Take a look through our portfolio and collections and you will quickly notice that the vast majority of our floorcoverings - from boardrooms to bedrooms - are made of wool. As visual people, our love affair with wool begins with its aesthetic properties, but for interiors professionals there are a host of practical reasons why wool is the ultimate fibre.
A perfect example is our rugs for the Deloitte tower, which opened last year in Montreal and has received the LEED Platinum certification. When we were working with interior design firm Arney Fender Katsalids, the flame rating of the rugs was a non-negotiable. Because wool is naturally flame resistant, it does not require a chemical fire retardant treatment and therefore easily met the stringent requirements.
Stain Resistant and Liquid Repellent
Designers and architects creating dining spaces are sometimes surprised to learn how wool floorcoverings can maintain their appearance in the face of frequent spills. The scales on the outside of the wool fibre and its natural oils mean food and drink do not penetrate and can easily be cleaned up. When we worked with an ultra-modern restaurant and retail boutique concept in Vancouver named Secret Location, we confidently proceeded with 100% wool and took the added precaution of working with stippled tones in the design to mask any temporary mess.
As we were talking about this blog post, President Carol Sebert showed us the poms (samples) she had assembled for a current project (see photo below). "One of the wonderful merits of wool is the look of it - see this gentle transition from beige to chocolate. The yarn dyes so beautifully and the lustre of the fibre is magnificent."
For the Creative Matters collection rugs and for our custom work, we often select New Zealand wool. However, if we are looking for some additional character in a handknotted rug, we consider the Tibetan yarn seen in the above photo. "The lanolin in the high mountain sheep creates a special aspect in the wool that is unmatched worldwide. Because this wool is also handspun, variation in the dernier (the width of the fibre) adds more personality. This variation is then further enhanced in dyeing as the dye takes differently to the yarn density. It is subtle, but so beautiful," said Carol.
In fact, a Tibetan wool rug was a winner when the Baker & McKenzie law firm was looking for a rug that would add a soft, residential feel to their corporate office. For that extra touch of visual luxe, the design includes silk accents.
One of our high-end-high-visibility projects was carpeting for Louis Vuitton stores around the world. Their team wanted to maximize the silk in the wall-to-wall carpet but pure silk rugs do not offer durability under duress, so our recommendation was to use a blend of 50% wool and 50% silk.
According to the U.K.'s The Campaign for Wool, sound absorption is one of the primary reasons wool carpet is used most often in aircrafts, casinos & hotels. For a recent project in a busy space with majestic high ceilings in Toronto's financial core, we found that the wool area rugs performed the dual role of pulling the seating arrangements together and reducing noise.
And then there are some floorcoverings where wool is selected for the whole gamut of its aesthetic and practical characteristics. A perfect example is the glamourous handtufted carpet for the Bergdorf Goodman Jewelry Salons that debuted in December 2015. Creative Matters Senior Design Ali McMurter said, "Wool was the obvious choice for durability - with touches of silk to lend unmistakable luxury. It also provided the superior colour precision required as we matched to the surrounding stonework, paint colour and store fixtures. And, the Bergdorf team was well aware that wool would provide the best cushion and noise absorption."
Interiors professionals can be confident that wool is not only the perfect canvas for the rug designer and presents all the advantages of comfort, durability, stain resistance, flame resistance and noise absorption, but it is also one of the world's most natural, sustainable and renewable products.