Squat, sit, recline and / or lounge about: this is the relaxation mode that we humans accept as our norm. It’s been happening style-wise since the ancient Greeks and Romans – likely prior – and how best to do it is as serious a poser today; surely because relaxation time is more vital during a far more frenetic daily ritual.

However, this prior, stiff formality was doomed because quite soon the one-eyed monster TV changed the ‘front room’s’ prissy exclusivity forever.

But with what is available many decades later, it’s not as easy as one might think. Basically, it involves selecting essentially comfortable furniture with aesthetic appeal – capturing the best of both worlds. For 2016, the selection should make a contemporary statement, yet without overt gimmickry. Fine contemporary furniture is a purchase of note and longevity of materials, look and feel is key; tactility and eye-appeal being paramount.

How to source this successfully? The legendary designers are in Europe. Mostly in Italy, Germany, France, UK and Scandinavia. In compact studios visionaries with inventive minds create prototypes; researchers and designers stretching the boundaries with new materials that can create sculpted forms. Construction is of ever increasing strength – yet decreasing weight. There’s a vast amount of R&D in materials for frames, upholstery and seats; not forgetting the methodology of form.

In this, Habitat’s annual FOCUS feature on contemporary furniture, we showcase the ever-widening scale of choice in South Africa’s major centres. As is our established direction, designers and manufacturers provide enlightened opinions on local and international trends.

For the full article see Habitat #253 May / June 2016