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Beauty, Utility, Sustainability

We design and manufacture applied materials for the built environment. For over sixty years, we have explored how materials can improve the human experience; we call this material intelligence.

Our mission is to use design materials to enable creativity, engage the senses and enhance our experience of our surroundings. We look for the connections between craft and industry, process and product, human behavior and environmental impact to inform each of our endeavors.

Material Intelligence is at the heart of Designtex. It refers to our understanding of how materials are best applied in different settings and environments. Material intelligence describes our commitment to research, our deep knowledge and our belief in the power of improvement as a means for systemic change.

Materials Solve Problems

Designtex was founded on the idea that materials can solve problems. Our very first product, introduced in 1962, was designed for Mies Van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson’s iconic Seagram Building on Park Avenue in New York City. A knit drapery elegantly addressed the architect’s aesthetic vison while delivering a positive experience to the people inside.

This project set the course for our future.

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Materials Support Us

Our goal is to build stronger relationships between people and space. We strive for healthier systems and environments that support us and make us feel good, neither draining resources nor damaging our planet in the process.

Learn about CELLIANT®

Materials Tell Stories

Of people, of time, of place. They are the narrative threads of life and humanity.

Explore the Bauhaus Project

Designtex NeoCon showroom displaying the Bauhaus Project with archival photography used as a wallcovering, and a modern recreation of a Bauhaus textile.
“Today, we are asking what are the materials of our future? How can we stop depleting or damaging our planetary resources? How do we speak transparently about what’s in our products? How can we waste less and use our waste more effectively?”
Carol Derby
VP Research & Development, Designtex

Creating with a Beginners Mind

At Designtex, we hold a respect for materials right from the start. We believe that materials can solve problems in both beautiful and useful ways and when we collaborate to do so, the results are simply better.

60 Years of Material Innovation


Designtex’s first product, a flame-retardant drapery, was developed for Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson for installation throughout their newly-built Seagram building. The fabric was designed to maintain the pristine façade of the landmark building while preserving access to natural light


Mohair Plush was introduced to the contract market over sixty years ago and remains a bestseller. Visitors to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall can view our custom colored Mohair Plush, installed over twenty-five years ago and still performing beautifully.


Designtex partnered with Johann Backhausen & Sohn to translate Josef Hoffmann’s designs into textiles. Founded in 1849, this family business worked with many of the luminaries of the Wiener Werkstatte, and it maintains an archive of over 5,000 original works.


In an industry first, Designtex pioneered collaborations with the architecture and design community, working with contemporary architects Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Richard Meier to design the Portfolio Collection.


Designtex partnered with BASF to introduce the first solution-dyed yarns for use in upholstery in the Nuts and Bolts Collection. Solution-dying adds color at the polymer stage, locking it in throughout the fiber (like a carrot’s continuous coloring), not just on the surface (like a radish).


William McDonough and Michael Braungart collaborated with Designtex to invent the first biological nutrient upholstery, Climatex Lifecycle™. Designed to break down and return to the earth, Climatex won multiple awards, including the First Prize at the London Design Museum, and has become an influential model for sustainable product development.


Nancy Giesberger, an artist and designer whose work is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, is known for incorporating unusual materials in her woven work. Collaborating with Designtex, she used a matting normally deployed to prevent erosions under roadways to create a collection of wallcoverings and upholstery that was impervious to wear and tear.


Designtex has led the industry in developing new sustainable materials, such as this panel fabric collection made from recycled bottles. Prior to this, recycled polyester from bottles was not widely used in the textile industry. Its use mitigates the need for the extraction of new raw materials.


Sportswear is the gold standard for arenas and stadiums. Durable and easily cleaned, this woven construction was first introduced in a custom Laker purple for the Staples Center in Los Angeles, then found its way into Barclays Center, Toyota Stadium and hundreds of other sports meccas.


The first antimony-free polyester was created with William McDonough and Victor Innovatex, fulfilling the goal of a “technical nutrient” in the Cradle to Cradle closed loop system. Designed with environmentally safe ingredients, it can be safely recycled into new fabric at the end of its life.


Designtex worked with Rem Koolhaas’ OMA office to develop a suite of unique wall materials for the Seattle library and the Campus Center at IIT. The collaboration yielded a range of unusual solutions, including this one with a whimsical quality that belies its humble origin: paint roller fabric.


Designtex’s Studio X, a precursor to our R & D lab, was formed to research new materials and manufacturers for application in the commercial built environment. The team discovered a manufacturer of arctic camouflage used by scientists and developed a die-cut drapery material using the biopolymer, PLA.


Sonic Fabric was created when Designtex partnered with Alyce Santoro, an artist who had located spools of obsolete audio cassette tape. This upholstery collection incorporated the cassette tape as weft yarn and was also quite literally “sonic:” With a reconfigured Sony Walkman, one could actually listen to a composition recorded on the tape by Santoro prior to weaving.


By investing in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Designtex became 100% carbon neutral in its operations in 2010. In partnership with Native Energy, Designtex has contributed to building a range of projects across North America, including wind power, landfill gas-to-energy conversions, solar arrays, tree planting and methane capture, and continues to do so.


Designtex expanded into large-scale digital printing through the acquisition of Portland Color, a print shop in Portland, Maine that was founded and run by artists. The two companies shared many common values: a dedication to sustainable practices, an interest in industrial craft and a belief in the power of collaboration.

Designtex added recycled nylon, harvested from ocean fishing nets, into its upholstery offering. These high-performance, solution-dyed nylon fabrics offer durability and strength, while conserving resources and removing waste from the oceans.


Black and white photograph of Charley Harper

Designtex developed a collection of textiles and wallcoverings for healthcare drawn from the work of Charley Harper. Harper’s deep love of nature and his “abstract realistic” approach to image-making both create a delightful and positive distraction within healthcare environments.

Loop-to-Loop was the first upholstery made from recycling recycled textiles. Collaborating with mill and furniture partners, Designtex developed a circular infrastructure to collect our own textile waste and cycle it back into new materials.


Designtex and the London-based Wallace Sewell were invited to produce blankets for the bedrooms in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania. The blankets were made using the Wallace Sewell textile Amwell—a large-scale worsted wool construction, woven in a heritage factory in the UK.


Designtex CELLIANT® is an innovative upholstery textile that is clinically proven to improve the user’s local circulation, temporarily increasing oxygen levels. The FDA determined that CELLIANT products are medical devices and general wellness products.

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. In design, biophilia is used to transform the built environment to facilitate wellbeing. In 2018, Designtex launched its first of many collections based on biophilic design principles.


Exhibition display with plinths and hanging textiles

Designtex collaborated with Gunta Stölzl’s family and the Albers Foundation to produce textiles and wallcoverings from the archives of Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers, in recognition of their enormous influence on modern textile design. The collection launched in concert with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus.


A picture of a sample with the pattern

Designtex launched Digital Studio, a tool that empowers designers with a means to create customized textiles and wallcoverings. A growing portfolio of patterns, including many created by artists, can be customized with infinite choices of color and scale.

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Careers at Designtex

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