Genie Copper Mesh® by VIA Seating
VIA SEATING has partnered with Cupron, a copper-based antimicrobial technology company, to produce an industry first; a mesh textile suitable for healthcare applications.
When it comes to healthcare textiles, there are several factors to be considered. While fabric is more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, it’s porous and woven, creating space for bacteria to grow. When it comes to healthcare applications, textiles have a lot more weight to pull. Their prevalence in the environment requires them to be flame-retardant to increase the safety of staff and patients in case of a fire emergency. Hospitals are high traffic areas, so these textiles should be durable and able to withstand interactions with thousands of people each year. Most significantly, healthcare textiles should be anti-bacterial/microbial. For this reason, manufacturers tend to use synthetic fibers and chemically treated materials to achieve these properties. In recent years, studies have shown that these products and their associated chemicals can accumulate to toxic levels in the body, putting the health of those who are most frequently exposed to them at risk. The use of harsh chemicals against bacteria is also a contributing factor to “superbugs,” bacteria that have evolved immunities to antibiotics.
THE DESIGN CHALLENGE
The onus is on designers to create environments that while beautiful, are suitable to the needs of its function. We want to give healthcare patients and workers a space that is comforting, appealing, and supportive. This means soft seating that is bleach-cleanable, and particularly for staff members, able to endure long periods of seated time. When it comes to seating, mesh is an industry favorite textile. This lightweight material gives designers a contemporary and sleek option that is easy to maintain. The material allows for ventilation, keeping the sitter cool while at work, and flexibility which helps conform to the body.
Just like fabrics, mesh is porous and woven, meaning it’s typically unsuitable for healthcare; think of all the places for bacteria to grow! This is what makes Via Seating’s patent-pending Genie Copper Mesh ® such a groundbreaking textile. Winner of the 2017 Best of NeoCon for Innovation in Healthcare Textiles, and the Silver Nightingale Award for healthcare Textiles, the material works by embedding EPA registered copper strands into the mesh. Copper is a self-sanitizing, biocidal, antifungal and antiviral material already used in healthcare environments. By weaving copper into the mesh material, the beneficial properties don’t rub off like topical chemicals in other textiles.