Towering infernos: how to minimise the risk

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas, while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
Created with sketchtool.
Created with sketchtool.

When Laura Furey attempted to set a man on fire, it was a premeditated act. She wanted to prove in a visual way the power of a material we know so well, yet one that is underutilised in New Zealand. Here’s her story.

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings. Instead, we’ve chosen to favour cheaper options; materials of synthetic origin that house a toxic chemical makeup. It’s the use of these synthetic products that led Designer Rugs’ Laura Furey to gather together a group of architects and designers in a non-descript central Auckland location and attempt to set a man on fire with a flame torch.

New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 
New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 

The man was clothed in a 100 per cent New Zealand wool suit. Underneath, he wore New Zealand wool underwear. Nowhere on his person was there a synthetic material. It’s for this reason that Laura was unsuccessful, despite holding a flame torch to his clothes for an extended period of time.

Why? Because New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant. It doesn’t ignite easily, and if it does, it burns slowly without releasing toxic fumes and gases - because it’s a completely natural material.

“We’ve known this for a long time but despite this knowledge, many of us have chosen to favour synthetic materials primarily because the initial output to purchase man made products is slightly less than that of natural ones,” Laura says.

“The utter devastation these types of decisions can create was highlighted in the London fire where hundreds of people lost their lives in a residential apartment building; a building comprised of predominantly synthetic and low cost materials. What resulted was a towering inferno in which synthetic products easily and quickly ignited compounding to create a disaster in which toxic gases were released as the fire raged on.

“While this is an extreme example, it’s one we need to carefully consider in New Zealand as we move towards higher density living and expand our commercial buildings to accommodate more staff over more levels,” Laura says.

“The danger of most synthetic materials is their instant ignition. When they do ignite, many of them melt, creating a dangerous situation for any occupants of a building trying to escape. The other very real danger with these types of materials is that when they burn or melt, they release toxic fumes from the chemicals they are made of such as formaldehyde - toxins that are deadly and can cause people to lose their lives as a result of asphyxiation rather than an inability to swiftly and safely exit the building,” she says.

Carpet is a significant part of many buildings, including schools, childcare centres, retirement villages, multi-storey residential buildings and offices. “If you consider how quickly a nylon or synthetic carpet will ignite - perhaps disintegrating entirely in as little as six minutes in a large area - and compare that to a pure New Zealand wool carpet that may take as long as 40 minutes to ignite, you’re talking about potentially hundreds of lives. That’s not to mention that New Zealand wool carpet releases no toxic fumes if it does ignite, rendering an area safe for people to evacuate if required without the risk of asphyxiation.”

New Zealand wool has long been known for its natural fire retardancy, but it’s also a superior acoustic barrier, a natural insulator and helps to absorb and neutralise toxins released from other synthetic materials in a building such as formaldehyde gases.

The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat
The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat

Designer Rugs has recently installed rugs in the new Westfield Newmarket and axminster carpet over three levels in the Aotea Centre. “The beauty of these types of projects is the longevity the rugs and carpet have, even in contexts such as Westfield mall where around 3,000 people a day are likely to pass over them along with trolleys, pushchairs and other items.

“By investing in a high quality natural product such as a New Zealand wool rugs and carpet, the owners of these properties are ensuring the safety of the building’s occupants in the case of a fire, reducing the release of toxins into the environment - toxins that are released over time at low rates in normal conditions - and ensuring even with high use the floors (or walls or ceilings) look great; something that’s achievable due to the high memory of New Zealand wool allowing it to retain its initial shape for longer, whilst also providing great acoustic properties.

"It's a valuable choice and one that I feel is aptly encapsulated in a statement by William A. Foster: 'Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.'"

If you’re considering the best carpet or rug choice for your next project, make sure you visit Designer Rugs on ArchiPro here to find out more about the value of New Zealand wool and Designer Rugs' extensive design options for bespoke and customised rugs and carpets. 

 

Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide
Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide

Get in touch with
Designer Rugs

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging

Towering infernos: how to minimise the risk

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas, while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
Created with sketchtool.
Created with sketchtool.

When Laura Furey attempted to set a man on fire, it was a premeditated act. She wanted to prove in a visual way the power of a material we know so well, yet one that is underutilised in New Zealand. Here’s her story.

