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A journey through classic public transport fabric designs for cinema seat inspiration

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

At Orange Otter we are always on the lookout for fun and inspiring new fabric ideas for our vintage cinema seats.


Inspiration from London Transport seats


A recent search led us to a hardwearing woollen fabric called Moquette, which comes from the French word for carpet, that appears on public transport seats all over the world. First used in London during the 1920’s, the London Transport Museum has a wonderful archive of designs used over the years that is well worth a browse. Amongst our favourites were:


Fabric design used in London Transport in the 1930s
Fabric used on London Transport in the 1930s

Test fabric design proposed for District Line trains in 2005
Design proposed for District Line trains in 2005

International inspiration


For international bus, train and tube fabric designs, there is a great article by Feargus O’Sullivan written for CityLab after asking his social media followers to share shots of fabric used on their local transport. These seats on the Metro Los Angeles bus, designed artist Pae White and architect Tom Marble, are certainly eye catching.


Metro seats in Los Angeles
Metro Los Angeles (Allisa Walker. Twitter: @awalkerinLA)

Customise your own vintage theatre seats


Moquette is actually much coarser than the silky soft, but hardwearing, velvet fabrics we usually recommend for use on our vintage cinema theatre seats. However, if you’re feeling inspired to bring a touch of classic London transport style to your home some of their designs are available as fabric from the London Transport Museum shop.


Whatever your fabric design favourites, we are able to customise vintage cinema seats to suit your style and provide inspiring fabric ideas. If you are interested in finding out more, our vintage cinema theatre seats page has more information and we are always happy to answer any questions or provide ideas.






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