Ships have been sailing along the Norwegian coast for more than 100 years. Norway's coastal cities, thousands of miles of coastline and world-famous fjords lend themselves to the cruise experience perhaps more than any other country.Fjord boat trips are a common tourist activity, but they are also a critical mode of transport for locals. Despite the many bridges and tunnels built in recent decades, local ferries continue to provide a lifeline for small communities all across Norway.
For decades we have been working with fabrics for the cruise industry. We understand the needs of both durable and beautiful textile.
Foto: Hurtigruten / Frem
Norwegian wool - a sustainable choice
Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik in Lillehammer - Norway, has specialized in wool and textile production for over one hundred years. We have the entire production process under one roof, from design and raw material to finished product. The spinning mill is an award-winning and innovative textile manufacturer. We keep ourselves constantly innovative by utilizing the most modern equipment available. We are makers with a passion for design and innovation.
Sustainability is an important part of our value chain, and we have been actively working with environmental management for over 25 years. The wool industry in Norway produces a total of 4000 tonnes of wool a year. At GU, we make use of what we can obtain from Norwegian wool of the highest quality that is most suitable for use in our products.
Foto: Pål Laukli
Today we use wool of about 120.000 sheep per year. We use only the highest quality wool, and the majority of the wool used in our production is locally sourced. Wool from the Norwegian sheep is processed further into yarn before it is woven, dyed and finished for upholstery fabrics, making our fabrics an excellent, sustainable choice.
The Norwegian wool has a great environmental advantage over wool from warmer regions. Our cool climate means that the chemical treatment of the wool on the sheep is not very relevant. Pesticides are generally not used in Norwegian agriculture. The Norwegian sheep farm is based on grazing in outdoor areas where no kind of pesticides are used.
The Norwegian wool is marked with the eco-label "Swan" which is important for our production of eco-labelled products. Many of our products are environmentally certified with the European eco-label "EU-Ecolabel" (the "EU Flower") which corresponds to the Nordic Swan label.
1. Wool absorbs moisture
It can absorb up to 30% moisture relative to its own weight without feeling wet or damp. That is, a piece of furniture or clothing in wool will not create a damp feeling unlike for example in synthetic material. This makes wool very comfortable.
2. Wool is self-cleaning and has bactericidal properties
Woolen garments should be ventilated between uses and do not need to be washed as often. Wool also prevents bad odors.
3. Wool is heat regulating
It cools in summer and warms in winter. A woolen upholstery fabric feels dry and comfortable to sit on.
4. Wool is 100% natural
Wool is a protein fiber similar to human hair and grows naturally on the sheep.
5. Wool is easy to clean and maintain
It is naturally water repellent. This means that it is very resistant to impurities. Addition of wool impregnating agents is unnecessary in normal use.
6. Wool is elastic and holds the shape well
When the wool is stretched out during use, it returns to its original shape afterwards. Wool provides rugged, durable fabrics that allow clothing and furniture to withstand good hard use over a long period of time without appearing worn.
7. Wool attracts little dust
Wool is a wet fiber and it is naturally anti-static. This means that it does not attract dust like other dry fiber types.
8. Wool is well suited as a starting point for noise canceling substances
This is because of the three-dimensional shape of the wool fiber. It has a helical structure that holds on to the air and thus provides both heat insulating and noise canceling properties.
9. Wool is naturally flame retardant
It does not burn or melt - but charcoal. This means that we produce flame retardant fabrics for normal use without the use of chemistry. This makes wool a safe choice for any fire.
Safety on board - Wool’s great resistance
Nature has given wool a greater resistance to micro-organisms like bacteria and viruses more so than other living tissues. This resistance is mainly due to the sulphur crosslinks that are present in the keratin (protein) fibre material. We can therefore say that wool has a natural anti-bacterial property.
A major advantage of using wool-based upholstery fabrics is that they are easy to clean and maintain and therefore retain their appearance over time. Impurities sit loosely and are easily removed with proper cleaning /maintenance.