Earlier this month I traveled to Frankfurt, Germany as a guest of Heimtextil , the world’s largest trade fair dedicated to textiles for the home furnishings industry. This year’s fair contained an impressive 3025 exhibitors from 65 countries and 67,500 attendees and there was no shortage of product, ideas and inspiration.
Unique to Heimtextil was the emphasis on trends, where a signficant portion of the show floor was dedicated to presenting the trends to render a visual, tactile, and emotional experience for the attendees.
In viewing and experiencing the trends in person, it was evident that first and foremost on people’s mind these days is the current and future political and economic situation. We design the spaces in which we live as a response to what is going on in the world -as an escape from our current reality, one’s own personal Utopia. “Toward Utopia” was the theme of this year’s fair, and the textile trends I saw definitely reflected that.
When the outside world is uncertain or is in a state of turmoil, how do we react? We all react differently, and the trends represented at Heimtextil reflect each of these different responses.
TOWARD UTOPIA – Heimtextil 2019/2020 Trends
- Pursue Play
- Escape Reality
- Go Off-Grid
- Seek Sanctuary
- Embrace Indulgence
A sense of optimism and a playful escape.
Embracing technology and escaping into a world of augmented reality where not everything may be what it seems.
Escaping into extreme nature and making survival possible with advances in technological gear.
Escaping reality by creating a sense of calm and a zen-like environment.
Escape by over-indulging oneself in luxury and the finer things in life.
My Observations at Heimtextil:
In addition to the “Towards Utopia” theme and the trends presented by Heimtextil, there were many personal observations that I saw trending at the fair:
- Performance fabrics blur the lines between hospitality and residential design
- Advances in digital printing allow for customization in a wider variety of materials and substrates
- The abundance of wallcovering
- Acoustical considerations in textiles and wallcoverings
- Past meets present
Performance Fabrics Blur the Lines Between Hospitality and Residential Design
If you picture a Venn diagram consisting of two circles – one that represents hospitality design and the other representing residential design, you’ll notice that the two intersecting circles are moving closer together and there is a larger overlap than ever before. Much of this shift in the market has to do with two factors – the rise of performance fabrics in the residential marketplace and a shift towards designing with wellness in mind in hospitality- designing where it isn’t only about function, but where a harmonious look that promotes well-being, matters.
The hospitality market is now seeing less ordinary and utilitarian textile solutions on the market and are desgining with form in mind – designs that can easily be mistaken for residential. On the residential side, with the average home being more active – small children, pets, home entertaining, open concept living where eating areas oftentimes blend into living areas, the need for performance fabrics has been on the rise.
Heimtextil had an impressive section dedicated to textiles for the contract sector. In this section, a special area dedicated to “Trends in Contract” was put together by Trevira CS and highlighted trend predictions for the areas of work, hotels, restaurants, and healthcare. It was chock full of information and provided a glimpse into where the future of textiles in contract is headed. You’ll notice that for the most part, that “Trends in Contrat” mirror the main theme of “Towards Utopia” and the trends contained within.
TRENDS IN CONTRACT by Trevira CS
BALANCED + RESPONSIBLE
ADVANCED + SENSITIVE
SPIRITED + DIVERSE
PERFORMANCE FABRICS IN THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET
Meanwhile, in the residential market, performance fabrics such as Crypton, have been making their mark. This past market was Crypton’s first appearance at Heimtextil and the response was phenomenal.
I can personally attest to Crypton as it has been my “go to” fabric for upholstery any time I have a client where durability is a must. Crypton is not a topical application but it is bound to every fiber of the fabric on a molecular level, so it is permanent and cannot wear off or be washed away. Check out the video below to see Crypton in action – it’s really impressive!
ADVANCES IN DIGITAL PRINTING ALLOW FOR MORE CUSTOMIZATION
And to think there was a time when HP and Epson was only for making photocopies on paper. Technology has changed quite a bit over the last few years and that has resulted in faster lead times and a plethora of custom capabilities in the home furnishings market.
Take a peek at the myriad of possibilities that companies such as HP and Epson make possible for the home furnishings sector.
Watch the Epson Sublimination printer in action:
THE CONTINUING RISE OF WALLCOVERINGS
Hall 3.1, which housed Wallcoverings at Heimtextil was beyond impressive. I can’t say that I have ever attended a trade fair with not only such a wide variety of wallcovering resources, but so many! Wallcoverings happens to be my thing, so I was a kid in a candy store soaking in all the new product – some from vendors that I already have accounts with, but many more that I was not familiar with that had such fresh and innovative product.
What did I see in wallcovering trends?
