Germany-based company Bark Cloth are reviving the traditional use of bark fleece from the Mutaba (wild common fig) tree which has been described as humankind’s most ancient textile. The Ugandan-German family business showed their innovative products in the Living Interiors hall at the imm Cologne furniture fair in January 2014.
Textured rugs in deep natural hues are created by weaving with strips of the bark cloth in a traditional manner, but more 21st century applications are also being explored. Collaborations with designers and research institutions such as the Design Academy, Eindhoven and Central Saint Martins, London have led to developments such as a lightweight bark cloth and resin chair and sound-absorbing acoustic panels; meanwhile designer Johannes Rietsche has developed a completely sustainable, natural range of cushions and yoga blocks manufactured only from re-growing materials, with fillings of cork, poplar seed and coconut husk.
The wonderfully versatile natural material offers a myriad of sustainable floor covering and design possibilities.