Harrows 7 Wisewool New Zealand Strong Wool in Furniture Upholstery

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Mark Suckling, Harry Urquhart-Hay

Harrows and Wisewool are collaborating to bring to market a natural upholstery alternative. The collaboration aims to address the excessive use of synthetic materials in furniture construction while highlighting the exceptional qualities of wool fill.

With a focus on sustainability, transparency, and promoting the value of New Zealand’s strong wool, this project showcases an innovative approach to upholstery. Preliminary tests indicate that it offers a comparable or superior level of comfort compared to artificial alternatives, while also being economically feasible and environmentally sustainable, making it a commercially viable solution to a synthetic problem.

Replacing Synthetics with Natural Wool:
Harrows identified the overuse of synthetic wrapping and polyester in traditional upholstered chairs, highlighting the need for sustainable alternatives. The Wool Revive Chair serves as an experimental prototype, showcasing the potential of a natural alternative in the market.

The collaborative effort introduces Wisewool Buds, which are small clusters of intertwined wool, as a replacement for synthetic fillings in the back cushion of the Revive Chair. This loose fill gives the chair a relaxed and slightly informal look, enhancing the aesthetics with the natural appeal of wool.
The needle punched blanketing is utilised to wrap the bottom seat foam cushion, providing both compressional resilience and added comfort. This use of wool in upholstery demonstrates its potential to replace synthetic materials effectively.

The Wool Revive Chair, thus, showcases a new direction in sustainable furniture design, prioritizing natural fibres while maintaining high levels of comfort and durability.

Benefits of Strong Wool in Upholstery:
The use of strong wool in commercial furniture applications brings numerous advantages. Its inherent compressional resilience, as validated by SATRA’s testing against synthetic substitutes, ensures longevity and durability.

Additionally, strong wool provides natural insulation, moisture-wicking properties, and inherent fire resistance, enhancing the safety and comfort of the Revive chair. With these benefits, the collaboration between Harrows and Wisewool not only pioneers sustainable upholstery but also promotes the overall well-being of the end-users. Quite simply the more wool used within internal spaces the better the quality of the air that is breathed.

Recognizing the Value of Strong Wool:
Wisewool's collaboration with Harrows goes beyond innovative upholstery solutions. The project addresses the long-standing issue of underutilization of strong wool and the subsequent impact on farmers’ livelihoods. By recognising the compressional resilience, suitability, fire retardancy and moisture wick away properties of strong wool for upholstery, they aim to pay farmers a fair price for their wool, thereby promoting the value of this precious natural resource. They source only the finest A-grade quality fleece from a network of 300 local farms in the Tairawhiti region. By directly procuring wool and bypassing intermediaries, they are ensuring complete traceability, fostering transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.