New From Maharam: Apt
Apt introduces a new polymer to Maharam’s offering of nonwoven upholstery textiles. Using a proprietary formulation that combines a silicone face with a polyurethane-and-silicone mid-layer, Apt is the result of five years of research and development.
Silicone is not new to contract interiors. Prized for its cleanability, silicone is inherently antibacterial and antimicrobial. It also uniquely resists ink, including that of permanent marker, without the use of chemical finishes or topcoats. Although silicone technology has existed for some time, Maharam found it lacking. One of the primary issues with interior applications of silicone is that, as a material, it’s intrinsically soft and becomes sticky or tacky to the touch when abraded. Rather than release a subpar product, the Maharam Design Studio decided to develop a substrate that meets its stringent criteria. One of the hallmarks of Maharam’s approach is its willingness to build products from the ground up and invest in the research and development required for innovation. As a result, Maharam has secured worldwide exclusivity on this construction.
A product brief outlining the desired aesthetic and performance characteristics was issued to multiple resources. Ultimately, working closely with one of Maharam’s senior designers and textile engineers and after many unsuccessful attempts, one of the resources was able to achieve the established objectives. Located in Korea, this resource has obtained ISO 14001 and 9001 certification. That being said, it’s important to note that, as a byproduct of the petrochemical industry, silicone does not offer reduced environmental impact. Although it’s a preferred alternative to vinyl and is innately solvent free, it’s still comparable to polyurethane from an environmental perspective.
Apt is both stronger and more affordable than the current market leader. It’s also notable for having the longest color line of any nonwoven upholstery textile Maharam offers. With its sleek hand and finely textured surface, Apt is a vehicle for nuanced color. Evenly split between neutral and vibrant hues, the palette reflects a particular attention to warm and cool variations. For example, one of the bright reds in the palette has a blue undertone; the other has an orange base. Similarly, there’s a warm and cool light gray, and purple is offered in shades of concord and plum. One of the members of the Maharam Design Studio made a second trip to Korea in order to personally oversee the production of the color line at the resource. Other unexpected accents—from tints of pale pink, olive, and sand to more saturated expressions of mauve, ochre, and malachite—elevate Apt beyond the realm of a pure performance textile.