Agua Fabrics: New Indoor-Outdoor Fabric Zephyr to Launch at Clerkenwell Design Week

Agua Fabrics is a four-generation family business, specialising in technical soft fabrics and faux leathers that balance form with function, their latest collection, Zephyr is a two-tone woven fabric with a refined, textured look, and will be launched at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024.

Zephyr’s soft to the touch and comes in a wide array of bold and neutral shades. But what separates it from the competition is its ability to perform both inside and out. Its colourfast dyes help it withstand UV rays, ensuring its rich tones can stand up to prolonged outdoor use. Meanwhile its Crib 5 fire retardancy and waterproof coating gives it the same durability you’ve come to expect from an indoor Agua fabric. It also looks the part. Zephyr has been skilfully woven to mimic the look of natural wool, with a tactile feel that’ll complement a wide range of applications, from hotels and restaurants to bars and workspaces.

In years gone-by, there was a clear distinction between indoor and outdoor fabrics. Outdoor fabrics were required to perform under all weather conditions – and, naturally, this meant they’d look and feel a certain way. Meanwhile, indoor fabrics were generally softer and less durable, and usually less ‘plastic-y’.

But today, new technology and weaving methods have allowed Agua to develop a indoor-outdoor upholstery fabric that performs equally well in the comfort of a hotel lobby as it will in an outdoor dining setting. This is important as people’s lives have irrevocably changed in recent years. The pandemic forced us to connect outdoors, and the habit has stuck. Spaces are now required to be more versatile than ever, with adaptable, multi-use buildings continuing to be in high demand. Adaptable seating areas require fabrics that can stand up to the elements, while also feeling soft and working just as well inside.

With this new approach to flexible interior design, Agua wanted to develop an elegant, high performing fabric that would be suited to both indoor and outdoor use. A two-tone woven fabric, Zephyr is the result. With its refined, textured look, this high performing fabric can be used both inside and out, and will perform to the highest level regardless of where it’s used.

There were a number of considerations Agua had to keep in mind when creating Zephyr. The first, and perhaps most important, is colour fading. Outdoor fabrics are typically exposed to UV rays far more than interior fabrics, so ensuring it wouldn’t fade quickly was of utmost importance. The brand achieved this by incorporating colourfast dyes to Zephyr, which ensure its rich tones are maintained even with prolonged outdoor use.

Then there’s the performance elements. Every Agua fabric is treated to a series of rigorous tests that guarantees its effectiveness in a number of areas, one of which is flammability. It’s not easy to find outdoor fabrics that are Crib 5 compliant, as they typically aren’t required to conform to commercial fire regulations. But as Zephyr is designed for both outdoor and indoor use, it’s been treated to ensure fire retardancy to the highest level.

As well as fire retardancy, it’s crucial for outdoor fabrics to be waterproof. While it’s not recommended that furniture be kept outdoors permanently throughout the year, it is highly likely that it will encounter passing showers. For this reason, Zephyr is waterproof, unlike the majority of indoor fabrics on the rest of the market. It does so while remaining breathable, which is another crucial performance element for an indoor-outdoor fabric. Zephyr has been treated to remain breathable whether used inside or out, and as such will ensure day-long comfort.

Lastly, an indoor-outdoor fabric needs to look good. Interior design is more important than ever, with firms spending millions on creating handsome spaces to attract potential clients. As such, Zephyr has been skilfully woven to mimic the look of natural wool, with a tactile feel that’ll complement a wide range of applications, from hotels and restaurants to bars and workspaces. Outdoor fabrics were never suited for indoor use, but Zephyr shows that’s a notion of the past. Beautifully woven, soft against the skin and high performing, it’s the only indoor-outdoor fabric worth considering.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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