Domotex Hanover (January 11 to 14) has underscored its reputation as the sector’s biggest and most important hub for business, innovations and trends. Over 1,400 exhibitors from more than 60 nations came to Hannover to kick off a successful new year of business. With close to 90 percent of all attendees having decision-making authority, the calibre of the show’s visitors remained extremely high. Even though Domotex recorded a slight dip in attendance, according to the exhibition survey, orders received by exhibitors remained constant, while the purchasing volume per visitor went up.

About 70 percent of all Domotex attendees once again came from abroad, a clear sign of the flagship fair’s international appeal. In terms of visitor backgrounds, attendance was notably up on the part of wholesale and retail professionals. The figures also revealed an increase in attendance by architects, interior designers and contract business professionals. In addition, Domotex 2019 saw an increase in the amount of display space sold.

Dr. Andreas Gruchow, the Managing Board member in charge of Domotex said, “Thanks to its strong international drawing power, Domotex serves as the sector’s definitive global marketplace. The positive and optimistic outlook on the 2019 business year that was tangible in the trade fair halls proves the success of this year’s exhibition.”

Sonia Wedell-Castellano, the new global director for Domotex, remarked: “Manufacturers and customers as well as partners, architects and designers from all over the world come together to network at Domotex, spawning new business relationships and collaborative opportunities previously not deemed possible,” adding, “That’s what this year’s theme of Create’N’Connect is all about.”

The Balta Group has remained faithful to Domotex since the origin of the fair. Managing Director Geert Vanden Bossche explained, “The rug business is a global business and this is the best place to connect with people and customers from around the world. In only four days we can meet with a lot of customers, giving a good return on our investments.”

For Myriam Ragolle, Managing Director of Ragolle Rugs, Domotex represents the ideal opportunity to present the new products to a worldwide audience within just a four day period, “It is impossible to achieve that by traveling. We can also make contacts with new customers from all over the world.”

Exhibitors from the skilled trades also expressed keen satisfaction with the run of the show. “Here at Domotex 2019, we have once again succeeded in impressing a trade audience from Germany and abroad,” said Julian Utz CEO of Uzin Utz, adding “The show’s international focus gives us access to exactly the right potential customers.” As he pointed out, Utz is strongly focused on Asian and Arab-speaking markets. “Therefore, the strong turnout by customers from these regions is a real boon for us.”

Susanne Gerken, a colour & trim designer at Volkswagen, came to Domotex 2019 to discover the latest trends and check out innovative materials. As she pointed out, colour trends and issues such as sustainability, recycling and new material lifecycles are all equally applicable to the automotive industry, and her takeaway was much more than just new impressions. “At Domotex I picked up several ideas I can use to great advantage in my work.”

By contrast, business matters were the prime objective for Alex Hosseinnia, CEO of Dallas Rugs in Colorado. “My line of work is all about buying and selling,” he said, adding that what he liked about Domotex was the way it made it easy for him to meet up with suppliers, and that it was an ideal place to discover the latest trends, colours and patterns likely to be showing up in U.S. retail channels in the course of the next year or two.”

Create’N’Connect

This year’s theme of ‘Create’N’Connect’ put the spotlight on digitisation and creative connectivity across all aspects of floor design, forming a leitmotif for the entire event.

A key topic at this year’s event involved solutions for the digital presentation of carpets and floor coverings. The new digital solutions ran the gamut of VR and AR applications, including visualisation aids for every aspect of the marketing mix, plus innovative software which makes it easy for customers to discover and choose their favourite designs and collections while providing retailers with new options for digital product presentation and sales.

The ‘Framing Trends’ special showcase served as the creative hot spot for the overall event and featured presentations and innovative product displays creating a lively hot spot that was particularly appreciated by visitors with a lifestyle focus.

Internationally renowned designer Sebastian Herkner said, “The floor sets the stage for any interior.” Again, highlighting the vital connective function of carpets and floor coverings within the overall design concept. “Along with walls, floors define the context and basis of interior design. The choice of floor material affects how we live and communicate in the resulting interior space.” As a presenter at the Framing Trends speaker’s forum, Herkner addressed the lead theme of connectivity operating at the interfaces of architecture, interior design and design.

One of the central attractions at Domotex 2019 consisted of the ‘Wood Lifecycle’ flooring space, a project created and designed by Total Tool Milano, featuring a lifecycle of wood in seven distinct steps, from the tree growing in the forest to the recycled product, completing and closing the cycle at the other end.

A ‘Connectivity Wheel’ from Schmidhuber, made up of coloured glass facets, invited tradeshow visitors to enter the wheel, set it in motion with their footsteps and watch as they generated multi-coloured light reflections on the surrounding floor coverings provided by Carpet Concept.

Again, within the context of the lead theme, Fletco Carpets, in partnership with its customers, created a special floor of digitally printed carpet tiles and a carpet mat. Most of the floor surface was printed with a precisely defined pattern to form a clear contrast with the pixelated outer zone which was continued on the walls, illustrating the almost limitless possibilities of digital printing technology for the development of brand identities.

