The Art of Textiles


Textiles have been bringing the world comfort, warmth, and opportunities for personal expression since the dawn of human history. Whether used as clothing, décor, or any other application, textiles are an integral part of our lives that we we’d be hard-pressed to function without. They’re also deeply personal, involving our sense of sight and touch, and help us to bring softness and personal expression to our built environment.

At XPLR, we focus on the importance of health and wellness in our design process. Biophilia, our connection to nature, is an important design lens we utilize with our clients. If you aren’t yet familiar with it, Biophilia is the theory that people have an innate tendency to seek connection with nature and life forms. It stems from the Greek, meaning “love of life.” It’s one of the major lenses we view each of our designs and products through, and our approach to textiles design is no exception.

When we were creating the framework for our Zavi 2021 Spring textile collection, Confluence, nature was our guide. We know that we need nature profoundly and fundamentally, but we’ve often designed our spaces in ways that dismiss and alienate us from it. By creating designs that bring fractal patterns inspired by nature to our built environment, we can strengthen our connection to organic elements, while building a subconscious bridge.

We all have the ability and opportunity to positively affect the fundamental ways we interact with objects and space. Textiles do so much to help us incorporate elements of the natural environment into our overall experience. That’s why choosing textiles with patterns, textures and colors can be so powerful in your personal spaces. Without breaking the bank, you can enhance your working or living experience to bolster feelings of connection while improving your well-being and health.

Color and Pattern

When choosing a textile, it can be natural for some of us to gravitate toward bright colors or eye-catching prints. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s important to think about how the textile will make you feel over time, as well as anything you are layering with it. Always consider what the function of the room is. A pop of fuchsia may be better suited to a day use room than a room in which you’re trying to rest. The same goes for pattern. That bold, colorful plaid may be fun in theory, but will you like it on your sofa a month from now, or next year? Remember that our eyes need to have areas where they can rest, especially given how much electronic stimuli most of us take in on a daily basis.

Texture and Feel

The hand, or feel, of a fabric is critical to our enjoyment of it. Some textures are better suited to certain applications than others. Maybe you want to reupholster some dining chairs. In that case, you could consider a darker fabric with a bit less texture, making them easier to keep clean. Do you live in a tropical climate? You may want to avoid an inexpensive vinyl for the sectional in your sun room, which could feel uncomfortable on bare skin. Want to create some special slipcovers for sofa pillows with a wow factor? A luxurious cut velvet textile could feel wonderful on those decorative elements.

Longevity and Value

Another important aspect of your textile is how it will wear. Many residential fabrics are not woven or produced with longevity in mind. We design our textiles to have high durability suitable for commercial environments. Fabric composition is incredibly important. A silk window shade may be beautiful, but it will begin to shatter in sunlight over time. Colorfastness is also important, especially in sunny environments, where you don’t want to become a victim to sun bleaching or fading, which can contribute to shortening your fabric’s lifespan.  Choose a textile that you can trust will be a good value to you in the long run.

Sustainability and Processes

Knowing what your textile is made from, where it was made, and the logistics of how it makes its way to you is also a huge consideration. We work with mills that are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. This certification is conducted by independent partners and the testing go beyond national and international standards. The criteria's are updated once a year to incorporation innovations and progress in science and requirements.

While it can be a lot to think about, researching the source of your textile and answering questions about how you want to interact with it can go a long way towards ensuring you are happy with your selection for years to come. And being able to walk into a room filled with ethical, quality textiles that you hand-picked can contribute to your sense of well-being and contribute to a deeply satisfying and recharging atmosphere.

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