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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.


    References
    Wikipedia, (2015). Spandex. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spandex [Accessed 26 May 2015].

    Echa.europa.eu, (2015). REACH – ECHA. [online] Available at: http://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach [Accessed 27 May 2015].

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  • Fabric Technology Changes

    Side Profile of Just Colour Vinyl fabric at 100x

    Since coated fabrics such as vinyl were invented in the early 1900’s, the industry has constantly been reinventing itself with fabric technology changes. Coated fabrics are engineered composite materials, produced by a combination of a textile fabric and a polymer coating applied to the fabric surface. As the material is engineered and involves technical processes, research and development departments are always looking for ways to improve.

    Fung points out that fabric and coating lamination draws on several disciplines, including textile technology, chemistry, polymer chemistry and engineering skills. Chieftain Fabrics have been refining the process since the company was founded in 1954 and over the past number of years have made some significant enhancements to the process, our most notable achievements include:

    Polyvinyl chloride

    By adjusting the mechanical properties of our PVC, we have achieved better thermal stability and additional resistant to acids (citrus fruit, vinegar etc.) & bases (bleach, cleaning agents, etc.). In addition, we use a higher quality of PVC,  so that it is easier to recycle our vinyl when the product reaches the end of its working life.

    Antimicrobial additive

    By adapting constituent antimicrobial elements we are able to achieve a dual improvement with our vinyl. First, our antimicrobial elements were brought inline with  REACH requirements, REACH is a European Regulation and is an acronym for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals in the EU.

    Second, the improved formula increased performance against the spread of a large number of bacteria, molds, mildews and yeasts, making the fabric perform better in situations where this is a priority such as healthcare, retail & transportation.

    Backing cloth

    By slightly adjusting the standard weave technique, Chieftain strengthened the cotton yarn significantly in the finished product to have elevated strength parameters in all strength tests performed on our fabric.

    Plasticiser

    We removed phthalate plasticiser from our vinyl and now use only phthalate free materials which meet and exceed current REACH requirements, without affecting any of the performance properties. Phthalates are additives added to some plastics and are noted for having possible side effects in humans.

    We also improved the plasticiser barrier of vinyl to offer better performance during use.

    Stabilisers for PVC and pigments

    By carefully adjusting the portion of stabilisers in our fabric, we now obtain better UV (ultra violet) resistance to degradation, which enables higher performance against sunshine and weather conditions.

    Lacquers

    By working in close partnership with our supplier of lacquers, Stahl BV, who are headquartered in the Netherlands, Chieftain have been able to suggest formulation updates to provide better adhesion, abrasion, flexibility and anti-soiling properties.

    In relation to production, Chieftain is dedicated to a continual improvement process from both a technical and aesthetic perspective, we constantly evaluate new methods and practices.

    For instance, currently, we are conducting research into 3D printing, a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, where our unique cotton backing cloth is used as a base layer. Potentially, this could allow us to ‘print’ fabric on demand in any colour, texture or pattern.

    Initial results are mixed, but to quote Edison;

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.


    References

    Fung, W. (2000) Coated and Laminated Textiles. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

    Kumar Sen, A. (2008) Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications, Second Edition. Florida: CRC Press.

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  • The Good and the Bad Vinyl Fabrics

    Side by side comparison, a poorly produced vinyl fabric will ‘look’ the same as a highly engineered version.

     

    A known idiom reminds us not to be ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ and in almost any purchase or specification decision we can easily get seduced by a lower price and not fully realise the actual cost. We have all experienced this in one form or another, but is this apparent in a fabric specification decision? Surely fabric is fabric?

    Unfortunately, not all fabrics are created equally and vinyl fabric is no exception. As vinyl is a synthetic material, it can be manufactured in many ways. The marketplace has both ‘The Good and the Bad Vinyl Fabrics’. Matkovic ́ et al highlights some of the factors that contribute to good quality vinyl production which include;

    • using good quality raw materials,
    • ensuring precise control of how PU paste with the paper passes through the dryer at the correct speed of 10 mm/min,
    • how the temperature needs to be adjusted to 80℃ to allow drying of various solvents which need to evaporate.

