Reviewing London's most fashionable restaurant, the Pharmacy, for the Evening Standard, author Sebastian Faulks was reminded by the bar stools of the fact that Aristotle Onassis had stools on his yacht upholstered with whale foreskin. He didn't know what Damien Hirst has his covered his with. "I didn't ask," he confessed. I can tell him. Scottish wool woven on an island in the Clyde estuary.

"There's no comparison," says Jasper Morrison, the British furniture designer, star of international fairs from Cologne to Milan and designer of the Pharmacy's elegant upholstered dining chair, holds up fabric swatches to show why muted woollen weaves from Bute are best.

As a minimalist with an eye for neutral naturals and Bauhaus primaries, Jasper loathes the bobbly, shiny, crinkly velours with polka dots - "like car seat materials" - that most contract furniture fabric houses supply. He visited Bute Fabrics last summer with some of Europe's best known designers - Matthew Hilton, Andrew Stafford, Terence Woodgate and Tom Dixon. Sheridan Coakley, who makes their designs into streamlined modern furniture, plans to launch a collection at Milan in April using Bute weaves.

A little cottage industry started by the 6th Marquess of Bute after the Second World War, the company has now become a player in the international furnishing fabrics market. Travellers will spot the warm woollen weaves in airports from Brussels to Kuala Lumpur. And Sir Norman Foster ordered 10km of Bute woollens for his new airport, Chek Lap Kok in Hong Kong.