Forensic Integrity

It is the start of 2016 so I predict ever increasing scrutiny of supply chains to ensure that social and environmental values are not compromised in the supply of products and services to consumers, wherever they are and wherever stuff originates.

Starting with the luxury brands, as always, there is a growing demand for complete transparency. We are going to see more labels asking for trust and we are going to see more activist shooting down the tall poppies.

Several years ago we started Laneve, working with a few trusted partners to provide wool carpets and textiles from managed and transparent value chains. At the time we thought transparency was key, but really transparency is just a tool that proves integrity.

As we move beyond a few partners wanting to build trusted brands to a world that must have trust, thanks Volkswagen for making this point loud and clear, we now need to move beyond paper trails and use science to back up claims on origin, provenance and therfor integrity.

Wools of New Zealand have partnered with Oritain to scientifically verify that the products made from our wool have not been tampered with or dumbed down.

This video says it best..

Oritain with Wools of NZ – Fine Cut (1) from Mathew Bartlerr on Vimeo.

Travel New Zealand - Sheep Farm

Flock of sheep, New Zealand.

WOOL | THE NATURAL CHOICE

Wool creates the ideal habitat for homes and offices.

There are so many reasons why New Zealand wool is the perfect material for humans to live with.  Here are a few of the top reasons why wool offers a superior experience than any other finer, natural or man-made.

QUIET & COMFORTABLE – Wool textiles absorb noise and create warmth making your home or office the perfect place for relaxation, concentration and play.  Wool fibres come is a vast array of microns and crimps meaning it absorbs a higher range of frequncies than other flooring materials.

SAFE & ALLERGY SAFE – Wool carpets act as a natural air filter, trapping allergens such as dust and pollen and keeping them out of the breathing zone.  Wool is great for asthmatics as it cannot be digested by dust mites, the main cause of asthma and actually reduced humidity with a room.

CLEAN AIR – Wool absorbs indoor contaminants and purifies the air of harmful gases locking them away for up to 30 years.

OUTSTANDING QUALITY – Wool carpets are renowned for long-lasting good looks and have many inherent qualities that assure performance is locked in. A wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times and bounce-back to its natural shape meaning carpets will look great for years and years.

NATURAL – Wool is rapidly renewable, with each sheep growing a new fleece every year. Wool is biodegradable and full of essential nutrients that plants love. Wool carpets can be returned to nature or recycled into new products.

SUSTAINABLE – Wool is the only widely available carpet fiber not made from oil.

Our wool, Wools of New Zealand wool is a sustainable material which is completely renewable, biodegradable and responsibly grown by farmers who care.  We take special care of the land, the animals and the people so we can keep growing wool for another few thousand years.

Notice below how the most elegant interiors rely on a carpet for quiet and comfortable spaces.

D-Dining-Room-893x1024

wool floors are quiet

Chateauesque Jewel, an entry in the SBID design awards 2015 by Regina Sturrock Design Inc. 

How to Buy New Carpet

Talk to the right professional.

We, the people at Wools of New Zealand get a lot of phone calls from home owners wanting to know how to clean their carpet, which type of carpet is best, what products we can suggest etc.

I suspect people are looking to buy from an internet site, to get a bargain perhaps, and are missing out on the best advice you get by talking to an interior design professional or a carpet showroom.

Of course we are always polite, and try to be helpful. We do know a lot about wool carpets. But we don’t manufacture carpet and we don’t sell carpet. We grow really amazing wool fibre that we sell to the people that do make carpets and interior textiles.

Carpet is a major investment in the look, comfort and health of your home or office. It’s worth talking to somebody who can understand your specific lifestyle and suggest the product that is going to perform.

A professional will work to your budget, take care of the installation, suggest a care and maintenance plan and if anything should deviate from the plan sort it out.

I prepared a list of great carpet stores and put them here

link to Wools of New Zealand where to but carpet site

Find a carpet shop.

The internet is great for getting ideas, researching trends, finding local stores and understanding what options are out there. Just as you would not buy a new car without sitting in the showroom model and taking a spin, you shouldn’t make a large investment in your home without understanding the features and benefits of wool carpet.

I just carpeted the stairs at home, and its looks fabulous. After having wooden stairs for a few months I also notice the home is warmer, significantly quieter and importantly much safer.   I have a dog and a teenager, so a pattern helps disguise any pet hair or teenager collateral damage.

I also noticed that visitors go “wow” and don’t just say, “Oh you got a new beige carpet”.   Our new wool carpet is awesome.

dog on wool carpet

Dogs love wool carpet

fabulous laneve carpet

This is Fabulous colour Ruby by Crucial Trading on my stairs.

The Dark Age of Carpet Design

Dark Age of Design

260 Years of Machine Made Carpets

Two hundred and sixty years on from the invention of machine made carpets the carpet industry has largely forgotten how to construct textile floor coverings from renewable materials.

For 192 years machine made carpets were made from wool. These carpets were made to last for decades, and they did.

In the middle of last century nylon was invented which meant that cheaper carpets could be created that used lower quality materials. In the worst examples carpets lost their ability to biodegrade, to absorb moisture and create healthy breathing zones and even became flammable.

Several generations of carpet designers and carpet sellers have been operating under the belief that wool carpets are improved by substituting 20% of the pile content with synthetic fibre. This is not correct, we have entered the Dark Age, and the wisdom of the past has almost been lost.