    Not correctly managing any of these steps can have dramatic effects on the end product. Unfortunately, to look at the product, even in a side by side comparison, a poorly produced vinyl fabric will ‘look’ the same as a highly engineered version. The difference only becomes apparent after some use.
    In ‘Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications’ Sen points out that upholstery fabric is made up of layers fixed to a cotton base fabric;

    These fabrics contain a knitted base fabric, a polyurethane foam middle layer and a wear-resistant top coat…The composite is then foamed, cross-linked, and laminated to a textile base…An important requirement of the upholstery fabric is that it should have proper flame-retardant additive to reduce the ignitability of the products.

    Additional ingredients can also be added to improve the fabrics performance. For instance UV (ultraviolet) stabilisers can also be added to protect the fabric in direct sunlight. Again, from looking at a highly engineered fabric, compared to a poor grade one, there is no way of knowing if the product has UV stabilisers included and again this will not be known until the fabric starts to fade or flake after exposure to sunlight.
    Even the quantity used in each layer has a massive impact on the vinyl and the cost associated with producing it. Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications points out that;

    Upholstery-grade cloth has a thick foam layer ranging from 360 to 480 grams per meter squared, a top layer of 180 to 360 grams per meter squared.

    Producing vinyl fabric below these tolerances, which is common practice in cheaper grade vinyls, will naturally result in an inferior product, yet may remain unknown to the buyer. Typically, cheaper vinyl manufacturers use less expensive ‘fillers’ and as Sen further points out, ‘the primary role of a filler in PVC is reduction in cost’. Extensive use of filler in the production of a fabric will again have no initial visual indication.
    Again, performance would only become apparent when in situ.
    One major furniture store in the UK, DFS, came under heavy criticism for supplying poor quality furniture recently. The knock on effect was damage to the DFS brand and an investigation by BBC TV who pointed out that due to the poor quality fabric being used in their leather and faux leather sofas, they failed the necessary standards for UK fire safety regulations and were therefore shown as illegal for sale in the UK. Secondary costs such as the re-upholstery and transport are never factored in along with the damage caused to the brand and negative publicity generated. As a specifier, supplier or manufacturer of furniture, is it worth the risk? If you visit a restaurant, store or office and notice poor quality upholstered furniture where the colour is fading, rubbing off or the material is flaking, what impression does this create? What does this communicate about the organisation or brand?

    As highlighted in Mix Magazine March 2015 edition, as dealerships evolve and respond to a marketplace that views furniture as part of brand identity, contract furniture companies, are under constant pressures to deliver quality products with the correct margins. They can easily be seduced by a lower fabric price. However, for their customers, they are the centre of knowledge and excellence and must examine their client’s needs objectively and supply a coherent solution. Thinking ‘fabric is fabric’ can easily lead to poor quality selection with the end result being threefold:
    damaging the relationship with the client,
    weakening the ‘consultant’ position,
    having to absorb the additional cost of having to collect, transport, re-upholstery and re-deliver.

    • damaging the relationship with the client,
    • weakening the ‘consultant’ position,
    • having to absorb the additional cost of having to collect, transport, re-upholstery and re-deliver.

    All of which epitomises ‘penny wise, pound foolish’.


    References

    Matkovic, V, Cubric, I, and Skenderi, Z. (2014) ‘Thermal resistance of polyurethane-coated knitted fabrics before and after weathering’, Textile Research Journal, November 2014 vol. 84 no. 19. pp. 2015-2025.

    Sen, A. K (2007) Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications, Second Edition, Florida, USA:CRC Press, pp.148

    BBC, (2015). Your Money Their Tricks – DFS sales tactics – BBC One. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/r5pvRcspQH8jjJ5JJpNkvq/dfs-sales-tactics [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].

