The Maharam Design Studio introduces Relay: a first-of-its-kind, sportswear-inspired textile constructed from flat-woven webbing. The result of three years of rigorous research and development, Relay represents a successful effort by Maharam to adapt materials from the athletic industry for contract upholstery.
The Design Studio routinely looks beyond the textile industry for inspiration, casting a wide net for new concepts and materials across visual culture. A defining aspect of the studio’s approach is a willingness to take risks and build products from the ground up, adapting technologies from other sources and willingly taking on challenges that require significant investments of time and energy. Motivated by creative exploration and design distinction, the studio forwent standard, readily available qualities, opting instead to re-engineer narrow, 35"-wide goods intended for footwear application into the 54"-wide material required for upholstery.
Ultimately, extensive equipment modifications were necessary to achieve this. While the resource worked to alter the machinery, Maharam’s textile engineer and a senior designer utilized the resource’s existing capabilities to define the ideal weave structure and backing over the course of several prototypes. Concerns over the material’s thickness led to multiple trials as Relay’s laminated knit backing was tested and amended to ensure high performance and easy upholsterability.
Woven on a loom using a vertical warping technique, Relay features a dimensional, basketlike texture created by a homogenous combination of centimeter-wide, flat-woven polyester webbing in both warp and weft. The result is a striking and strong construction that transforms simple structure through unusual componentry.
This industrial surface is elevated by a compelling color story. Based on the Maharam Design Studio’s precise digital renderings, the webbing was color matched to imbue this technical plain weave with a fashion-forward aesthetic. Offered in a unified palette of thirteen colors, Relay pairs seven solid shades of cherry, spruce, black, navy, ultramarine, steel, and olive with six multicolored iterations that each incorporate one of the solid colors along with three others in tints of powder blue, lilac, mint, indigo, and dusk.
Introduction: October 2018
Content: 100% Polyester