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings. Instead, we’ve chosen to favour cheaper options; materials of synthetic origin that house a toxic chemical makeup. It’s the use of these synthetic products that led Designer Rugs’ Laura Furey to gather together a group of architects and designers in a non-descript central Auckland location and attempt to set a man on fire with a flame torch.

New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 
New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 

The man was clothed in a 100 per cent New Zealand wool suit. Underneath, he wore New Zealand wool underwear. Nowhere on his person was there a synthetic material. It’s for this reason that Laura was unsuccessful, despite holding a flame torch to his clothes for an extended period of time.

Why? Because New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant. It doesn’t ignite easily, and if it does, it burns slowly without releasing toxic fumes and gases - because it’s a completely natural material.

“We’ve known this for a long time but despite this knowledge, many of us have chosen to favour synthetic materials primarily because the initial output to purchase man made products is slightly less than that of natural ones,” Laura says.

“The utter devastation these types of decisions can create was highlighted in the London fire where hundreds of people lost their lives in a residential apartment building; a building comprised of predominantly synthetic and low cost materials. What resulted was a towering inferno in which synthetic products easily and quickly ignited compounding to create a disaster in which toxic gases were released as the fire raged on.

“While this is an extreme example, it’s one we need to carefully consider in New Zealand as we move towards higher density living and expand our commercial buildings to accommodate more staff over more levels,” Laura says.

“The danger of most synthetic materials is their instant ignition. When they do ignite, many of them melt, creating a dangerous situation for any occupants of a building trying to escape. The other very real danger with these types of materials is that when they burn or melt, they release toxic fumes from the chemicals they are made of such as formaldehyde - toxins that are deadly and can cause people to lose their lives as a result of asphyxiation rather than an inability to swiftly and safely exit the building,” she says.

Carpet is a significant part of many buildings, including schools, childcare centres, retirement villages, multi-storey residential buildings and offices. “If you consider how quickly a nylon or synthetic carpet will ignite - perhaps disintegrating entirely in as little as six minutes in a large area - and compare that to a pure New Zealand wool carpet that may take as long as 40 minutes to ignite, you’re talking about potentially hundreds of lives. That’s not to mention that New Zealand wool carpet releases no toxic fumes if it does ignite, rendering an area safe for people to evacuate if required without the risk of asphyxiation.”

New Zealand wool has long been known for its natural fire retardancy, but it’s also a superior acoustic barrier, a natural insulator and helps to absorb and neutralise toxins released from other synthetic materials in a building such as formaldehyde gases.

The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat
The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat

Designer Rugs has recently installed rugs in the new Westfield Newmarket and axminster carpet over three levels in the Aotea Centre. “The beauty of these types of projects is the longevity the rugs and carpet have, even in contexts such as Westfield mall where around 3,000 people a day are likely to pass over them along with trolleys, pushchairs and other items.

“By investing in a high quality natural product such as a New Zealand wool rugs and carpet, the owners of these properties are ensuring the safety of the building’s occupants in the case of a fire, reducing the release of toxins into the environment - toxins that are released over time at low rates in normal conditions - and ensuring even with high use the floors (or walls or ceilings) look great; something that’s achievable due to the high memory of New Zealand wool allowing it to retain its initial shape for longer, whilst also providing great acoustic properties.

"It's a valuable choice and one that I feel is aptly encapsulated in a statement by William A. Foster: 'Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.'"

If you’re considering the best carpet or rug choice for your next project, make sure you visit Designer Rugs on ArchiPro here to find out more about the value of New Zealand wool and Designer Rugs' extensive design options for bespoke and customised rugs and carpets. 

 

Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide
Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide

Get in touch with
Designer Rugs

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging

Towering infernos: how to minimise the risk

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas, while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
Created with sketchtool.
Created with sketchtool.

When Laura Furey attempted to set a man on fire, it was a premeditated act. She wanted to prove in a visual way the power of a material we know so well, yet one that is underutilised in New Zealand. Here’s her story.