    Furniturenews.net, (2015). Furniture retailers implicated in BBC’s fire regulation investigation. [online] Available at: http://www.furniturenews.net/news/articles/2014/01/1675215348-furniture-retailers-implicated-bbcs-fire-regulation-investigation [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].

    Mixinteriors.com, (2015). Spotlight: The Dealer Market | March 2015. [online] Available at: http://www.mixinteriors.com/march-x2015/i/630/desc/spotlight-the-dealer-market/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

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  • OVS Via Dante – experiential retail store for the 21st century customer

    A recent study of the European e-commerce industry conducted by RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research, suggests that e-commerce sales will increase by 18.4% in 2015, while offline retail sales will decrease by 1.4%. With e-commerce chewing into brick and mortar sales year on year, PwC reports that “most traditional retailers are facing the biggest challenge in their histories: How do they meet consumers’ expectations of a seamless shopping experience?”

    The answer lies in cross-channel integration. VP of Marketing & Business Development at Shipwire, Nate Gilmore says “retailers with a tightly integrated online and offline experience are winning by perfecting the buyer experience on the buyer’s terms.” Some of the examples include

    1. ‘Health kiosks’ within Lloyds Pharmacy stores. The kiosks are “interactive touchscreens and printers that allow customers to browse its entire product line, place orders and pay for goods via credit card”, says Christopher Ratcliff, Deputy Editor at Econsultancy.
    2. Macy’s iOS app Shopkick that alerts the customers who enter the store about deals and items they may be interested in.
    3. The OVS Digital Experience corner within the OVS flagship store in Via Dante. It gives customers an omni-channel experience that includes “a new virtual changing room, sales assistants supporting clients with iPads, multi-media totems and click-and-collect services” says Maria Cristina Pavarini, Senior Features Editor at Sportswear International.

    We have looked at how the OVS Via Dante store serves as an example of how e-commerce, digital marketing and retail can be successfully merged to deliver a unique customer experience.

    March 2015 issue of Design: Retail Magazine featured the store as one of 10 retailers worldwide “who are challenging the paradigm with thoughtful, inspiring and new ideas.” The three-storey boutique spreads over 900 square metres with a large wall mirror with light cuts connecting the floors. The new architectural design by Vincenzo De Cotiis Architects brings together new expressive codes such as the small, free‐standing furnishing units, and pre‐existing features on the first floor that have been taken back to their original colours.

    Source: milandesignagenda.com

    The OVS Digital Experience corner is situated on the first floor. It was designed by agencies NARAI and Nuvò. The interactive Kiosk enables customers to read the bar code of an item of interest and immediately verify its availability, along with sizes and colours. Additionally, they can purchase and pay by credit card, and ship the product home or pick it up at the check outs, says Monica Gagliardi,e-commerce and CRM Manager of the Gruppo Coin. OVS partnered up with Google Enterprise to make this a reality.

    Source: behance.net

    Totem concept render. Source: behance.net

    OVS Via Dante store provides an experience that cannot be delivered by e-commerce. Its success confirms the opinion of Neil Masterton, design director of ARM Architecture who believes “retail isn’t exactly about functionalism, it isn’t specifically about ease and isn’t specifically about straightforwardness… what people want in retail is actually a set of different kinds of urban experiences.”

    This article is based on the official information surrounding the OVS Via Dante store.

  • Can we avoid Phthalates?

    Currently, Phthalates are almost everywhere.

    What are Phthalates?
    Phthalates are a group of chemical compounds used in the production of plastics such as PVC to make them softer and more flexible. Phthalates were first introduced in the 1920s and are used in a wide variety of products from building materials, personal-care products, medical devices to pharmaceuticals, food products, and textiles. Essentially they are contained in a multitude of everyday plastic products.
    When present in these products, phthalates can be released because they are not chemically bound to the plastics. This may lead to human exposure the net effects of this exposure remain somewhat vague.

