Solidwool, a UK company that created a unique composite material made up of wool and bio-resin, designs furniture born from the desire to “create something beautiful” using sustainable practices that are strongly connected to nature.
Founders Justin and Hannah Floyd describe how “Herdwick – the iconic breed of the Lake District was the original inspiration behind Solidwool. The upland sheep dramatically lost its value in recent years. Historically used in the UK carpet industry, this wool had fallen out of favour and was considered almost worthless, a by-product of sheep farming.”
The plentiful fleeces derived from Welsh Mountain and Herdwick sheep breeds, both of which are native to the UK, are combined with bio-resin in a manufacturing process developed by Solidwool to produce a material that resembles “fibreglass, but with wool”. The result is a unique material that varies in colour and composition from one product to another.
“Traditionally the resins used in composites manufacture are 100% petrochemical and have varying levels of toxicity,” the brand explains. The resins Solidwool currently uses have a 50% bio-based renewable content, “sourced from waste streams of other industrial processes, such as wood pulp and bio-fuels production.”
The brand’s primary product is the Hembury chair – it also produces a series of side tables – where the equivalent of one fleece is used in each chair. It is produced in either dark Herdwick wool or the lighter-coloured Welsh Mountain wool, whose mix of cream, black and brown fibres reveal an almost marbled effect and a textured quality, yet the seat is smooth to the touch.
The chair is finished with solid wood legs in either scorched or oiled ash, or in a slimmer chrome-plated steel frame with steel legs for stacking.