Nylon is added to wool carpet to meet a price point. The addition of cheap oil-based fibre allows yarn strength to be maintained with lower quality, cheaper fibre.   The nylon adds no benefit to the product, it only increases the visual appearance of wear as nylon is shiny and wool is dull.

A carpet correctly made from 100% good quality wool is going to keep looking good for years and years.  A carpet that is a blend of materials is not a smart or responsible thing to design, sell or buy.

The challenge for carpet designers is to think about the user experience, and the full life cycle of the products they bring to life. Carrying on with poor information is lazy design.

Good design considers form and function. The experience of a product should not just be about price point and a quick sale but it should consider the total experience a consumer will have.

 The ultimate carpet would be:

Visually attractive.

Constructed from rapidly renewable resources.

Be either fully biological or fully mechanical (either 100% natural or 100% synthetic)

Enhance the habitat of people in the home and office by filtering noise and pollution, insulating against heat, absorbing volatile chemicals, trapping dust from the breathing zone and reducing the rick of fire.

Long lasting in looks and performance.

Have a pre-determined plan for the end of its life as a carpet.

Consider both the environmental and social benefits of its supply chain

The world keeps pumping out 80/20 carpets under the impression that this is the best way to make a carpet and that is simply not true. 80/20 is better than plastic carpet and it still going to perform well and look good. But it is not as good as a 100% wool carpet and it is certainly ignoring the fact that nylon requires oil to manufacture and it takes 40 times longer to biodegrade than wool.

We should not keep making lazy design choices based on the fact that its always been done that way, especially as for more almost 200 years of the 260 years of machine made carpets it wasn’t done that way.

Below is a 100% natural carpet the way it is supposed to be done.

100% Natural Carpet

A 100% Natural Carpet in Buckingham Palace.

Talking Wool CPD

This month Wools of New Zealand ran its very first Continued Professional Development (CPD) seminar for members of the Society of British International Design (SBID) in London.

WNZ SBID CPD

Me talking wool. – Image courtesy Marek Sikora – Click for more.

For interior designers to stay relevant they need to keep learning about the materials they specify in human habitats and they have to do this to stay accredited to professional organisations like SBID.

Over a glass of New Zealand wine, and with London as a backdrop we went to the next step in influencing, influential people to specify Kiwi wool.

In two hours we grabbed the attention of some of London’s best architects and designers and focused their attention on wool. We followed up with a book about our New Zealand wool and we made sure everyone took home a catalogue that featured Laneve products (so these people can buy our wool)

The presentation is rich in lifestyle imagery and messages around the benefits of New Zealand wool to the environment and the human habitat. There was the occasional sheep picture too. The question and answer session was lively so we had people engaged and we got people thinking.

This cost time and money, but its free for SBID members to attend.   We do this because ultimately architects and interior designers are our customers. These are the people that demand style, innovation, integrity, provenance and sustainability.   Now a handful of these people are thinking a little bit more about using wool.

London from NZ House

The view outside was amazing – click for more..

Designing Smarter Textiles

Recently I was asked about the integration of electronics into carpets and textiles and what my ideas are to bring this inevitable merger together.

That got me thinking… Is it inevitable?

“Should we be designing smart textiles or should we be designing textiles smarter?”

Yes the Internet of things sees us all being ever more connected, phones are now wearable, your shoes can now talk to your smartphone. There will certainly be a continuation of miniaturisation, automation and personalisation that will make our digital lives seamless. But does it necessarily follow that everything will become smart?

Perhaps the true value of soft furnishings is comfort and style and a release from all things technological?

Anthropology cannot be separated from your future trend mapping. We have to plan textiles that will enrich people’s lives. Textiles need to respond to basic human needs before they can change the TV channel, and lets not forget that good health is a human need. Do we really want to plan a society that is full of lazy, gadget-dependent couch potatoes?

Textiles need to be pure, recyclable, ethically produced and beautiful. Once we master that we can soften the digital world by wrapping it in our woolly luxury.

I’m all for better homes and workplaces and better technology. Safety is a brilliant place to innovate new textiles that will monitor people and their habitats. Ultimately textiles are about comfort; from bearskins in our caves to sheepskin rugs by our curved screen TV’s.

Yes there is a trend to digitise life, but its one trend that responds to a sub-set of human needs. There are many trends that ignore digitisation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t develop smarter fabrics, I’m just saying we should always ask why.

The favourite chair in my house is in a room with no TV.  The furnishings in this space are about escape, switching off, comfort and colour.  Its a space for real human interaction.

Perhaps the smart way to design textiles is to keep them dumb?

 

Desso phillips carpet

Desso use transparent carpet which allows LED’s to shine through.

 

Future Materials.

Remember Crumbwool?

Crumbwool is a carpet underlay which is the result of a partnership between Wools of New Zealand and Anglo Recycling.   It’s made from 100% recycled content,  Wool carpet off-cuts and discarded car tyres.   The proceeds go towards the Woodland Trust.

Its a nice story that underpins the integrity of the world’s most sustainable wool (Laneve)

Actually that’s a bit modest,  Creating Crumbwool meant developing a dedicated machine and some quite remarkable logistics and industry arm twisting.  Anglo Recycling worked a minor miracle to make this possible.

We built the Crumbwool story for the right reasons.  We did not do this for fame, we did it for integrity and to build value.

Now Crumbwool has been listed by Future Materials magazine in its top 100 innovations!

So we are getting noticed, for the right reasons.  The website is www.crumbwool.com

crumbwool creation

Crumbwool is created