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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

French Technical Textiles Industry: Futurotextiles 3: Nexus Of Technology And Art

Janet Bealer Rodie, Managing Editor

In conjunction with the opening of the European Centre for Innovative Textiles (CETI) in Roubaix, France, in October 2012, and with 2012 lille3000 celebrations in Lille, France, the third edition of Futurotextiles was installed at CETI to present current, state-of-the-art textile technology not only as used in technical textile applications, but also as used by artists and designers to create beautiful and imaginative articles that often include high-tech function as part of the concept.

In the exhibition catalog introduction, it is stated: "Midway between technology and culture, the exhibition rests on three foundations: education, since it explains the origins and diversity of textiles and shows how textile innovations change our relationship to the world; science, by highlighting the technical characteristics of the textiles of the future; art, finally, because the new fibres, with their innumerable properties, inspire the imagination of designers more than ever."

The exhibition covers a full textile spectrum including fibers and yarns, composite and nonwoven materials and finished products. Unusual fibers presented include spider silk; biopolymer fibers such as milk; mineral fibers such as basalt; stainless-steel fiber; piezoelectric and optic fibers; and flax; among others. The diverse range of end-use applications includes protective, apparel, smart, sport, health, transportation, home, construction and architecture, geotextiles, and wellbeing. There also are artworks that incorporate highly functional technical textile materials in objects that, while some may exhibit functional characteristics, are primarily aesthetic concepts.

Shown here are a few examples of the textiles shown at or in conjunction with Futurotextiles 3:


Lotus Dome — created by Studio Roosegaarde, the Netherlands, commissioned by lille3000 and installed at Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Lille — is an interactive, organic construction made using ultralight aluminum "smart foils" that react individually to changes in temperature triggered by a breath of air, a light source or other such influences. Photograph courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

LiTraCon™, light-transmitting concrete invented by Hungarian architect Áron Losonczi, Litracon Kft, and distributed by Byzance Design, France, is made using a combination of 96-percent concrete and 4-percent glass fiber. Exterior light is channeled by the glass fibers and filtered through concrete blocks into interior spaces. Photograph courtesy of LiTraCon

Perle de Pluie, created by Paris-based designer Tzuri Gueta and Tony Jouanneau, is a chandelier made with silk lace tubes filled with translucent silicon "pearls," and lit using a light-emitting diode (LED) light source. Photograph courtesy of Tzuri Gueta

  Eight-part Fugue, single panel detail — designed by Clémentine Chambon and Françoise Mamert, Design Percept, Paris; and developed by Brochier Technologies, France — is a light-diffusing curtain woven using silk and optic fibers and powered using five LEDs. Photograph courtesy of Maxime Dufour

SCUBE® C1 Flax is an electric tricycle made using a recyclable composite flax material developed by Flax Technic, Groupe Dehondt, France. Photograph courtesy of Maxime Dufour

Lightex phototherapy pad for treatment of neonatal jaundice, developed by Brochier Technologies, is a textile pad made using polymer optic fibers and LED modules. Photograph courtesy of Brochier Technologies.

Windsurf board, developed by Libeco-Lagae NV, Belgium, is made using a composite containing carbon and flax fibers. Photograph courtesy of Libeco-Lagae & Lineo

Herself Dress, photocatalytic dress designed by British fashion designer Helen Storey, is made with 70-percent polyester/30-percent silk fabric, finished using sand and cement, and coated with titanium dioxide (TIO2). The coating is said to repel harmful molecules in the air and purify and deodorize the air around the wearer. Photograph courtesy of Maxime Dufour

Mood Sweater, designed by San Francisco-based future concepts designer Kristin Neidlinger, founder of Sensoree, is a cotton/LYCRA® dress that reveals the mood of the wearer via colored LEDs in a collar made using recycled plastics along with sensors and conductor fabric. Photograph courtesy of Roger Dyckmans

Active Protection Hood, developed by Bodysens SAS, France, for firefighters, is made using a 99-percent flame-retardant treated aramid fabric and allows hands-free communication by the wearer with colleagues involved in the operation. The hood features a digital radio to transmit movements and position up to a distance of 1 kilometer; sensors in the lining that measure vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen levels and skin temperature; and a wireless micro audio network that enables the wearer to communicate verbally with colleagues in a "natural" conversation despite physical obstacles. Photograph courtesy of Bodysens

After closing at CETI at the end of 2013, the exhibition moved to Paris and is currently on view at the Cité des Sciences & de l'Industrie until July 14, 2013.

March/April 2013