the Butterfly Chair (from £740) alongside contemporary designs envisaged together with designers such as Norm Architects and Matthew Hilton. It’s a modern, lighter take on traditional codes of comfort, observes director Henry Tadros. “We’re creating future heirlooms to sit alongside my great-grandfather’s icons.”