Covering All the Bio-Bases

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Bio-based Xorel is turning heads among emerging architects and designers who are concerned with material health and occupant well-being.

In the evolution of textiles, there has never been a product as unique Carnegie’s Xorel. Developed in the early ’70s as an alternative to conventional resilient wall finishes, paint and vinyl, the nearly indestructible product has come a long way in both design development and material formulation.

Led by Cliff Goldman, the company knew it had a unique offering in Xorel, that would only improve incrementally; in 2007, when the product was certified Cradle-to-Cradle Silver, and Goldman asked ‘why not go for the gold?’ That was the impetus for the seven-year research and development efforts of vinyl-free, 60% to 85% bio-based Xorel. It is derived from sugar cane plants and is indiscernible from the previous generation of the product.

“We weren’t willing to settle for anything other than the exact same performance and aesthetics; when you have an existing yarn system and colors you have to be extremely careful to continue delivering on product promises you have made that you have to keep.”

Goldman admits that some people have always used Xorel and would use it no matter what, but bio-based Xorel is turning heads among emerging architects and designers who are concerned with material health and occupant well-being. “For some people they love and trust the product no matter what,” says Goldman. “Now we have new customers who pay attention to the environment.” The company has even begun to attract some of its best and brightest to its workforce because of its vinyl-free story, reports Goldman.

Led by creative director, Heather Bush, Carnegie keeps its finger on the pulse of design trends and spends time researching more of the technical processes that represent material innovations that may be successfully applied to improve the product. The company continues to progress in that area; in June, Pratt Institute grad and company veteran Aliesha Bishop, became Xorel Studio director. One can only expect more innovative designs from this group.

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