Paper moves into the textiles department
PAPYRUSSÄV room divider looks like it's made in linen or silk. But it's actually something completely different which has been woven into a lightweight and flexible fabric – paper. Together with The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, Sweden, we found an exciting textile alternative which is renewable and environmentally more sustainable than many other materials.
Borås is located 150km northwest of Älmhult. Since the 1800s, it has been the centre of Swedish textiles, and at The Swedish School of Textiles’ department called Smart Textiles, there’s research involving new textiles and materials. We were curious about their work and what it could teach us. Filippa Borg, who works with developing new products for IKEA, talks about the need of complements to cotton:
”Indeed all cotton we currently use at IKEA is produced under more sustainable conditions than conventionally grown cotton. But we always want to test new materials and innovations to realise as environmentally sustainable solutions as possible”.
Feels like linen or silk
Filippa and her textile colleagues in Älmhult began a creative collaboration with Smart Textiles in Borås and looked at how paper yarn could provide interesting new textile solutions. Woven textiles in paper yarn have a long tradition in places like China and Japan, but by developing the material, it's possible to find more areas of use, says Lena-Marie Jensen at Smart Textiles.
”To develop a responsive and washable fabric, you need a yarn which is twisted by long, water resistant paper fibres and you need the warp, the lengthwise thread in the loom, to be in cotton”, explains Lena-Marie.
In collaboration with one of our textile suppliers, we then started to test weave with paper yarn. The end result was a fabric with an unexpectedly smooth and lightweight feel.
”It has a slightly dry surface and feels quite a bit like linen or silk”, says Filippa.
The fabric can withstand 40°C washing and is suitable for pillows, curtains and many other interior items, but for the first project, Filippa and her colleagues wanted to do something more expressive. It resulted in PAPYRUSSÄV room divider.
”It was something we needed in the range and the fabric was a perfect fit since it's lightweight and filters the light beautifully”, explains Filippa. ”With PAPYRUSSÄV you can easily share and create rooms in the room”.
Time for new materials
Around the world, people are increasingly aware of sustainability issues and many people want to decorate their homes in textiles which are more environmentally friendly and which offer new and exciting expressions. Filippa believes that we'll see many more products in woven or knitted paper yarn in the future. But paper will only be one of several new materials. What tomorrow's fabrics are woven in is something the future – and research – are still to show.
”To find new and environmentally friendly fibres for the future's textiles is an exciting challenge. Imagine if you could use weeds?” Filippa wonders.