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KI Europe

Cut from a different cloth

Why co-designed fabrics should feature on your next project:

Woven fabrics have come a long way from their beginnings as one of humankind’s earliest technological innovations. Technology is influencing the applications of fabric in contract environments such as schools, universities and offices where organisations are creating warmer, more homely spaces. Soft seating, decorative wallpapers, interesting floor coverings, artwork and accessories are being included.

Now that better fabrics can be produced at a lower cost, both environmentally and economically, unprecedented levels of personalisation can be achieved. Whether it is a school or a major corporate headquarters, a unique fabric can be created that will help add to the uniqueness and distinctiveness of a space, making it more function-appropriate, beautiful and inhabitable.

Creating a unique environment people are proud to work in has never been easier. Office interiors are becoming more residential in feel, offering comfort and focussing on the wellbeing of people who use these spaces. For high traffic, high wear contract furnishings, finding a balance between durability and tactility can be a challenge. You want upholstery to be soft, but you can’t avoid that it will be subject to higher abrasion rates than domestic furniture, not to mention coffee spills! Collaborations between designers like myself, manufacturers and suppliers lets you have a seamless bespoke end result, as we help put unique ideas into commercial products.

- Natasha Marshall, Designer

As a contract furniture manufacturer, KI has seen customer needs evolve over its 25-year history in the UK. Steel storage and workstations of KI’s earlier days are being transformed and complemented with upholstered screens and seating. Traditional classroom chairs are finding themselves alongside lounge seating in spaces designed to support new ways of learning. Being able to customise fabrics for upholstery, screening and surfaces allows designers to have even more freedom to create the right components when they are trying to attain certifications and broader objectives.

- Jonathan M. Hindle, Group Managing Director – EMEA, KI Inc.