Portrait Headshot of Tony Sutton

Advancing sustainability in interior finishes

  •   21 September 2020

The design and production of greener commercial interior finishes has come a long way over the last two decades and most specifiers will appreciate the environmental achievements of local suppliers, especially those independently certified through various ecolabeling programs. Some are design-driven, while others are focused on marketing, but one company has invested in next-level innovation.

Woven Image was established in 1987 after identifying a strong need for design-oriented interior finishes. Based in Australia, it fast became a leading international business to business supplier of high-performance textiles and finishes for a wide range of commercial interiors across workspace, hospitality and education sectors.

Product sustainability is at the core of the company. They have become pioneers in manufacturing to create high-performance textiles, wallcoverings, acoustic solutions and finishing materials using postconsumer and post-industrial recycled materials. Nearly all of these products have secured independently certified environmental accreditations highlighting the measurable environmental performance of Woven Image products.

Importantly, companies producing stand-out products are steered by committed individuals who understand the importance of energising staff to create products that meet and exceed market expectations. In this case, Woven Image is today led by a senior management team with Tony Sutton at the helm as Managing Director. The company was originally started by Tony’s parents – Judith and Ian Sutton, as well as Richard Clargh (Tony’s brother), all of whom have a family heritage of wool classing and ownership of mills in Yorkshire UK.

Sutton is reserved and modest while quietly advancing textiles sustainability like few others in Australia. He has worked through the ranks of the business in offshore markets, as well as direct sales and marketing roles. Fibre and yarn is fundamentally in Sutton’s DNA, as is a commitment to real-world environmental innovation.

In part, the genesis of Sutton’s sustainability mission commenced as a strong collaboration with RMIT’s Centre for Design in the 90s. Early pioneering work looking how recycled PET plastic could be used in textiles and related panel products was underpinned by life-cycle assessments.

By far Sutton’s most significant and enduring achievement has been the successful development of EchoPanel®; an acoustic panel made of 60% recycled PET bottles, and saves tonnes of plastic waste from our oceans and landfill. Since 2004, this has equated to over 220 million 600ml plastic bottles.

The EchoPanel® story starts in 2004 when a patent for this acoustic panel was first registered. Then, it was available as 12mm and available in colours 542 (black) and 442 (grey). From those two colours fifteen years ago, the range has expanded to over thirty now.

From its original incarnation as a workstation screen, the EchoPanel® range has evolved significantly in the past decade and a half to now include wallcoverings, tiles, ceiling solutions and space dividers, all with acoustic properties. Furthermore, its panel dimensions have changed to 2800mm (length) so that a seamless floor to ceiling application can be achieved. Sutton’s dedication to the latest production processes from CNC-cutting to angle cutting and digital printing, has enabled Woven Image to stay on top of the latest trends.

What Sutton and the highly energised Woven Image team have achieved, directly addresses the latest thinking as we transition to a circular economy. The 15th birthday of EchoPanel® not only marks the market success of a certified upcycled product, it unequivocally underscores the contribution that Sutton has made to helping create sustainable interiors.

For more information visit Woven Image.


Bought to you in association with Woven Image. Proud Sponsor of 2020 Sustainability Awards.


Lifetime Achievement