Whether the idea came to him in a dream or during a stroll through England's Lake District doesn't matter. Devon designer Justin Floyd has devised a means to turn the wool of Herdwick sheep, a particularly coarse variety more suited for carpet than clothing, into a fiberglass-like material that can be shaped into sleek chairs and tables. After years of experimenting in his shed in Buckfastleigh (which literally has signs with the phrase "ancient woolen town"), testing out new, and often smelly, chemical compositions, Floyd hit upon a particular bio-resin a few years ago that bonded the wool and created a smooth, sleek material. Now, after years spent refining the Solidwool concept, he's promoting the Hembury Collection, a side table, and chair manufactured with UK-sourced ash legs that recall the Eames shell chair.
Floyd hopes the chairs not only help revitalize the manufacturing industry in his town, but also helps develop the market for plastic alternatives. He's already making inroads into other industries. The Solidwool composite is being utilized by companies including Blok Knives, Artifact Uprising, and Fan Optics as part of kitchen knife handles, photo calendars, and clipboards.
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