    Where are Phthalates?
    In 2003, researchers at the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) documented:

    People are exposed to phthalates by eating and drinking foods that have been in contact with containers and products containing phthalates. To a lesser extent exposure can occur from breathing in air that contains phthalate vapors or dust contaminated with phthalate particles.

    The Guardian points out that phthalates are next to impossible to avoid. They are in multiple household items, personal care products, fragrance, household cleaners, and food. The article notes that:

    In food, for example, even milk packaged in glass may have passed through plastic tubes on its way from the cow to the bottle, taking DEHP along with it. “Milking machines use a lot of plastic and DEHP is free and very lipophilic (fat soluble), and milk is full of lipids, so it just pulls the DEHP out of the plastic tubing and into the milk,” explains Robin Whyatt, professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center and the lead author on several landmark phthalate studies (Westervelt, 2015).

    Various other pieces of research and articles point out that phthalates are endocrine disruptors. The American Chemical Council note that disruptors ‘substances mimic a natural hormone, fooling the body into over-responding to the stimulus (e.g., a growth hormone that results in increased muscle mass), or responding at inappropriate times (e.g., producing insulin when it is not needed)’.
    Similar to phthalates, BPA which stands for bisphenol A is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. According to the Mayo Clinic,

    BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines.

    Currently, there appears to be a re-assessment as to how we manufacture and utilise plastic. The US decision on BPA may well have a knock-on effect to Phthalates in the EU. In 2012 Time magazine asked the question ‘When the evidence is scary but uncertain, what will the federal government do?’. According to the same article,

    On March 30 (2012), the FDA announced that it was rejecting a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to ban BPA from food packaging. “While evidence from some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans,” the FDA wrote in a statement following its ruling.

    However, in 2013 a California court went against these findings, and introduced a ruling specific to the state of Califormia.

    The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to add BPA to California’s Proposition 65 list of harmful chemicals and require companies to warn consumers when their products can expose them to BPA.

    Are Phthalates dangerous?
    Recent EU studies conclude that more research into the use of Phthalates is required. In 2010 Reuters compiled a ‘Special Report: The problem with phthalates’ and noted that Professor Richard Sharpe, an expert in male reproductive health at Edinburgh University, believes that “understanding whether or not phthalates play any role in human male reproductive disorders is pivotal.” Animal studies, he says “point clearly toward effects, but human studies are very mixed.”

    What is the future of Phthalates?
    Allan (2014) highlighted that the Danish Environment Minister wanted to ban all Phthalates from December 2015 but a previous decision of the European Court from 2013 obscured this and demanded them to wait for the normal procedures and decisions of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), that is currently assessing, whether there is basis for an EU-wide ban.
    Similar to what happened in the US, where California decided to interpret the results in relation to BPA and list it as a harmful chemical, individual states in the EU could take a similar approach with Phthalates and require companies to warn consumers when and where they are present.


    References:
    Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks of the European Commission (2008) ‘Phthalates in school supplies’.Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/about-phthalates-school-supplies.htm [Accessed 24 March 2015]

    Phthalate (2015). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate [Accessed 23 March 2015].

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003) Phthalates FactSheet. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/pdf/Pthalates_FactSheet.pdf [Accessed 23 March 2015]

    Endocrine Studies (2015). Available at: http://phthalates.americanchemistry.com/Research-Phthalates/Endocrine-Studies [Accessed 1 April 2015].

    Phthalates (2014) Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128250.htm [Accessed 24 March 2015]

    Phthalates (2015) Available at: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Phthalates-Information/ [Accessed 24 March 2015]

    Walsh, B. (2012) Why the FDA Hasn’t Banned Potentially Toxic BPA (Yet). Available at: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2110902,00.html [Accessed 1 April 2015].

