Furniture Designers Embrace 3D-Knit Fabrics

Using methods borrowed from endurance textiles, 3D-knit fabrics are being redeployed in service of workers’ comfort.

Surfaces of all kinds are top of mind these days, so we decided to look at all aspects of them, in these articles, from A to Z. Thinking of surfaces less as a product category and more as a framework, we use them as a lens for understanding the designed environment. Surfaces are sites of materials innovation, outlets for technology and science, and embodiments of standards around health and sustainability, as well as a medium for artists and researchers to explore political questions.

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Herman Miller, in collaboration with Duvaltex, uses a technical weft process to 3D-knit functional textile components for specific net sizes. The process also allows attachment features with no additional cutting, sewing, or waste. The company’s Public Lounge back assembly, which launched in 2015, has custom inner and outer surfaces knit in multiple planes to adapt to the shapes needed for ergonomic support. The precision of the technique is also sustainable, as it eliminates waste. Courtesy the designer

The ancient craft of knitting has recently undergone something of a modern evolution. Digital 3D-knitting techniques—first pioneered in the sportswear industry to produce shoes and clothing that allow muscles to move more freely—are now being used to manufacture furniture fabrics. Here we compile some recent textiles used by commercial furnishing giants in task chairs, where comfort is the holy grail.

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