Too often confined to the role of decoration, textiles can offer comfort, protection, and much more. The wide-ranging use of textiles in architecture and design has a rich and ancient history. Though difficult to find early examples, due to their perishability, the oldest known survivor is a fragment of pile carpet from the 4th or 5th century BC. Structure, engineering; these may not be the first words that come to mind when considering textiles, but their flexibility - literally - surely resonates. Flexibility for use, flexibilty for design and flexibility for change. "The beauty of textiles is that they're something you can change," says Nancy Webster, practicum professor at the North Carolina State University College of Textiles . "We don't change structure too often. With textiles you can redecorate every 10 years, every two, or seasonally."
And the future, like the past, is all about versatility. Fabric research is focused on dual application, says Webster. "We'll see heat mechanisms, color changes, and softer and more therapeutic aspects, like lotions." Not to mention glare guards, sound barriers, water resistors, and the use of technology to make every step easier. Textiles, which are flexible, pracitcal and unique, have no boundaries. Click on the images below to find out how designers are using textiles today.
Weather-Resistant Luxury: Oberoi Vanyavilas Tents
The 20-acre Oberoi Vanyavilas resort offers accommodations in 25 luxury tents that are as beautiful as they are durable.
Digital Textile Solution: Kin Shop
You can introduce so much texture by using textiles and patterns, according Eskayel Creative Director Shanan Campanro.
Material Play: Sputnik Chandelier
Textile innovation in dual purpose applications is growing, with some outstanding results.
Sound Absorbing: Musiktheater im Revier
The main focus of the 2010 renovation of MiR in Gelsenkirchen, Germany was to improve the auditorium’s acoustics, which didn't mean a one-time, single-use upgrade.