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  • Product information: Chieftain MultiStretch

    Performance fabric – Chieftain MultiStretch Rosemary


    At Chieftain our passion is producing the best vinyl fabrics possible. As part of this process we work closely with specifiers, designers and members of the upholstery community. This group helped us at every step in the development of MultiStretch, an eight way stretch fabric ideally suited for seating where comfort is paramount.

    Technology fabric
    All of the Chieftain MultiStretch range consists of a backing cloth which is 92% cotton and 8% Lycra.
    Lycra (also known as Spandex or elastane) is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than natural rubber and is a polyester-polyurethane copolymer that was invented in 1958.
    With this mixture, we have virtually eliminated directionality, making the fabric easy to use and superb in upholstery.

    Performance fabric
    In situations where comfort needs to be at a maximum, the fabric must also remain practical for both the patient to use and staff to clean and maintain. We add silver zeolite based Ciba IRGAGUARD B5000 which inhibits the growth of bacteria, mould and yeast. Furthermore, these protective ingredients have allowed MultiStretch to counteract C.difficile, E.coli as well as MRSA and the vast majority of bacteria

    Colour palette
    MultiStretch consists of nine colours ranging from lighter to darker shades which provides beautiful tonal balance within the range while providing uncompromised durability. Although a limited spectrum, we have carefully focused the range to ensure it works where required.

    Conscious Design
    MultiStretch is REACH compliant, according to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals.

    Wikipedia, (2015). Spandex. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 May 2015]., (2015). REACH – ECHA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 May 2015].







  • The Challenge of Specification

    Increasingly large clients want bespoke items, such as this custom ‘Santander Red’ fabric designed and manufactured by Chieftain Fabrics for Pledge,

    Recently, Design Insider noted that a smooth specification process can help ensure a project impresses while saving time and money for client, designer and supplier.

    Although we live in a world of constant change, both sides need to retain a level of flexibility.

    Design Insider also notes how;

    Traditionally there has been a lot of bespoke work…but that hasn’t really been the case for fabrics, which are much more intensive to set up. This has changed – and not just at the top end of the market. Big franchises want something unique for their brand.

    Gordon points out that ‘supplier performance excellence gives companies competitive advantage. To the extent that suppliers perform well, companies enjoy a competitive boost, since this performance is reflected in lower costs, improved responsiveness to customers, better-quality goods and services and technological advantage’. Design Insider also notes that the specifier should consider whole-life costs when selecting various products for a fit-out. Products can appear cheaper in the short term, but often they won’t come with sufficient warranties or guarantees. In specification it tends to be all about value for money as opposed to bottom-line costs.

    Keeping up with a fast moving marketplace is also a challenge to many designers who have an opportunity to offer innovative solutions. One recent development, according to the, is the phenomenon dubbed ‘showrooming’, in which people use their phones to examine whether their prospective purchases are available cheaper online or elsewhere. This places conventional Contract suppliers with a real challenge as ‘showrooming’ offers immediate transparency. However, this can also lead to problems as contract suppliers specialise in ensuring their supplied products meet the special requirements and regulations that apply to all furniture used for commercial purposes – fire regulations, levels of usage, resistance to abrasion, pilling, soiling, seam strength, etc.. This also forces suppliers to be more flexible too. According to Design Insider, ‘The whole relationship between supplier and client has changed. It’s much more stressful but much more creative’.

    In summary,  there is a challenge of specification, but a clear, knowledgeable, specification process can ensure a project impresses and ultimately saves the client time and money.

    References, (2015). The Art of Planning and Writing Specifications and Requirements . [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2015]., (2015). Design Insider. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2015].

    Gordon, S. R. (2008) Supplier Evaluation and Performance Excellence: A Guide to Meaningful metrics and successful results. Florida, USA: J. Ross Publishing.

    Warman, M. (2013). The future of shopping: from high street to iStreet. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2015].





  • Chieftain Vinyl Colour Ideas

    A question we often get asked at Chieftain Fabrics is what colour do we recommend to match to a particular vinyl? The simple answer is, it all depends.

    Certain colours work well together, yet contrasting colours can be used to give effect.

    Complementary Colours Schemes
    According to ‘On The Theory of Light and Colours’, complementary colours are pairs of colours which, when combined, cancel each other out. This means that when combined, they produce a grey scale colour like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those particular two colours.

    Some complementary colours in our Just Colour range include:

    Analogous Colour Schemes highlights that analogous colour schemes use colours that are next to each other. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Analogous colour schemes are often found in nature, are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

    Some analogous colours in our Just Colour range include:

    Again,, indicates that a triadic colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour harmonies tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – where one colour is used to dominate and the two others for accent.

    Some triad colours in our Just Colour range include: 

    We also asked our inhouse design team to pick some suggestions from our ranges and suggest colours that work well together, some Chieftain Vinyl Colour ideas include:

    Colours vary from screen to screen as no two viewing configurations are the same. To learn more about this phenomena we suggest reading this short article ‘Is Your Computer Colour Blind?’.

