The first of these is the Ingress Protection (IP Ratings)standards governing bathrooms in hotels, kidly contributed by lighting designer Andy Taylor. These standards are designed to prevent the electrocution of your guest by 'zoning' the bathroom to show what kind of fitting it is safe to fit in what area.
Our second guide is from the US Association for Contract Textiles. It defines abrasion resistance, the various test formats and lays down some guidelines for specification.
My own experience involvement in designing over 400 hotel projects led my practice to settle on a standard of 18,000 rubs for a bedroom chair fabric: 40,000 rubs for a chair in an hotel public area; but higher maybe up to 80,000 rubs, for a fabric in a bar.
Coommon sense needs to be used as a tapestry type of fabric will fail after less than 8,000 rubs but will outlast a cotton sateen which will score high in a Martindale test because of its smoothness. We have all seen tapestries in country houses that have lasted hundereds of years yet sat in bars where the cotton sateen used on the stool has split almost immediately.
Rub tests are only a guideline and are not a substitute for intelligent specification by a designer who knows what they are doing!
First published in the DesignClub on 12th Jul 2010
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