- Scale is getting larger
- Laser Technology
- Photorealistic Graphic Collage
- Innovative Grasscloths and Natural Fiber Wallcoverings
Scale is Getting Larger and Larger
Wallcoverings are being used differently than in the past. For those on a budget, one may opt for an accent wall rather than applying wallpaper to every wall in the room. An accent wall can make a statement and is one of the best ways to maximize a budget. With the focus on one wall in a space, designers are making the design matter and increasing scale to make a bigger impact, with florals and tropicals leading the pack as the motifs of choice.
Technology is advancing by the minute and laser technology is bringing an entirely new realm to wallcoverings with contrasted materials and a mix of metallics
Photorealistic Graphic Collage
Graphic patterns have been taken to a entirely new level by integrating high-res digital imagery. Actual materials are photographed and graphic patterns are created using a variety of colors and shapes.
Marquetry is the art of inlay using various woods or other materials to create a decorative pattern. When using wood, attention is paid to the direction of the grain, and the same practice applies to marquetry in wallcovering. In some cases thin wood veneer is used but in other cases grass coth and other materials are also used, each creating a different effect.
Innovative Grasscloths and Natural Fiber Wallcoverings
It wasn’t too long ago when there wasn’t much of a variety in grass cloth wallpaper. There were just a handful of plain weaves that were simply dyed in a variety of colors. Now, a substrate of plain weave grass cloths can be printed to bring texture to what would be an ordinary print. In addition, different materials and fancy weaves are being introduced to the market, resulting in warm, chunky, texture-rich wallcoverings.
Acoustics seem to be a growing concern in interior spaces. With a focus on wellness in the home, the average consumer is doing away with wall to wall carpet and replacing it with hard surfaces such as hard wood or tile. Not only is it easier to clean (yet it can’t hide dust and dirt the way carpet can) it is healthier, because dust and dirt has nowhere to hide on a hard surface . The absence of carpet however, brings another host of problems – more frequent cleaning (as if that is a bad thing!) and acoustical issues, as hard surfaces provide little to no sound-dampening qualities.
I came across this wallpaper that is backed with a 3mm thick layer of spun backing that decreases the echo and reverberation of sound by 25%. It can be applied to both walls and ceilings in both residential and commercial spaces. A variety of high-res images can be printed on the surface, giving the look of ordinary wallpaper.
Acoustics are also a consideration when selecting window treatments. Zimmer and Rohde has developed a fabric with a modern weave that is just as much function as it is form. “Sonic” a wide-width polyester, improves the acoustics by dampening sound. In addition to it’s acoustical qualities, it’s light-reflective backing protects against intense heat.
Hollandfelt, used in an either 3mm or 5 mm thicknesses woolfelt, can be used to enhance the acoustics in interior spaces and can easily be applied to walls using felt glue.
Past Meets Present
Old weaving techniques are being reinterpreted into modern designs. Skills have been passed from generation to generation, and with the interest in weaving dwindling with the younger generation, there are not many craftsmen left in the world. To keep the craft alive, modern designs and motifs are introduced utilizing old weaving techniques.
Kutnu fabric was once heavily used during the Ottoman period for clothing and upholstery in larger cities such as Istanbul. Kutnu utilizes a silk warp and cotton weft with a satin warp weave. The colorful lines characteristic of Kutnu fabric is a result of the colorful warps. Kutnïa keeps the art of Kutnu alive by utilizing the historical weave but in modern motifs and color palettes.
Alois Tessitura Serica has been producing fancy silk jacquards since the late 18th century and as the company passed from generation to generation, the company has expanded and evolved to meet market demands. The centuries-old art of producing fancy silk jacquards remains alive today (although now much of what is woven today is on state-of the art looms) but using modern motifs to appeal to today’s evolving aesthetic.
Heimtextil was a truly inspiring show and I can’t thank Messe Frankfurt enough for extending the invitation and giving me the opportunity to attend. I absorbed a wealth of information simply by walking through the aisles of the show.
The trend area was one area that was unlike any other show I’ve attended. It was completely interactive and not only were the color palettes and fabrics presented, but a glimpse into the backstory of each trend – the products that influence each trend are put on display to give the viewer a deeper understanding of the how and why.
Having so many textile and wallcovering manufacturers in one place (and organized in such an efficient manner) was invaluable and I picked up so many new resources that I know the designers I work with will love.
I hope that I’ll be able to return to Heimtextil next year as the information and resources I picked trip will be invaluable to my business – the trend presentations alone are worth the trip. Thanks again, Messe Frankfurt for the experience. Until next year!
Also, be sure to check out Lisa Mende and Jana Phipps “Trim Queen” as we attended Heimtextil together (although we navigated the show separately) and each of us captures the show with our own unique perspective.