Textile Technology Goes Way Beyond the Surface

In the groundbreaking book, Textile Technology and Design: From Interior Space to Outer Space, contributing essayist Alexa Griffith Winton explores the evolving role of textiles as “an interstitial interface” in the context of contemporary design practice “in which advanced computational and fabrication technologies combine to create textiles capable of both reacting to their surrounding environs and responding to their inhabitants.”

Winton argues this evolution is literally changing the way textiles, objects, and buildings are designed, “facilitating new ways of addressing the human body at every scale, from nano-objects to large-scale buildings. Designers and artists are making use of this technology in provocative ways and consequently envisioning new means of connecting humans to our built environment.”

She’s right.

While technological innovation and textiles may appear to be distinct disciplines, in reality, they share more in common than many realize. Advances in textile technology have enabled designers to do more with fabric than they previously thought possible—and Crypton is excited to be on the leading edge of these advancements.

As most specifiers know by now, Crypton begins with the formulation of patented chemistry that imparts permanent resistance to spills, odors, and stains. What may not be as obvious is the fact that these formulas are developed by combining a variety of active ingredients that are screened for environmental and human health concerns (no plasticizers, PVC, flame retardants (FR), or harmful chemicals) before being processed through a series of baths and ovens that encapsulate each and every fiber and integrate a moisture barrier. Breathability isn’t sacrificed in the process, however; the pores in Crypton fabric are large enough to allow the passage of individualized water molecules (e.g., vapor) but are impermeable to droplets, enabling it to meet ASTM’s E-96 standard for breathability.

Our fabrics are also treated to prohibit the growth of molds like Aspergillus niger (“black mold”) and the spread bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (“staph infection”). Additionally, they can be completely disinfected thanks to our proprietary, EPA-registered quaternary hospital-grade disinfectant that kills E. coli, hepatitis A and B, herpes simplex 1 and 2, HIV, influenza, staphylococcus, streptococcus (“strep throat”), salmonella, and more.

Other innovations we’ve pioneered include:

  • Crypton Outdoor: the first, 100% bleach-cleanable and UV-retardant Crypton fabric.
  • Crypton Green: a collection of SCS Indoor Advantage-certified fabrics that use environmentally preferable fibers and chemistry that can contribute to LEED-CI and Green Guide for Health Care credits.
  • Leather Powered by Crypton: a cleaning and restoring system for use on leather in heavy usage areas available through Conneaut Leather.
  • C-Zero Plus: our newest finish technology specially formulated for those looking for a fluorine-free solution for stain resistance on fabrics.

The beauty of it all is that none of the performance characteristics come at the expense of aesthetics or hand. Just like any other beautiful fabric or textile, Crypton Fabrics are offered innumerous textures and weaves, such as chenille, boucle, and suede.

As technology continues to transform the practice of design, so will the role that textiles play not only in making spaces more attractive, but also how well they perform. And at Crypton, we wouldn’t have it any other way—because at the heart of it, we’re inventors. We saw a need for a fabric that looks and feels beautiful, but could stand up to the demands of high-use, heavy traffic environments—and so we created one. What the future holds is unclear, but what’s certain is that Crypton will continue to take the best that technology has to offer to elevate textiles well beyond the surface.