This week at global materials consultancy Material ConneXion’s NYC location, the IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association) gathered textile lovers to view, discuss, and touch the latest fabrics trending in design and retail. Designer and Materials Specialist Ana Linares previewed the latest in polymer innovation, with a focus on high performance fabrics that offer aesthetic sophistication, but in a functional fashion:
Consumers are more concerned with the content of everything they buy these days, especially when it comes to knowledge in the home furnishing sector. The composition and performance of textiles has become an important factor. A textile that looks and feels good is always more appealing when it has the added value of performance.
Examples showcased included Fusion Cosmos – a fabric that uses elements of upholstery, bonded into a compact laminate without the need of a top surface melamine film. Ana commented:
This makes the panels not only beautiful, but also scratch, steam, and stain resistant. We are also seeing fabrics such as Acoustics Stremaer that are very lightweight and translucent that have great noise absorption and flammability levels, something you would never guess based on looks alone.
Gone are the days in which heavy velvet drapes are required to sound-proof a space.
Performance fabrics aren’t relegated to the world of artificial creation, Ana reminded the audience. “There is also a big movement to mimic textures found in nature throughout the industrial process of creating high performance fabrics.” Polymers such as Pony utilize animal hair to mimic the texture of leather, providing a new-to-market leather alternate available for functional use in interior applications, furniture, panel for retail and commercial industries. Taking this one step further, the use of dried cow stomach as a fabric – a sophisticated, bristly-looking material – couldn’t help but bring queasiness to onlookers despite its intriguingly sophisticated appearance and surprising feel, which was akin to the texture of coral.
Following the presentation, IFDA attendees were able to explore Material ConneXion’s famous materials library – one of the largest physical libraries of advanced, innovative and sustainable materials and processes.
Click through the thumbnails below to see some of the highlighted fabrics and materials in the library: