For many years Nordic furniture manufacturers have been using merino wool from New Zealand in their products. In early 2015, Flokk, Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik and Sandnes Garn collaborated on a collection of Norwegian wool upholstery fabrics.
Nearly 2 years down the line, we take a look at this remarkable partnership, and how it continues to promote a sustainable future for Norwegian industry.
Norwegian wool is of exceptional quality. It is strong and sturdy with a special lustre. Norwegian sheep are allowed to roam free during the grazing season. That is one of the reasons why Norwegian wool is more varied and rough than wool from New Zealand where the sheep are kept on cultivated land.
Lacking applications for sturdy wool products, practically all Norwegian wool has since the seventies been exported to UK for washing and then used in carpet production. Only a small fraction of the wool has been sent back to Norway and used for knitting products and Norwegian traditional costumes.
The wool project is a collaboration between Flokk, Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik and Sandnes Garn. We’ve proved that Norwegian wool can be washed, spun and woven in to a great upholstery fabric. The companies put sustainability high, and want to encourage other furniture manufacturers to use Norwegian produced wool.
Therefore Flokk has chosen to refrain exclusivity of the fabrics. The three companies believe that a conscious focus on Norwegian wool production, extensive cooperation and shared knowledge is beneficial for all parties involved.
The Norwegian wool fabrics are named after the Norwegian valleys; Sirdal, Suldal, Setesdal and come in five colours: black, grey, turquoise, blue and yellow, all inspired by the Nordic nature and urban settings.
Through these fabrics, Flokk and Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik are able to express the shared values of design, quality and sustainability.
The sheep grow strong in Norway’s natural environment. The wool is then sheared, sorted and classified at the wool stations before it is sent off for further processing. Sandnes Garn refines the wool with the latest sustainable technology for washing, dying and spinning.
At Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik the yarn is twirled and weaved into fabrics, then dyed and given the last finishing touches. The outcome is a high quality product, all in accordance with environmental standards and high quality requirements. Finally Flokk upholster their chairs with the fabric.
The story of the Norwegian Wool project is about returning to our local resources and bringing the advantages and potential of Norwegian wool back to life. It is about origin, about appreciating the value of an important resource and making sure it is being used to its full potential.
This is a joint effort between industries sharing their knowledge of all the processes involved; shearing, sorting, washing, carding, spinning, twisting, weaving, dyeing, finishing, and upholstering.
By not taking anything for granted and seeking to share and understand how it all fits together, we have been able to reintroduce truly Norwegian woollen fabrics.