At a Campfire Session on Thursday, Oct. 20, on the show floor at IFAI Expo 2016, Cynthia Thompson, MFA, shared her thoughts on where the “built environment” is headed. Thompson is the founder of Transformit, a company based in Gorham, Maine, that designs and creates artistic and functional tensioned fabric structures and components.
“In the future, successful and wealthy people, companies and nations will consume less material, less energy and less time, while increasing the utility, comfort and beauty of the environment. This is optimistic sustainability. It is happening now.
“I have come to believe that fabric has an important role in the future of interior architecture. “
Thompson believes that three threads are driving the development of sustainability, function and beauty:
- Textile architecture is allowing interior and exterior environments to interact and merge in new ways.
- New and improved materials are making environments more beautiful, practical and cost-effective.
- New applications and technology are extending the reach and effectiveness of textile interior architecture.
Key factors include: lightweight construction, efficient product life cycle, easier maintenance, using recycled materials, contributing to the health and well-being of occupants, and offering the advantages of beauty and flexibility.
While showing listeners a colorful slide presentation of notable Transformit projects and discussing the various challenges they presented, Thompson added that “People, whether they know it or not, will not buy sustainable or functional products unless they look good.” Art and beauty are essential to sustainability.
Galynn Nordstrom is senior editor of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.