For a material that’s synonymous with Aotearoa, New Zealand wool is a product that has surpassed expectations overseas while flying under the radar in our backyard; in our homes, and in our buildings. Instead, we’ve chosen to favour cheaper options; materials of synthetic origin that house a toxic chemical makeup. It’s the use of these synthetic products that led Designer Rugs’ Laura Furey to gather together a group of architects and designers in a non-descript central Auckland location and attempt to set a man on fire with a flame torch.

New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 
New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant, which is why when Designer Rugs' Laura Furey attempted to ignite this man's pure wool clothing, she was unsuccessful. 

The man was clothed in a 100 per cent New Zealand wool suit. Underneath, he wore New Zealand wool underwear. Nowhere on his person was there a synthetic material. It’s for this reason that Laura was unsuccessful, despite holding a flame torch to his clothes for an extended period of time.

Why? Because New Zealand wool is naturally fire retardant. It doesn’t ignite easily, and if it does, it burns slowly without releasing toxic fumes and gases - because it’s a completely natural material.

“We’ve known this for a long time but despite this knowledge, many of us have chosen to favour synthetic materials primarily because the initial output to purchase man made products is slightly less than that of natural ones,” Laura says.

“The utter devastation these types of decisions can create was highlighted in the London fire where hundreds of people lost their lives in a residential apartment building; a building comprised of predominantly synthetic and low cost materials. What resulted was a towering inferno in which synthetic products easily and quickly ignited compounding to create a disaster in which toxic gases were released as the fire raged on.

“While this is an extreme example, it’s one we need to carefully consider in New Zealand as we move towards higher density living and expand our commercial buildings to accommodate more staff over more levels,” Laura says.

“The danger of most synthetic materials is their instant ignition. When they do ignite, many of them melt, creating a dangerous situation for any occupants of a building trying to escape. The other very real danger with these types of materials is that when they burn or melt, they release toxic fumes from the chemicals they are made of such as formaldehyde - toxins that are deadly and can cause people to lose their lives as a result of asphyxiation rather than an inability to swiftly and safely exit the building,” she says.

Carpet is a significant part of many buildings, including schools, childcare centres, retirement villages, multi-storey residential buildings and offices. “If you consider how quickly a nylon or synthetic carpet will ignite - perhaps disintegrating entirely in as little as six minutes in a large area - and compare that to a pure New Zealand wool carpet that may take as long as 40 minutes to ignite, you’re talking about potentially hundreds of lives. That’s not to mention that New Zealand wool carpet releases no toxic fumes if it does ignite, rendering an area safe for people to evacuate if required without the risk of asphyxiation.”

New Zealand wool has long been known for its natural fire retardancy, but it’s also a superior acoustic barrier, a natural insulator and helps to absorb and neutralise toxins released from other synthetic materials in a building such as formaldehyde gases.

The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat
The refurbished Aotea Centre fitted with Designer Rugs New Zealand Wool Axminster. Working with Stephenson & Turner Architects, the intricate design has two overlapping patterns with no pattern repeat

Designer Rugs has recently installed rugs in the new Westfield Newmarket and axminster carpet over three levels in the Aotea Centre. “The beauty of these types of projects is the longevity the rugs and carpet have, even in contexts such as Westfield mall where around 3,000 people a day are likely to pass over them along with trolleys, pushchairs and other items.

“By investing in a high quality natural product such as a New Zealand wool rugs and carpet, the owners of these properties are ensuring the safety of the building’s occupants in the case of a fire, reducing the release of toxins into the environment - toxins that are released over time at low rates in normal conditions - and ensuring even with high use the floors (or walls or ceilings) look great; something that’s achievable due to the high memory of New Zealand wool allowing it to retain its initial shape for longer, whilst also providing great acoustic properties.

"It's a valuable choice and one that I feel is aptly encapsulated in a statement by William A. Foster: 'Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.'"

If you’re considering the best carpet or rug choice for your next project, make sure you visit Designer Rugs on ArchiPro here to find out more about the value of New Zealand wool and Designer Rugs' extensive design options for bespoke and customised rugs and carpets. 

 

Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide
Recently installed NZ Wool rugs into the new Westfield Newmarket.  These types of projects really outline the context for longevity and durability the NZ Wool rugs and carpets provide

Get in touch with
Designer Rugs

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging
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