Redecorating? It’s time to rethink your walls, floors and everything in between

Meet Traci Roloff, one half of FilzFelt

Interiors

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With a few thousand dollars and a very cosy 100-square-foot studio in Boston, felt loving designers Kelly Smith and Traci Roloff launched FilzFelt in 2008. Their mission? To bring the previously difficult-to-source wool felt to a broad audience, specifically the design community. A commitment to sustainability was another important affair from the start, with FilzFelt carrying an eco-friendly 100% Merino wool felt in 63 vibrant colours. Here, we speak to Roloff and discover the duo's love for wool felt as an interior textile.

Traci Roloff and Kelly Smith of FilzFelt.

Wool felt is a natural, non-woven textile that has sheltered, warmed and comforted human beings for centuries. Since 2008, FilzFelt brings this ancient textile into the 21st century, balancing beauty, utility and sustainability whilst meeting the challenging needs of modern spaces.

Well aware of the fact that wool fibres absorb more sound waves than many other fibres, Smith and Roloff are reinventing interior design for the floor, walls and everywhere in between.

On sustainability:

Traci Roloff: We founded FilzFelt because we literally fell in love with wool felt: its history, its environmental story, and its authentic beauty. There was a period in the 20th century where synthetic fibres were perceived as superior but, thankfully, that has changed and continues to change.

FilzFelt’s mission is to promote wool felt and contribute to the history of natural, non-woven textiles that goes back centuries. However, we feel our distinct place in this narrative is to push the boundaries of this ancient material and continue to develop products and custom projects that may not been explored previously. Plus, as our focus has become commercial projects, we’ve found there is an enthusiastic audience for wool felt in contract interiors.

On conscious consumption:

Consumers and companies have definitely become more conscious of how their choices impact humanity and the natural environment. We continue to receive more specific questions that, to us, indicate that there is more thought going into what is specified and purchased. We are proud of our environmental story and are working with partners like Google to increase the transparency of our supply chain and manufacturing practices.

On wool felt and its boundless potential?

The colour and the rigidity is what we love best. Wool accepts dyes incredibly well and - since it’s a non-woven textile - has thickness not possible with woven textiles. There are many natural colour-ways of undyed wool that can be created by mixing various colours of wool fleece. However, the dyed colours really illustrate this benefit of wool by producing incredibly saturated, lightfast colours. And since wool felt is a non-woven textile formed by pressing and rubbing wool fibres that have been moistened and heated, it provides a dense thickness of at least 2mm. This thickness allows for hanging installations which takes advantage of wool felt’s pliable rigidity and showcases the edge. There are few materials that can do this so honestly and beautifully.

On acoustics and sound absorption:

Entering into the world of acoustics was not our intention, however we found early on that there was a need for high performing but good-looking acoustic products and felt already had a reputation for its sound-absorbing properties.

We’ve recently collaborated with New York-based architectural firm, Architecture Research Office, on a collection of acoustic products that pair our wool felt with acoustic substrates to boost the performance. The collection is unlike anything in the market and we feel like we’ve upped the ante in acoustic products.

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