Textile wood reinvents a new way to fabricate wooden forms. A flat surface can be folded into complex 3D geometries using origami techniques. By controlling where the wood folds and joins, designers can control the form of the textile wood.
Properties of Textile Wood
Wood is often associated as a solid material. It cannot be bent, or melt into a liquid for casting. The material is only worked in a subtractive method, you can cut it, carve it or etch out unnecessary materials. Solid timber cannot never be 3D printed. To achieve organic forms, wood must be carved or steam bent. That is why wood often comes in planks and square blocks. The aesthetics of wood dates back many centuries where people like the natural look of wooden grains. It is also soft to the touch of hands making it a desirable material for furniture and interior finishes.
There are two ways to create textile wood at the moment, both are fairly expensive techniques and come with criticisms.
The CNC method
The grooves in the textile can be created using CNC. The mill will run in a pattern and leave the folding joint to a thin layer of wood. However, it seems like this technique will be more susceptible to cracks and damage in the long run.
The laminate method
This process involves transferring wood patterns onto a piece of fabric or membrane. This acts as a laminate layer and provides the bonding structure. Adhesive or heat transfer techniques are used to sandwich these materials together. The finished product would be much more flexible and behave more like a fabric as each wood piece is independent. However, this technique doesn’t retain much qualities of wood except for the color and texture. Check out how German designer Elisa Strozyk has deconstructed wood into little pieces and assembled back together on a piece of cloth.
Applications of textile wood
Applications seem to be limited currently but it is definitely a material to explore in 2020. The properties of textile wood allows the wood to be shaped and stiffened like a fabric whist maintaining some aesthetic qualities of wood. The examples shown today do not exhibit the granular qualities of wood, this in my opinion gives wood its character and beauty. Or perhaps textile wood is an entirely new compound material of its own and should not be compared with traditional timber. Such qualities would be useful in product design, fashion design and interior feature walls. It does not seem to hold much structural capabilities as long as it behaves like fabric. Tesler Mendelovitch offers beautiful products for textile wood.