Q&A: Agua’s Josh Ralton on Sleep + Eat

As Sleep + Eat is fast approaching we took the opportunity to speak with Josh Ralton of Agua.  Josh gave us an insite in to his role at Agua, thier enthusiasm for Sleep + Eat 2019 and a preview of their new collections.

Agua is a leading producer of performance upholstery fabrics for all contract market sectors. They have over 600 stunning performance fabrics in 28 collections of soft fabrics and faux leathers, with more in development.  Agua has a reputation for producing high quality on trend fabrics meeting the precise needs of challenging environments.

1. Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am one of the Company Directors at Agua responsible for all commercial and marketing activities including business and product development. My great-grandfather started the business in the 1930s and I am incredibly proud to be the 4th generation from the family in the business. Some of my earliest memories are of sticking labels on samples as a small boy. I always say that I was born into Agua.

2. Why is Sleep + Eat the right event for your business?

The hospitality industry is a key market for Agua, within our range of performance upholstery fabrics there are many that have been designed specifically with the hospitality sector in mind. All our collections are fire retardant to Crib 5, waterproof, anti-microbial and have a stain resistant finish making them ideal for restaurant, bar and hotel environments. The show is also the ideal opportunity to catch up with the A&D community; we enjoy receiving feedback from designers and manufacturers regarding our new collection launches.

3. What should visitors to your Sleep + Eat stand look forward to seeing?

We always use the show to launch new collections and colours to the Agua range.
2019 is no exception. This year we are launching our Tierra Eco collection whilst our Mystique collection is being relaunched with added colourways that include beautiful hues of wine, petrol, blue and grey. We will also feature new colours in Parody Linen as well as some “sneak peeks” into collections which will be launching in 2020.

4. Please tell us more about the new/most recently collections which you will be showing at Sleep + Eat?

Tierra Eco – this is a new and innovative 33% plant based eco friendly faux leather. Driven by Agua’s long tradition of innovation and technical excellence this is a new manufacturing process which ultimately means that the plant-based fibres are biodegradable. There is no compromise in performance either and Tierra Eco achieves 100,000 Martindale abrasion rating.
Mystique – we are excited to relaunch our Mystique collection. We have started from the beginning with our metallic collection and gone for some beautiful and sophisticated warm colours along with adding some cool neutrals. The stunning fabrics are perfect for contemporary hospitality settings from nightclubs to headboards.

5. In what ways are your new/most recent collections suitable for the hospitality sector?

We know there is an increasing demand within the hospitality sector for more environmentally friendly materials. Tierra Eco will help satisfy this demand providing a faux leather that has been made from plant-based fibres. We can’t wait to promote this and other exciting developments for 2020 and beyond. Sustainability is a key message at Agua our soft fabric processing machinery was replaced in 2018 and is now state of the art, minimizing and managing waste, using fewer processes, while reducing power consumption through greater operational efficiency and reuse of steam.

6. What are currently the most exciting trends in the hospitality sector?

I believe the major trend is still towards environmentally friendly design, consumers are more ecologically driven and there has never been such a demand for vegan products. People are also much more aware of the importance of practicality and performance rather than just the look of a surface, function is a key component of any Agua collection and we are always keen to push the benefits of our ranges.

7. What are you most looking forward to seeing/experiencing at Sleep + Eat?

As always, I am looking forward to meeting old friends and new at the show. I enjoy seeing the creative side of the exhibition stands. It enhances the atmosphere at the show, which is critical at any top exhibition. The show is fast approaching and I am sure it will be another great success for Agua. Come and say hello, we are on Stand B62 from the 19th-20th November during Sleep & Eat.

If you are planning to visit Sleep + Eat please do share with us what you are most looking forward to using our hashtag #DesignInsider

Contact Agua through the BCFA Product Finder


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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