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Tatami Wallcovering And Upholstery Fabric TextileRaffia and Tatami are often terms that are used synonymously these days by some interior designers.

Tatami are woven Japanese floor mats. Originally they were made from (rice-) straw but now they are made from a variety of materials with better properties for fire resistance, warmth and general comfort. Typically Tatami mats are made to be twice as long as they are wide and they are usually about 2m long.

Raffia (often Raphia in the USA) refers to fibres made from a tropical tree. Specifically raffia is made from the leaves of a specific palm tree called “Raphia ruffia”, which is usually found in Madagascar and more generally in Africa. A different variety in South America is “Raffia taedigera”.

Raffia that is more suited to top market interior design projects will probably often be made from other materials – one of the particular note would be made from high quality cellulose pulp.

So, often when clients ask for Tatami or Raffia they are really often asking for a straightforward, grass-like, woven fabric similar to that shown in the main image accompanying this article.

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Such raffia and tatami fabrics are usually available by the meter and have additional properties making them more superior to traditional variants. For example having high martindale test scores making them suitable for upholstery and coming pre-treated for fire retardancy.

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Tatami and Raffia by the meter may also be quite flexible allowing it to be fastened around wooden frames and then used as a textured finish for walls and ceiling.

With Wyzenbeek rubs of 40,000 KOTHEA’s 2011 Raffia (Raphia) are also eminently suitable for a wide range of upholstery uses.

Raffias can usually be fire treated to meet a wide range of contract requirements including hotels and marine installations.

This type of raffia weave has been used for thousands of years perhaps most famously as Japanese Tatami mats. They are of course one of today’s modern day design staples for a clean, modern look.

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7 thoughts on “Tatami and Raffia Wallcoverings and Fabrics For Interior Designers

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