Sustainability is becoming an increasingly central concern for the architecture and design industry. In the face of changing climates, soaring carbon emissions due to elevated rates of production, and higher than ever rates of waste generation, concern for the environment is understandably more widespread than ever. This is coupled with increasingly savvy consumers who are now demanding more from design, including sustainability and transparency in manufacturing methods and post-end user disposal.
Against this backdrop, it is becoming apparent that the industry can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to questions of environmental responsibility. Instead, in line with those in Europe, the UK, and the US, the Australian design community has been receptive to sustainability concerns and reacted accordingly. Today, the A+D sector is tackling environmental concerns head-on, embedding sustainability goals and measures in all stages of the product lifecycle, from design and development through to manufacturing, use, and disposal.
A leader in this regard is Woven Image, a global supplier of sustainable, high-performance textiles and interior finishes. Since its establishment in Australia in 1987, Woven Image has grown to become a leading international name in interiors, servicing a network of architects and designers in over 15 countries. The company’s unwavering focus on environmentally friendly products, materials, and manufacturing has earned it the position as one of the industry’s most prominent champions of sustainability; at present, 89% of products in the Woven Image portfolio are third-party certified as sustainable.
At Woven Image, achieving sustainability is viewed not as a challenge or restriction but rather as an opportunity for new materials, ideas, and means of production. Innovation is woven into the very fabric of the company, which has been committed to exploring recyclable materials since the late 1990s — well ahead of the industry curve. For over 30 years, Woven Image has challenged the boundaries of performance textile design to meet the distinct requirements of each major market while balancing concerns of climate change, water pollution, and plastic pollution in waterways.
This boundary-pushing spirit and unmatched innovation are evident in Woven Image’s product offering, which makes creative use of unconventional, post-consumer waste products. In 1997, concerned by growing levels of curbside waste, Woven Image collaborated with RMIT University in Melbourne to investigate new technologies in fibre selection and use. The same year, they released their flagship acoustic panel, Echo Panel®, which targeted the waste problem directly by upcycling used PET bottles into a highly functional panel that is still a mainstay of workstation systems around the world today. Each panel is comprised of 65 to 70 percent recycled PET bottles. The range — which is now available in a breadth of thicknesses and designs — has seen over 86 million 1L PET bottles recycled over the past two decades.
More recently, Woven Image turned their attention to the clean and sustainable production of more typical performance fabrics such as wool, polyester, nylon, and polyolefin. Their research led them toward investigating waste products generated in the process of making textiles, specifically in the production of linen. Terrain, a new addition to the Woven Image product family, is a textile comprised of 50 percent polypropylene and 50 percent flax waste, the roughage left over in linen production. Terrain decorative panel substrates have low volatile organic compound (VOC) emission levels, making them ideal for use in green building rating schemes.
Woven Image believes that, as suppliers, it is their responsibility to provide consumers with products that can be used and disposed of responsibly. Woven Image’s takeback program reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability at all stages of the design and product cycle. As part of this program, performance textiles are taken back and upcycled. Though the program has been in operation for over 10 years, Woven Image reports that it has experienced recent surges in popularity as the discussion concerning sustainability becomes more urgent.
Learn more about Woven Image’s diverse product catalogue and commitment to sustainability here.