    Finally, Wikipedia notes that a person’s perception of colour is a subjective process whereby the brain responds to the stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with the several types of cone cells in the eye. In essence, different people see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.

    Edit: 19 June 2015
    Also worth reading in relation to colour:


    Young, T. (1802). The Bakerian Lecture: On the Theory of Light and Colours. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 92(0), pp.12-48., (2015). Color Harmonies: complementary, analogous, triadic color schemes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May 2015].

    Wikipedia, (2015). Color vision. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May 2015].

  • What happens to your project if your supplier runs out of stock?

    Poor risk management can have serious knock on effects on your project. According to the 2006 publication Risk Management in Design, “the most obvious areas of design risk involve three standard categories – errors, omissions, and scope definition.” This article will be dealing with omissions as part of the risk management function of avoiding pitfalls and managing opportunities.

    The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), say that “most of your attention to risk will be to avoid or reduce the likelihood of events that might cause your project to be thrown off course. To manage and mitigate risks, you first need to identify them, assess the likelihood of them happening and estimate the impact they might have on your project.” In terms of risk management planning, some of the steps BIS recommends include prevention, risk reduction and having a contingency plan in place.

    Should none of the above steps be in place, you might find yourself having to deal with the knock-on effects of unforeseen events. In their 2011, book “How to Manage Project Opportunity and Risk: Why Uncertainty Management can be a Much Better Approach than Risk Management,” Stephen Ward and Chris Chapman (linked to the book chapter) outline the following example of a knock-on effect: When things go wrong in activity A, the cost of activity A goes up and the delays impact on activity B. The cost of activity B then increases as a consequence. Other variables affecting the cost of activity B are knock-on effects that might occur. For example, resources set aside may no longer be available, and attempts to catch up lost time may lead to double or triple shift operation or changes to more expensive technology.

    One such chain of unplanned events might occur if your supplier discontinues the line you had specified for the project at hand, and you don’t have a substitute in place.

    If we translate Ward’s and Chapman’s example into our out-of-stock scenario, it is safe to say that a supplier running out of stock may slow your project down, as well as affect other areas of your project. To avoid not delivering on-time and on-budget, and consequently letting your client down, a specification manual listing specified manufacturers and noting quality standards as outlined by Cindy Coleman, the editor in chief of Interior Design: Handbook of Professional Practice, would be highly recommendable. Coleman also says “customers expect good experiences, and they deserve them… goods and services are not enough.”

    Numerous factors contribute to and influence an interior designer’s service delivery – alliances, partners, contractors, and subcontractors. A well-researched choice will inform you on the probability of your supplier running out of stock. If the probability is low, The President of Passionate Project Management, Belinda Fremouw feels it is sufficient to develop a contingent response strategy designed to only be implemented if the risk event occurs as opposed to taking proactive action on the risk. She further recommends documenting a “Plan B” well in advance as that “will ensure that the project team is able to react to the risk in an expedient manner while hopefully minimizing any type of negative impact.” To conclude, don’t let your client down by letting your supplier leave you stranded.

    This article is based on the best project management practices.

  • Using colour in design to assist the healing process

    A growing trend in hospital design is the creation of a stimulating, stress free space for users. The application of colour in healthcare design and its connection to mood and health has been a much discussed topic. In her 2010 article “Healing Hues: Using Color to Improve Health” Angela Wright details how “colour affects us physiologically as well as emotionally.” By stimulating the nervous system, colours can influence mood and provoke reactions, hence their use “can make environments more peaceful and less anxiety provoking. This translates into a positive mood, which encourages the healing process.” Wright is not alone in her deductions. Faber Birren’s research for his book “Light, Color, and Environment” backs them up by further elaborating that “bright and vivid colours could arouse and increase autonomic functions, blood pressure, heart and respiration rate”, whereas “softer colours create an inward response – one of calm and repose.”

    Hospitals are building on these insights by commissioning acknowledged artists specialising in colour early in the design process. One such example is the Van Swieten building within Martini Hospital in Groningen that saw the famous Dutch colour artist Peter Struycken joining forces with architect Arnold Burger and interior designer Bart Vos. By making colour an integral part of both the architectural design and structural concept, the three delivered against the brief that was to build a healing, non-clinical environment with the ability to change in time. Other guiding principles for the architecture of the hospital included access to daylight, views, and orientation.

    To create a flexible building with fewer fixed functions and a lot of access to daylight, Burger and Vos designed a modular-system called “Industrial, Flexible, and Demountable” – IFD with demountable modular walls and furniture. Struycken then composed a 47-colour palette from which Burger and Vos selected 19 including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink and purple.