    Westervelt, A. (2015) Phthalates are everywhere, and the health risks are worrying. How bad are they really? Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/10/phthalates-plastics-chemicals-research-analysis [Accessed 23 March 2015]

    Harrison, P. (2010) ‘Special Report: The problem with phthalates’. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/18/us-plastics-health-idUSTRE69H1PM20101018 [Accessed 24 March 2015]

    Chemical & Engineering News (2005) ‘EU Bans Three Phthalates From Toys, Restricts Three More ‘, Volume 83, Number 28 pp. 11

    Allan. (2014) ‘EU OVERRULES A DANISH NATIONAL BAN OF FOUR PHTHALATES’. Available at: http://nipsect.dk/eu-overrules-a-danish-national-ban-of-four-phthalates/ [Accessed 24 March 2015]

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  • The history of vinyl fabric

    Accounts of plastic and rubber stretch back to discoveries by Columbus in 1492. According to John Martin’s book, The Romance of Rubber, Columbus noted ‘a simple game which he saw being played with a ball that bounced’. Martin also explains that

    In 1731…La Condamine, wrote of a tree called “Hevea”.
    “There flows from this tree a liquor which hardens gradually and blackens in the air”.
    He found the people of Quito (Ecuador, South America) waterproofing cloth with it, and the Amazon Indians were making boots which, when blackened in smoke, looked like leather.

    Wikipedia notes that German professor, F. J. Otto had produced guncotton in 1846 and was the first to publish the process. According to Fungs’ book, Coated and Laminated Textiles,

    nitro-cellulose was discovered and developed as a fabric coating material for cotton. The material became known as ‘gun cotton’, ‘pyroxylin’ and ‘collodion’, and was used in many applications (Fung, 2000).

    Technology in Society wrote about how polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was discovered,

    In 1860, Hofmann observed that vinyl-bromide, a colorless liquid, changed into a white porcelain-like mass. This process was a mystery to him, and he referred to it as a ‘metamorphosis’. In 1872, Baumann, elaborating on these results, became the first to make polyvinyl chloride, a white milky precipitate made by putting tubes filled with vinyl chloride in direct sunlight. Like other chemists of the time, Baumann showed no interest in applying the new material.

    ‘The newer plastics appearing…marked a fundamental shift in the way new materials came into existence’, is highlighted in the book ‘American Plastic: A Cultural History’. Meikle points out how previously, items were made from natural materials such as wood, ivory, tortoiseshell, agate and coral. Americans refused to buy household or personal products made from an earlier synthetic resin called Celluloid, invented in 1869, unless it resembled ‘natural’ materials.

    Fabrikoid, which became a Du Pont product, was initially marketed as one of the first faux leathers which had widespread success. According to the Du Pont website;

    Produced by coating fabric with nitrocellulose and marketed as artificial leather, Fabrikoid was widely used in upholstery, luggage and book bindings during the early 20th century. In the 1920s, Fabrikoid became the preferred material for automobile convertible tops and seat covers…but by the 1940s new, more durable vinyl-coated fabrics overtook the market.

    Following this, Du Pont launched a new product which was initially called Corfam which was supposed to replace leather as explained by Kanigel. His book further outlines

    Corfam was no tacky low-life vinyl. It was protected by a slew of patents covering every stage of its manufacture…It was leather-like. It was synthetic leather. Artificial leather. Imitation leather. Fake leather. Or, to use the French word that slyly slips around the stigma of fake, faux leather.

    However, some years later, Du Pont made the decision to ‘terminate the production of Corfam, which had failed despite heavy investment in technology and consumer research’ (Du Pont, 2014).

    Mulder and Knot outline how PVC’s relative non-flammability, durability, insulation properties, and resistance to humidity and various chemicals were practical reasons for its broad incursion into the consumer market.

