How Solarglide is delivering durability through design

Solarglide’s motorised antimicrobial window covering solutions can help ship operators minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission

How Solarglide is delivering durability through design
The Carnival fabric used for SG Silhouette dimout blinds eliminates 99 per cent of coronavirus particles

Pre-pandemic, cruise and ferry operators were highly focused on sourcing sustainable products for their newbuild and refurbishment projects. Most enquiries Solarglide received were for solar-powered motorised window covering solutions and sustainable fabrics. In fact, we had so many that we adapted our range to include more motorised products and began networking with fabric designers to attain additional eco-friendly fabrics. 

However, when the Covid-19 pandemic began to gather pace in 2020 and travel restrictions and social distancing were enforced on a global scale, cruise and ferry operators began to halt services and pause or cancel many of their pre-planned fit-out projects. Large budgets for interior fit outs suddenly became much smaller and operators switched from prioritising sustainability to reducing virus transmission. Naturally, enquiry levels for window coverings dwindled but our team capitalised on the unexpected downtime to evaluate how we could improve our business and better serve the industry.   

Solarglide’s drive was to continue developing window coverings that could help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. We had already established a global presence with our popular SG Glider bridge sunscreen range, which is made with Carnival fabric and offers protection by eliminating 99 per cent of coronavirus particles from the fabric’s surface within an hour. However, our focus has recently turned to curtains and soft accessories. 

Now, whenever a designer specifies materials, we proactively suggest an equivalent with antimicrobial properties, such as the Panaz ShieldPlus range, eco-friendly textiles or alternative International Maritime Organization-approved fabrics similar to what was originally specified. These durable alternatives are often beneficial for restricted budgets, but still ensure the safety and comfort of those onboard, without compromising on aesthetics. 

Over the past year, we have committed to product development, made it a priority to reduce our environmental impact and expanded our knowledge of the textile industry. Now that worldwide restrictions are beginning to ease, the shipbuilding and outfitting industries may start to see an uplift in interior spending.  

Installing motorised blinds and curtains made from bacteria-resistant textiles provides an easy way for operators to reduce human contact and the spread of viruses, while ensuring they are sufficiently durable for onboard areas with high volumes of traffic. 

Paul Pringle is managing director at Solarglide

This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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By Paul Pringle
30 June 2021

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