A fabric for all weathers

An outdoor fabric has to withstand all manner of things: fluctuating temperatures, intensive sunlight, rain and even snow. Designer Karina Nielsen Rios teamed up with Kvadrat to develop the fabric “Patio”, which is both sturdy and environmentally friendly. And it looks good into the bargain.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 11/12/2019

Patio” is the name of the fabric that Karina Nielsen Rios has created together with Kvadrat. The development process was lengthy and it was three years before the team came up with the finished product: A sturdy, sustainable outdoor fabric that is suitable not only as a furniture covering but also provided protection from sun and rain. The fabric is based on “Trevira CS”, a flame-retardant polyester fiber that dries quickly and is easy to clean. Chlorine, saltwater, high humidity and even UV rays make no impression on “Trevira CS”. Moreover, the material is especially soft to the touch, setting it apart from many other outdoor fabrics that tend to feel rather rough. The coloring of “Patio” is also special: “If you look at the fabric from a distance it appears to have just one color, but in reality, there are three,” Karina Nielsen Rios explains.

Experiments on the loom

The threads are interlaced in a basket weave design, a basic pattern underling much weaving. When it came to the fabric’s colors the designer was inspired by natural materials like chestnuts or onion and eucalyptus leaves. By mixing the neutral shades with striking contrasts she came up with 24 different colors. Moreover, the fabric’s structure is more or less visible depending on the strength of the color contrast. The checkerboard appearance is typical for this style of weaving in which several threads rather than just one run parallel to one another. And the fabric’s structure is important for “Patio” because it ensures good breathability and means the material feels pleasantly cool in summer. “My goal was to develop a fabric that demonstrates a lot of love for detail because that is what I believe constitutes good design,” says Nielsen Rios. Rios prefers to conduct the entire creative process from the idea to the first prototype directly at the loom: “I like to develop new weaving structures and work directly in the material. When sitting and weaving at my loom it has always fascinated me, what will happen if I change one yarn into another. It can be as simple as matt-shiny or thick-thin. Or what if I change a little bit in the weaving structure - how will this effect the surface of the fabric. Often it’s these small changes I work with,” she explains. Her artistic pieces thus also now and again include fibers from stainless steel, paper or recycled plastic. The topic of sustainability is a constant companion in her work. Consequently, “Patio” was also given an environmentally-friendly, fluorocarbon-free coating that makes the fabric water-repellent without there being a need to resort to plastic.

A conversation with Karina Rios
Launching Patio – A non-toxic outdoor textile