i+D - July/August 2021 - 52

Material
Matters
Textiles
" Now, we do more residential business,
and we're finding that performance
means more and more, " says Iwan
Nassimi, the company's executive vice
president. " In the residential world,
we fill a niche with products that are
designed for mid- to high-end furniture,
which can be used where people have
a family room used by kids or pets. "
The company's latest coup is Supreen,
a performance composite upholstery
material that has a liquid barrier,
repelling liquid and preventing it
from soaking into a sofa cushion.
The name is a mash-up of supple and
preen, a nod to the water-repellant
feathers on a duck. Starting with a
high-quality woven fabric that's already
engineered to be abrasion resistant,
pill resistant, and with a good seam
strength, the fabric is passed through
a silicone bath that imbeds itself into
the fiber of the material. A thin layer
of polyurethane is bonded to the
back of the textile to make it liquid
proof. This technology is not only useful
in a mess-prone household but also has
plenty of applications in healthcare and
hospitality settings.
" We like to say Supreen keeps your
furniture beautiful from the inside
out, " says Nassimi. Even with the
layer of protection, the fabric is
breathable, comfortable, and can be
used in the same way as other fabrics.
" It upholsters very well, " he adds.
" You can use it for a down pillow, for
example; you can pleat or button tuft
it. It's soft and supple. " And Nassimi
speaks from experience as his own
living room is furnished with Supreen.
A nod to its inventiveness, Supreen
was recently accepted to the Material
ConneXion library. " We're tinkerers
by nature. We always seek to innovate
in terms of meaningful, thoughtful
design, " says Nassimi. " That recognition
that this is a new material, a new way
of doing things, is really cool. "
Kravet, too, is working on fabrics
with performance benefits, particularly
when these benefits don't detract
from the luxe textures and beautiful
patterns on which the company stakes
its reputation.
Outside of the Box
As the trend to outdoor living continues, fabric
houses have been pushing the envelope in
terms of offerings for deep seating, cushions,
and other applications.
" UV friendly yarns have become
very decorative, " says Kravet. " You're
seeing those qualities inside the house
for performance ... with dogs and kids
that can soil furniture, these fabrics
are bleach-cleanable " and can also
withstand sun damage in rooms with
big windows. Kravet says that advances
in the use of yarns that are more like a
carrot-meaning the same all the way
through, rather than the exterior coated
with color or fabric treatment like the
contrasting exterior of a radish-are
enabling weavers to replicate betterquality
and better-feeling residential
constructions, colors, and textures.
One example is Crypton Home,
available in Kravet textiles. " It used
to be stiff as a board, " says Kravet.
" But now with softening, it can go
into anything we offer today. "
Kravet also is working on fabrics that
can actually improve one's wellbeing
when they sit in an armchair or relax
on the sofa. " We've got fabric coming
out in the future that has copper ions
woven into the thread that will make
you calmer; it can even lower your
heart rate with body contact, " he says,
comparing the performance to the
copper wristbands athletes wear to
improve circulation and relieve pain.
And at Schumacher, the company
has been incorporating performance
features in a way that makes sense,
especially with its reputation for
handcrafted products and natural
materials. " For instance, we're taking
handwoven fabrics and finishing them
with a performance treatment, " says
Marshall. " We're also taking luxury
fabrics like a 100 percent silk velvet
and figuring out how we can apply
stain resistance to it. Now someone
can let their dogs onto their beautiful
ivory boucle sofa without worrying
about staining. "
" With more time spent at home over the past year,
people have started to invest more in and around
their most lived-in spaces both indoors and out, "
says Sunbrella's Voorhis. " The outdoor living room
has become the new focal point for family and leisure
time, which has extended the outdoor season well
beyond what we've seen in previous years. "
Sunbrella has seen a surge in demand for its fabrics
and record orders, particularly for use in products
that can help extend that outdoor season and make
people more comfortable outside, such as retractable
awnings. This holds true in the commercial sector,
too. " Commercial business owners are certainly
investing more in their outdoor areas to make their
environments more useful for people working or
visiting a space, particularly with shade structures
that will help them remain hospitable year-round, "
says Voorhis. " As restaurants continue to open back
up, outdoor dining options have brought opportunities
to increase capacity as safely as possible. "
While Nassimi's new Supreen fabric is not specifically
designed to be used outside, the company has
made some major strides in its faux leather offerings
for outdoor use, updating a marine-grade vinyl
to be more geared towards residential furniture,
and developing a vinyl that is lightfast and mildew
resistant. " What separates them from outdoor
fabrics, other than the aesthetics, is that they're
completely wipeable, " says Nassimi. " If you have
a five-minute rain shower, it usually takes a while
before you can use your outdoor furniture again.
But if you have faux leather, you can wipe it down
with a towel and use it right away. "
Supreen in action: This Malmo chair by
Paul Brayton Designs is upholstered with Supreen.
(Image: Courtesy of Paul Brayton Designs)
52
i+D - July/August 2021

i+D - July/August 2021

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