Hannah and Justin Floyd are the creators of an intriguing material, called SolidWool. The composite is made up of wool, which is used as the reinforcement, and bio-resin that acts as a binder.
The wool itself comes from the Herdwick sheep found in the Lake District that was once a staple of the carpet industry but which has recently fallen out of vogue. According to the Floyds, some farmers have taken to burning fleeces because they were fetching next to nothing on the open market. So instead, they set about finding a new use for something increasingly considered as waste and imbuing it with value.
The finished result is beautifully smooth and probably best compared to fibreglass. When Grant first came across the duo at a show in Milan almost a decade ago, they were displaying a range of items made from the material, including: knives, sunglasses, a table and, perhaps most importantly, the extremely elegant Hembury Chair.
After a serious health scare, the pair sold their company to Roger Oates Design in 2020. It put a new version of the Hembury back into production, with Justin staying on as a consultant.
In this episode we talk about: how SolidWool is made; the importance of beauty; issues with Herdwick wool; taking inspiration from where they lived; the desire to produce ‘products with purpose’; the importance of play; why designers love chairs; working together; overcoming cancer; selling the company; and Justin’s unfinished business with SolidWool.
And a reminder that to visit Material Matters 2022, which runs at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf from 22-25 September you need to register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/material-matters-2022-tickets-373171364597