In another exhibition space, Visionme, a young, Hannover-based company, presented ‘IUNCO’, a package of innovative visualisation technologies and distribution channels for the floor covering industry. The virtual showroom offered a comprehensive display of virtual reality technology, while the product catalogue devoted itself to augmented reality.

In the Art and Interaction space, the artist Rena Detrixhe laid reddish sand taken from the American state of Oklahoma as a temporary carpet. To create this ‘Red Dirt Rug’, she began by sifting the soil into a fine sludge, which she then smoothed out into an even layer. At the corners, she used parts of old shoe soles to stamp geometric patterns and ornaments onto the surface. The artist’s aim was to draw attention to the massive environmental impact of mineral extraction on the landscapes of her homeland.

Portuguese artist Vanessa Barragão created a display of handmade underwater worlds from recycled materials using techniques such as crochet, macramé and knitting. Her work portrayed a coral reef, contrasting bright colours which stand for bygone days with a colourless extinct scenery representing what is happening now.

The emulation of nature also featured in the exhibition segment of quality parquet and wood floors. There was considerable interest in vintage floors with a history, such as reconditioned railway sleepers or beams from demolished buildings.

Also on display were a generous range of artificially weathered or handcrafted ‘used’ look wooden surfaces (Fetim, Heywood Vloeren, Cora Domenico). The three-layered Carcassonne parquet floor from Lamett consisted of wide floorboards, with an authentic living surface structure featuring visible knots and open cracks that were deliberately included in the design.

Highlights among the application and installation techniques on show included intelligent labour saving products such as, Uzin NC 111 BiColor, a plaster compound for the preparation of smooth base that includes a compound which changes colour from bright green to salmon pink when ready for application. SELIT Dämmtechnik displayed their new Selit Style product featuring laser-printed strips that can be matched with the floor using an innovative printing process.

The Ô MUR system from the French firm of the same name allows uniform wall and floor design. With this wall installation system, parquet flooring with a click connection can be applied not only horizontally, but also to the walls. Stäubli, a developer of mechatronic solutions for looms, also displayed a wide range of ‘used’ look carpet patterns with realistic wear marks, woven on ALPHA 500 series carpet looms.

Also on show were products with a more understated sheen, for example in superior quality carpets such as ‘Ghom Copper’ from Hossein Rezvani, ‘Reflections’ from Art Resources and ‘Argent’ from Choudhary Exports. New wool carpet collections from Creative Matters such as ‘Veil’ featured silver-grey tones. Grey was featured as a trend colour for superior quality products at numerous stands.  ‘Super Smooth on Red Denim’ by Rug Star attracted considerable attention with its tufted rayon surface and the red cotton material of the carpet base showing through at an open point in the design. ‘Dazzie’ from Saraswatii Global, a masterpiece of the knotter’s art, with a fine, irregular three-dimensional silk surface structure was particularly impressive in dark grey.

Much in demand along with these examples of outstanding design was the equally exclusive ‘used’ look in textile floor coverings, woven carpets and hand-woven carpets (De Poortere, Stefany Home & Living, Hossein Rezvani). Wool and silk handcrafted carpets and superior-quality woven carpets with coloured geometrical or graphic patterns and strong black-white contrasts also had strong appeal (Claire Gaudion, Osta Carpets, Jaipur Rugs, Hanse Home Collection, Zollanvari).

Flair Flooring displayed the results of its partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The striking zigzag design of ‘Salon’ is a magnified detail of an art deco carpet contained in the V&A collection.

Prado Rugs, a manufacturer and exporter of machine-made carpets from Egypt, delighted tradeshow visitors with its high-quality wool carpets following the patented design principles of bio geometry. According to this principle, geometric patterns, circles, angles and waveform patterns are thought to create harmonising and therapeutic effects by activating especially positive energies in the environment and our bodies.

Prizewinning exhibits in the Carpet Design Awards 2019

On Saturday evening came the much anticipated announcement of the winners of the Carpet Design Awards 2019, given in recognition of outstanding combinations of quality, design and innovation. The Best Studio Artist Design award went to Create & Connect, The Chameleon Carpet from the Beate von Harten studio. The jury praised the idea of literally getting lost in the multiple fabric layers. Edelgrund won two awards, for ‘Bijar’ (Best Flatweave Design) and Best Communication for its advertising campaign. The winner of the CDA for Best Modern Design Superior was ‘Spartan Plumage’ by Zollanvari International. The Berlin trend label Rug Star was the winner in the Best Traditional-Modern Design category with ‘Balouch LightPink’. It also won the Best Interior Installation award for its ‘Magnificent Old- Portland Style House’, a photo project realised in the USA. The jury experts stated that, “the new and old world come together in this exciting interior interpretation,” agreeing it was an outstanding example of how carpets can transform an interior.