    Kanigel highlights that it was Naugahyde faux leather that became the emblem of the 1950s. Naugahyde was adopted by the D.I.Y. craze of the era. Top end designers used it, ‘even chairs in the United Nations building in New York, it was everywhere’.

    By the mid 1960s Uniroyal, the manufactures of Naugahyde, had numerous look alike competitors; the world’s premier maker of imitation leather was itself being challenged by imitators’.

    Today, much attention is now shifting to the recyclability of vinyl fabric and PVC.

    As ‘vinyl’, is a thermoplastic material made of 57% chlorine (derived from industrial grade salt) and 43% carbon (derived predominantly from oil / gas via ethylene), PVC is extremely durable (it is commonly used to make long-lasting products, often with a life-expectancy exceeding 60 years). Thanks to its unique polymer structure, PVC products are well suited for recycling when they come to the end of their life (recovinyl.com, 2015).

    Fung highlights that Du Pont are still at the forefront of vinyl fabric research and are currently examining how to manufacture biodegradable polymers by using plants as the starting material. The end result may eventually see significantly less non-renewable oil being made into textiles.


    References:

    Martin, J. (2007) The Romance of Rubber. Available at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4759/4759-h/4759-h.htm [Accessed 31 March 2015]

    Nitrocellulose (2015). Guncotton. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrocellulose [Accessed 9 April 2015].

    Fung, W. (2000) Coated and Laminated Textiles. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

    Du Pont (2014) 1910 Artificial Leather. Available at: http://www2.dupont.com/Phoenix_Heritage/en_US/1910_detail.html [Accessed 31 March 2015].

    Meikle, J.L. (1995) American Plastic: A Cultural History. New Jersey, USA, Rutgers University Press, p.p. 82

    Mulder, K. and Knot, M. (2001) ‘PVC plastic: a history of systems development and entrenchment’ Technology in Society. Volume 23, Issue 2, April 2001, Pages 265–286

    http://www.sciencedirect.com.ucd.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0160791X01000136

    Semon, W.L. and Stahl G.H. (1982) History of vinyl chloride polymers. New York: Marcel Dekker, pages 199–214

    Kanigel, R. (2007) Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 Years of Inspired Fakes. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

    Du Pont (2014) 1986 Richard E. Heckert. Available at: http://www2.dupont.com/Phoenix_Heritage/en_US/1986_b_detail.html [Accessed 31 March 2015]

    Naugahyde (2015) INNOVATION THAT MATTERS. Available at: https://www.naugahyde.com [Accessed 31 March 2015]

    Martin, J. (2007) The Romance of Rubber. Available at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4759/4759-h/4759-h.htm [Accessed 31 March 2015]

    Recovinyl (2015) PVC, a Recyclable Material – Ideal for Reprocessing. Available at: http://www.recovinyl.com/pvc-recyclable-material-ideal-reprocessing [Accessed 2 April 2015].

  • ‘The School on the Terraces’ sets an example for how the school of the future should look

    2016 will see the completion of a new primary school in the heart of Denmark’s city of Aarhus that will replace the existing school N.J. Fjordsgades Skole. The city of Aarhus commissioned an expert team including contractor Hoffmann, Henning Larsen Architects, GPP Architects, landscape architects Møller & Grønborg and consulting engineer NIRAS to build a “healthy, inspiring learning and teaching environment centred on the pupils, staff and guests – and where efficiency, comfort and responsibility are key elements.”

    Source: www.archiscene.net

    Source: www.henninglarsen.com

    To create such space, the project team took an integrated energy design approach and combined it with state-of-the-art principles for learning and play. Signe Kongebro, Erik Hansson and Martha Lewis worked on the strategy for sustainability that will meet the energy requirements of the 2020 Danish building code.

    Henning Larsen Architects detail the key elements of the sustainability strategy. These are energy, indoor climate and materials. When combined together they create a healthy, efficient, and comfortable environment for all stakeholders. The project’s sponsors feel that “the new building sends a clear signal of Aarhus City’s emphasis on sustainability and energy consumption and demonstrates a school that actively contributes to future-proofing the society which the pupils will form part of in the future.”

