Felt Prototyping

Felt PrototypingI just got back to the Studio from an afternoon of prototyping felt tack panels at our upholsterer. For one of our current custom office furniture projects, the architect has a desire to create interior tack panels with horizontal stripes.

The inspiration comes from a British carpet manufacturer. They offer a line of thick, nubby, horizontal-striped carpet. It’s really quite beautiful.

So how do we replicate a similar feel within the custom workstations? The architect suggested wicking felt, stacked horizontally. We attempted to sew 1/2″ diameter wicking felt tubes to a felt backer. It was a bit like trying to squeeze a bubble. Needless to say, we had to go in an alternate direction.

However, felt has a great warm textural feel. We love felt! It’s a “green” material (sustainable office furniture is something that we always try to incorporate into our projects) that has this fantastic organic/industrial/warm feeling all in one. Who would have thought all of that would be possible in one material? So I stopped by our felt vendor in Placentia (locally manufactured office furniture is another key to Studio projects) to obtain several sheets of felt.

Now, how could we take plain, flat felt sheets and begin to fold and sew them to create depth and pattern? There are so many options and possibilities when it comes to sewing: the manipulation of the felt sheets, the stitching, layering of strips – all interesting and full of possibilities.

Felt PrototypingWe arrived at a possible solution. Gustavo, the factory manager, refurbishes old vintage cars. He suggested we treat the felt panels like vintage car seats – curved, detailed stitching, piping – picture a 1959 Impala or a 1965 Falcon. We landed on a 3/4″ diameter piping strip stacked horizontally with a felt cover. Gustavo and I set out to the sewing machines to see if this would work. By horizontally stacking the piping and stitching it between two layers of felt I think we have a close facsimile to the British carpet!

Do you have a project that you are trying to incorporate something unique into? Let TangramStudio know – we would love to co-create something with you for your office design layout!

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