Textile innovator wins international Design Sense award
Swiss design team and German Bundesrepublik commended as models for
The Design Sense 2000 award of £40,000 (approx EUR65,000) was presented to
Albin Kälin, of Swiss manufacturing company Rohner Textil AG tonight for
innovative approach, which is set to transform the textile industry.
Kälin and his design team fought off competition from some of the biggest
names in global manufacturing and architecture to take the prize for a
revolutionary biodegradable and compostable upholstery fabric, which uses a
With only 40 staff, Rohner Textile has captured the attention of some of
largest specifiers in the contract furniture market with its Climatex®
Lifecycle(tm) upholstery fabric which wicks up moisture from the sitter to
enable climate-control seating. It took the design team eight years to find
a method of producing an elastic textile without using synthetic materials;
almost all colour variations are possible - except black.
The judging panel, made up of experts from the European design,
and automotive industry, were impressed that every facet of Rohner Textil's
business is organised with sustainability in mind. The company's commitment
to sustainability, which includes ecological accounting, was particularly
commended as it is widely recognised that the textile industry is one of
dirtiest industries in the world.
Rohner Textil plan to invest the £40,000 (approx EUR65,000) prize money in
developing a new method of producing dye yarns without waste water as well
as an extensive employee development programme.
Launched by the Design Museum in 1999, Design Sense is sponsored by
international metal producer, Corus and supported by the Rufford
It is the only award for sustainable architecture and industrial design
measures buildings and products against the same criteria.
"The purpose of Design Sense is to educate designers and the public about
the possibilities of sustainable thinking and to promote sustainable
design", commented Paul Thompson, Director of the Design Museum. "I have no
doubt that this year's winner will also provide a stimulus for future
Graham Hillier, Corus Construction Strategy Director, "We need to tear down
the walls that separate business and the design industry. We need a
fusion between all the participants in the life cycle of a product or a
building, both in and out of the economic value chain, or the quest for
sustainability will be an elusive goal."
A corporate prize was awarded to the Building Council of the Elders of the
German Parliament for the Reichstag parliament designed by Foster and
Partners. The judges applauded the government building committee for the
forward thinking design brief, which demonstrated how an historical
could be transformed into a virtually non-polluting public building for the
twenty-first century. The sophistication of the overall design was
considered a worldwide model of best practice and urban regeneration.
Design Sense, an exhibition of the twelve shortlisted submissions runs at
the Design Museum from 17 November 2000 until 21 January 2001.
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS - for more information on the forthcoming book - see
For interest: please see www.cfsd.org.uk - for information on 'Towards
Sustainable Product Design 6'