Founded in Denmark in 1968, Kvadrat is one of the world's leading upholstery textile suppliers. Working in collaboration with leading designers, architects and artists, they have supplied fabrics for some of the most notable buildings on the planet: from MoMA in New York to the Reichstag in Berlin, to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
They have always produced in the UK, but in 2009 they bought a 30% share in Wooltex, a textile manufacturer in the heart of Yorkshire's textile industry, and then acquired a further 11% in 2011. "The area surrounding Huddersfield has long been renowned for the quality of its textile mills," says photographer Alastair Philip Wiper, who toured and captured the facility. "As is the way with such industries in the developed world, the last 50 years have seen a steady decline as business is lost to cheaper manufacturers in other countries.
"As mills closed and were turned into offices and apartments, the market for high-end production of textiles opened up and the knowledge and skill of the manufacturers in the Huddersfield area began to be appreciated once again. Wooltex was founded in 1996 and has grown from strength to strength, warping and weaving, and in 2016 they opened a new dyeing and finishing facility."
According to Richard Brook, technical director at Wooltex, the biggest challenge they now face is attracting young people to train and work for them, and build up the knowledge needed to continue the craft.
The photographs below show the Wooltex factory and the Kvadrat warehouse in Ebletoft, Denmark, where the textiles are shipped when they are finished. Shot by Alastair Philip Wiper as part of a collaboration with human science strategic consultants ReD Associates.