    Peter Struycken’s colour palette used by Vos and Burger. Source: Hospital Build & Infrastructure Magazine, Issue 1, 2013

    In her 2013 interview with The Hospital Build & Infrastructure Magazine, Corinne Molenaar from Vos Interior details the strategy behind colour application. “For the actual application of colours in the new building, Burger and Vos selected 19 colours from the palette of 47, five of which were relatively neutral colours for the walls and floors. So there are plenty of colours left for future use. For the application of colours, a matrix was developed. This is a set of rules by which colours are distributed in the available space… By not thinking in terms of colour-groups, nor in terms of specific wards, but rather in terms of the hospital as a whole, each ward was now treated the same, and discussions about colour were avoided. The hospital floors were coloured wing by wing, rather than on a room by room basis. Within one room, a specific colour-field on a wall or floor could therefore unexpectedly change into a different colour. This way, it was possible to create varied rooms, whereby no two rooms in the building were the same… Based on the matrix, the colours have been rolled out through the entire building and have been translated onto the exterior as well.”

    Source: Hospital Build & Infrastructure Magazine, Issue 1, 2013

    Molenaar further reports that “research has shown that patients and staff react positively to colour, and that they are less likely to feel like they are in a hospital.” Based on both official statements related to the project, and generally the research available on the subject, we can safely conclude that using colour in healthcare design elevates the spirit of all stakeholders.

    This article is grounded on the existing literature surrounding trends in healthcare architecture and design.

  • How The Royal London Hospital used design to be less intimidating

    The Royal London Hospital is one of six hospitals owned and managed by the largest NHS Trust in the UK – Barts Health. The trust is one of Britain’s healthcare providers leading the way in improving patient experience. One of the strategies for making this a reality is funding a charity organisation, Vital Arts, to drive arts programmes that transform the hospital experience for all stakeholders.

    In their preparation to transform the Royal London’s interior, Vital Arts conducted a series of consultations with hospital staff and patients to choose fifteen designers and artists for the project. Each of them was given a specific area to decorate, including reception areas, play spaces, elevator lobbies, and various ward settings. To make the interior less intimidating for all, the artists had to consider multiple factors prior to creating a colour palette that would deliver the brief.

    Some of the most predominantly used colours in this project include green, yellow, orange, and blue. This direction might tally with a 2012 interview in Healthcare Design magazine, with director of colour marketing for Sherwin-Williams, Jackie Jordan. Jordan recommends a balance of warm and cool colours for healthcare settings. “Cool colours tend to be more calming, so things that are in the blues and the blue-greens, really put people at ease because they do bring a sense of tranquility”. She further explains how “soothing colours can affect a patient’s mood and even contribute to the healing process.” On the other hand, stimulating colours such as vibrant yellows and reds for children’s hospitals, specifically activity rooms “where children are going to have some fun for the day participating in crafts, for example.”

    The new interior design of the Royal London includes painted illustrations, wood pieces, porcelain sculptures, and other 3D design elements. Director of Nursing and Governance for Children at Barts Health NHS Trust, Sally Shearer said “these fun designs are an important part of our commitment to easing children’s fears of being in a seemingly strange and scary building, to instead create a warm and comforting place of healing.”


    Respiratory (Ward 7E) by Miller Goodman. Source:

    Haematology (Ward 7F) by Donna Wilson. Source:

    Trauma and gastroenterology (Wing 7D) by Morag Myerscough. Source:

    The idea of creating a world away from the ward is based on research proving the positive effect of environments that help reduce patient’s anxiety, both in children and adults. Those effects amount to an increase in patient’s appetite, better response to treatment, even pain relief. Textile artist Ella Doran who designed the bedside curtains with a panoramic view of the Thames confirmed the project’s success. “A seminal moment for me was when a three-year-old girl stopped crying the moment she saw the curtains, pointing excitedly to the hidden cats and rabbits. That’s when I knew my design had worked.” The Trust feel that the new interior helped in making the hospital less scary for kids, in addition to helping nurses bond and build trust with their small patients, which makes performing medical tasks much easier.

    This article is based on industry research and the official information surrounding the project.









  • Four Seasons Health Care

    Four Seasons Health Care is an independent healthcare provider of nursing homes, care homes and specialist units throughout the UK.

    Recently, Four Seasons built a new care home in Battersea and Chieftain Fabrics were the Number one Choice for contract fabrics.

    The Reception pic shows our Chieftain Legend Navy in use and the dining room shows Chieftain Jazzberry in use on the chairs.

  • Lionella-reduced PVC content faux leather

    Lionella is a brand new faux leather for the 2012/2013 season. It has been designed to offer the feel and touch of leather with the efficiency and consistency of a faux leather.

    To do this, we have taken phthalates, reduced the PVC content and added 15% PU to Lionella, which allows it to retain the strength of a PVC but have the soft feel of a PU. Furthermore, the support or backing cloth is 100% cotton, therefore, this product is totally renewable.

    There are two grains within the range. Bourbon, consisting of 12 colours, and Tempo, with 8. It is heavier than a standard faux leather product, at 800 g/m2. This is to simulate the appearance and feel of real leather. The product is also made to be extremely hard-wearing at 300,000+ Martindale rubs.

    In the current market however, one of the key advantages of Lionella is its efficiency. The product is priced at approximately 1/3 the price of real leather per square metre and with less than 5% waste compared to up to 40% on a hide.