Why Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik favours nature’s high-tech material

The unique qualities of wool make it advantageous for fabrics used in cruise interiors

Why Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik favours nature’s high-tech material

Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik

GU has supplied the cruise industry with wool-based textiles for more than 60 years

By Alex Smith |

Norway’s many ports, thousands of miles of coastline and world-famous fjords lend themselves to the cruise experience perhaps more than destinations in any other country. Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik (GU) has been working in this maritime landscape since 1887 and has supplied the cruise industry with wool-based textiles for more than 60 years. 

“For the last 135 years, we have been turning raw wool fibre into fabric at our mill, and that teaches you a thing or two,” says Anita Tønnessen, head of international sales for GU. “Our processes and our knowledge of the unique qualities of wool and our customers’ needs and expectations enables us to ensure consistently superior quality while helping clients to make the right choices for their business.” 

Wool is a natural and biodegradable material that is durable, long-lasting and favoured for its ability to regulate temperature, keeping people warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Wool textiles are also self-cleaning, have antibacterial properties and are naturally odour resistant due to the fibre’s unique characteristics. Annually, GU uses wool from approximately 120,000 sheep which are carefully selected from areas near the coast and produce the cleanest fleeces. 

“It’s important to remember that wool has amazing natural properties; we call it nature’s ‘high-tech’ material,” says Tønnessen. “An important fact for the cruise industry is that wool is naturally flame retardant. This means that we can produce flame-retardant, International Maritime Organization-certified fabrics without the use of chemicals.” 

GU also adheres to high sustainability standards. Its mill is built on the banks of the Mesna river, which provides water for production processes. Advanced filtering systems means that, post production, the water is clean enough to safely flow into Norway’s largest source of drinking water. GU is ISO14001 and ISO9001 certified and uses European Union EcoLabel certification for its products. 

“For us, the future of wool-based textiles, inspired by our raw material’s sustainable qualities, lies in our focus on research and development,” says Ragnhild. “As the world demands low-carbon, non-plastic, durable, recyclable and biodegradable solutions, we’re confident that the answer lies in applying our knowledge to create the highest quality upholstery.” 

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Interiors for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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