Biodegradable and compostable stretch wool upholstery fabric

by: Mirjam Visser, 2011-01-19 09:17:59 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Achieving stretch by using ramie instead of synthetic elastomere yarns

Climatex Lifecycle

Climatex® Lifecycle™ is an entirely biodegradable and compostable upholstery fabric, manufactured using waste-minimising processes. Technical requirements for the manufacturing of industrial products, such as office seating get steeper by every year. A fabric’s stretch and elasticity is important to accommodate the organic shapes of contemporary furniture design.
Until recently stretch could only be achieved by integrating synthetic elastomere yarns that are not compatible with composting. It has taken Rohner Textil’s design team eight years to find a method of making textiles elastic without using synthetic materials, but with ramie, a compound natural fibre in use 4000 years ago in Egypt and organically grown in the Philippines. Ramie’s long fibres are extremely water-absorbent, which, when combined with wool, produces a fabric that absorbs moisture from the user, for climate-control seating.
In testing dyes for safety, Rohner found that only 16 out of 1600 lived up to the rigid specifications of the independent environmental institute EPEA in Hamburg, with whom they collaborated over a period of four years. Almost all colour variations are possible, except black. Waste material from the mill is made into felt that can be used as garden mulch and in the cultivation of strawberries, cucumbers and a wide range of other plants. Climatex® won the prestigious Design Sense Award 2000, because “this company has a completely consistent and pro-active approach to sustainability” according to the judges’ comments.

Designer: William Mc Donough, Dr. Michael Braungart, Susan Lyons, Lothar Pfister and Fabiola Fornasier/Rohner Textil AG
Manufacturer: Gessner AG
Category: Upholstery fabric


Climatex Lifecycle
by Gessner

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