An Upholstery Expert Shares Which Colors Are Trending and Which Are Here to Stay

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By Erika Heet / Published by Dwell
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Dwell caught up with Danish furniture company BoConcept’s upholstery director, Stefano Sette, at the Santa Monica showroom, where he gave us his insights on the present and future of hue and texture.

You have introduced many colors and materials to BoConcept. What has driven those design decisions?

BoConcept upholstery directory Stefano Sette shows off his new array of colors and fabrics at the Santa Monica showroom.

When I joined BoConcept, I realized that the product we offered was probably too Scandinavian. Too much gray and too much black. We are a brand that is present almost everywhere on the globe, and what we found is that our brand is actually much more international than Scandinavian. I mean, our heritage is Danish urban design, but the perception of the product offered is much more international. So I looked into the numbers—into the statistics—and I know from experience that whatever you show in a store, 90 percent is how you’re going to sell it. So if you have all grays and blacks in the stores, you’re going to sell gray and black.

BoConcept's Imola chair in an orchid hue.

But what is the consumer really looking for? I think consumers are actually looking for colors. Talking to the sales associates, listening to the market… their request was for more colors. So the combination of our vision, our experience, and the idea of providing interior decoration service, it was easy and fun to add more colors to our assortment.

BoConcept's Osaka chair in a blue-green Rimini fabric.

So I basically reviewed the whole fabric collection and reviewed colors and introduced colors like turquoise. We introduced it for the Osaka chair, in a new velvet fabric. We are also developing exclusive fabrics—that velvet is an exclusive product. It’s called Napoli and it’s shown on Osaka, which is also a new frame.

BoConcept's Osaka sofa in turquiose Napoli fabric.

There was no blue in our collection and blue, as you know, is no longer trendy, it’s part of, let’s say, the bulk of the colors. Blue is actually considered the new black. There are a lot of new blue colors in our collection, like Firenze [a navy blue].

An elongated BoConcept sofa in many colors and fabrics.

We’ve tried to introduce more sophisticated fabrics because the brand position of BoConcept needs to be leveraged and brought to the consumer that appreciates the quality and the product and the colors. By doing that, I feel that we have brought the whole collection to higher level, but still at very competitive prices. I wouldn’t say "affordable luxury," because it’s overused in the market so I don’t like it, but it’s a product that has the right balance between quality and value. That is for me the biggest challenge: to get to the consumer the right product at the right price point.

The Boston chair from BoConcept, in a gray stripe.

So blue is holding—it’s not so much a trend, now it’s just integrated into the normal palette.

It’s interesting. There are colors that come and go. We’ve introduced some very trendy colors. For example, orchid, which was the Pantone color of the year in 2014. That’s a color that will for sure come and go. But blue I feel is very, very different. It has come and stayed for a while. Brown is a color that will definitely sell, but more in leather. Black will sell in more in leather. In fabrics, you sell more grays and taupes. If you don’t want black in fabrics, you choose a blue.

I’m so happy because I’m actually getting responses from the consumers that the turquoise and the blues that we introduced are performing. It’s a story that’s not new in fashion. The whole industry is trying to create economic flow by introducing suits and fabrics that aren’t all black. If you buy black, it’s gonna last forever. If you buy a trendy color, it’s not going to last but for three or four or five seasons.

You’re probably going to buy a sofa twice in a lifetime; maybe three times depending on what you’re going to do. But you’re not going to buy five sofas. So you have to be very careful when you introduce colors. If you introduce a turquoise that’s too bright, you’re not going to sell it. Or you’ll sell just a few, then it’s out.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your plans for 2016?

We’re not going to revolutionize the product assortment next year because we made a big, big change this year. So we’re not going to change a lot, but we are going to introduce a couple of colors that I believe are going to be the trendy colors for 2016 and 2017.