A collection of exciting interior material innovations from around the world, curated by Futures Agency FranklinTill.
Curated by FranklinTill, The Future Materials Library 2021 celebrates radical designers, innovative manufacturers and environmentally conscious producers who are helping to turn the current, linear system of production and consumption into a circular model. Featuring a mix of commercially viable and early-stage developments, the textiles and interior materials exhibited in the library have been collected under four key themes: Regenerative Crops, Remade Fibres, Harvesting Waste Streams and Sustainable Colour. Together, they inspire and attract producers and consumers alike to join the circle.
CAN WE GROW MATERIALS IN A WAY THAT ENRICHES THE ENVIRONMENT?
Contemporary fibre cultivation often comes at great environmental cost: it has disrupted ecosystems, depleted topsoil, caused desertification and exacerbated pollution, while using vast amounts of water and chemicals. Regenerative practices in fibre agriculture tackle these issues, with sustainable ‘soil to soil’ techniques that enable crops to give back to the very environment they’re grown in. These farming methods enrich soil, encourage biodiversity, absorb carbon from the atmosphere and often produce higher and more frequent yields than traditional crops and methods. Enriching the new natural material landscape of consciously cultivated textiles: hemp, nettle, yak fibre and flax.
CAN WE CREATE A CLOSED, CIRCULAR SYSTEM TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF TEXTILES?
Once tossed without a thought, discarded textiles are making the old new again. With a focus on diverting industrial and post-consumer textile waste that would otherwise be destined for incineration or the landfill, new and developing technologies enable forward-thinking brands, manufacturers and social enterprises to put these resources to (re)use in new production chains. Whether composed of a monomaterial or a blend of materials, waste textiles undergo chemical or mechanical processes to be reduced to fibres, turned into yarn and transformed once again into usable textiles. The ultimate goal: an infinite, zero-waste cycle of regeneration.
HARVESTING WASTE STREAMS
CAN WE TAP INTO INDUSTRIAL WASTE STREAMS FOR VALUABLE RAW MATERIALS?
Changing viewpoints on waste are leading designers and material innovators to rethink raw materials for the textiles and materials industries. The motivation for this shift in perspective: an urgent need to conserve the planet’s precious resources while also reducing the quantity of waste we generate. Productive reuse of post-consumer waste and industrial scrap is increasingly proving itself a viable solution. From food production to sheep farming and forestry, the thoughtfully repurposed byproducts and waste streams of diverse and unexpected industries demonstrate that we already possess, today, all the material resources we need for tomorrow’s designs.
CAN WE REDUCE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT OF TEXTILE DYEING?
Beyond raw materials sourcing and end-of-use questions, production processes in the textiles and materials industries are increasingly coming under scrutiny. Sustainable textile-dyeing practices tackle the water-intensive process of creating and applying synthetic dyes, as well as the health and environmental hazards caused by the toxic chemicals used. Slow, natural-dye processes offer a gentler solution to creating colour, with the subtle, soothing hues to match; agricultural byproducts serve as new sources rich for dye extraction; and lab-engineered bacteria are being put into action to produce, through fermentation, a wide and welcome range of specific colours.