    To build a healthy school, architects say “a variety of measures have been incorporated, including a well-insulated building envelope with a heat loss factor that exceeds the 2020 energy code requirements by 50 percent… All materials are selected on the basis of life span, quality, operation and maintenance.” Furthermore, they say that design for the new school is based on “the growing body of research showing that children learn more in a good indoor climate.” Such conditions were achieved by taking into account the environmental and health-related impact of materials, as well building design, orientation and positioning of windows.

    The new school is organised as a four leaf clover with the four clusters interconnected via three atria. The new structure is a result of putting “daylight, human scale and dynamic spaces as an integral part of the new building. Each cluster features a small common square with niches, reading hammocks, mobile workshops and multi-purpose furniture.” They function as a standalone unit with own unique identity, thus dividing the school into smaller units. Each unit incorporates the outside terraces as open workshops hence enabling both indoor and outdoor active learning.

    Source: www.archiscene.net

    Source: www.archiscene.net

    The new building will spread across 15,000-square-metres, and will offer afterschool programmes as well as day care. Henning Larsen Architects believe its two faces – the urban look and the green landscape for activity, make it a unique environment for all stakeholders. Kristian Würtz, Alderman in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Aarhus believes “it is an excellent proposal for how the school of the future should look.”

    This article is based on the official information surrounding the construction of ‘The School on the Terraces.’

  • Anatomy of our contract grade vinyl fabric

    Electron microscopes are used to investigate the ultrastructure of a wide range of biological and inorganic specimens including microorganisms, cells, large molecules, biopsy samples, metals, and crystals.

    At Chieftain Fabrics, the electron microscope is often used for quality control and analysis.
    Recently we caught the attached image in our lab which shows the side profile of our just colour range of vinyl.

    False colour has been added to help differentiate the various layers at 100x magnification.

     

    Electron Microscope Image of our contract grade vinyl fabric

     

    In the image, starting at the bottom, you can see the strands of the cotton backing cloth with the adhesive layer on top.
    Next is the foaming layer with unmissable ‘bubbles’ and on top is the lacquer layer.

     

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  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital

     

    HB Furniture supply the finest British furniture using a close network of talented people, their products are manufactured in the UK using a combination of traditional skills, new technology and the finest materials. The Curve Collection was developed in conjunction with an interior designer for Birmingham Children’s Hospital specifically for the main reception in the children’s ward.

     

    HB Furniture: “The initial brief was to create a fun, dynamic and practical seating layout which would appeal to the patients and parents. We focused on specific requirements for both private consulting areas and general seating and play areas.”

    HB Furniture also introduced the curve booth which allows patients and nurses to have private areas for consultation.  In contrast, the large back to back curve seating areas allowed the children to have free reign. All furniture produced was made to the highest standard in terms of frame and foam construction to guarantee a robust and comfortable product.

     

    The Curv Booth

     

    In terms of finish and fabric selection, HB Furniture chose the Chieftain Fabrics Just Colour range principally for the colours and technical specification that it offered within a hospital environment. Chieftain Fabrics have over 60 years experience in the design and production of high-quality performance fabric and contract upholstery and with their unique mix of specialist expertise, innovative R&D and advanced materials, Chieftain Fabrics produce an inherently better fabric which was an ideal fit for HB Furniture.

    HB: “It was critical that this fabric had antimicrobial and stain resistant qualities combined with a crib 5 fire rating.”

    With regards to the general construction of these products, all sewing and stitch lines were reinforced to add to the longevity of the seating.

    Formed in 1998 by Richard Berry and Gordon Hunter, hb has evolved into an established company committed to providing a professional and creative service, promoting the very best of British design and manufacture. To learn more about hb, visit hbgroup.co.uk

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  • 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.