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3.O/Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH/Pietro Sutera

Hello, Design Connector Readers!  How have you been?  I hope 2019 is treating you well and you are off to a productive start.  It’s February and I’m just now sitting down to update you on what’s happening in my world.   I want to backtrack and talk about my travels in January before I jump off into my work.  There are many exciting things to share, but first, I must tell you about my experience at Heimtextil!  I still am pinching myself that I was able to attend this unbelievable show.  What an experience!  I hope from now on every January begins with a trip to Heimtextil!  

My year kicked off with an amazingly inspirational start thanks to a first-time visit to Heimtextil, the world’s largest textile show for the home furnishings and contract industries, which is held annually in Frankfurt, Germany.  I was invited as a guest of Messe Frankfurt, the show’s host, and organizer.   Messe Frankfurt owns the fairgrounds where Heimtextil is presented each January.

Every day at the show was a new challenge to see everything I could possibly see in the 12 halls at Messe Frankfurt.   The categories of products were extremely well organized which helped with planning my days.  

In the four days I spent walking the halls of Messe Frankfurt’s fairgrounds, I saw more products, heard more educational lectures by leading industry experts and attended more events relating to textiles than I am typically privy to all year long here in the US.   My “immersion” in Heimtextil yielded new relationships across the pond, which I look forward to pursuing in the future.    Nowhere in the world can one go to experience the latest trends, greatest technology and products offered in the textile industry like the offerings at Heimtextil.

 Heimtextil kicks off every new year by introducing the textile industry to what to expect for the coming year in the textile industry.    Heimtextil sets the benchmark for the industry and this year was no exception.

Heimtextil is the industry’s most important global event for interior textiles, interior design, and interior trends.  As you can see from the diagram about there are approximately 160 countries, over 3,000 exhibitors from 65 countries and approximately 70,000 trade visitors to the Heimtextil show.

The diagram above is a floor plan of the Messe Frankfurt fairground and shows all 12 Halls.  Each Hall may have anywhere from 1 to 3 floors.  I found that working specific Halls on specific days was a good plan for me.  I chose the areas to concentrate each day, I wasn’t spending time traveling from Hall to Hall. 

To expedite travel between the halls there were moving walkways.  We learned after a few days that there were also some shortcuts between the buildings. 

The press conference, Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board, Messe Frankfurt GmbH

3.0 Trend space lecture area/Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH/Pietro Sutera

To Open The Fair a Press Conference held in 3.0 with Detlef Braun, a Member of the Executive Board, Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles and Textile, Thimo Schwenzfeier, Director of Marketing & Communications, as well as Caroline Till of Franklin Till of London, all spoke about the New Heimtextil 2019.  It was an impressive presentation with discussions on global market trends as well as introduction of the new more navigable halls concept as well as an overview by Caroline Till of the 2019 Trend Space Theme “Toward Utopia”.

Detlef Braun, Executive Board Member talked about the importance of doing face-to-face business and the digital age as well as the importance of being able to shake hands across the pond.  

                                                           Heimtextil 2019 Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther

                                                        The Trend Space at Heimtextil 2019  “Toward Utopia”

Toward Utopia Hall 3.0

Jana Phipps, The Trim Queen, Thimo Schwenzfeier, Director of Marketing Communications,

Messe Frankfurt and me in the Trend Space

I began my Heimtextil experience in the Heimtextil ” Trend Space” in hall 3.0.  This year’s prevailing theme was “Toward Utopia”.   The theme was conceived by London’s Franklin Till Studio and was staged by the Frankfurt studio Markgraph.  I had the pleasure of having a private tour with Caroline Till, who is a co-founder of Franklin Till.  

Heimtextil positioned the trend space next to CAD/CAM suppliers, digital printer manufacturers and international textile designers so that they all shared one hall level.  The idea behind this was to bring those areas together for inspiration and future technologies.

The Five Themes Represented in the Trend Space Area were:

  1. Embrace Indulgence
  2. Seek Sanctuary
  3. Pursue Play
  4. Off The Grid
  5. Escape Reality

According to Heimtextil, this is what they said about the Trend Space Research:

“The Heimtextil trends 2019/2020 describe a world in which we live according to new standards. We try to escape complex lifestyles and have a desire for deeper relationships, spiritual confirmation and greater meaning. “We live in an era of uncertainty and mistrust in the established order. As a reaction, we try to live a meaningful, conscious life based on positive relationships. We take responsibility for our lives and look for ways of life that fulfill our value system in search of a new utopia – a society that aims at promoting the well-being of all its citizens”, explains Caroline Till, co-founder of FranklinTill Studio. The search for new lifestyles in which mindfulness and sustainability play an important role will be the challenge of the coming decades”.

“Toward Utopia” shows which individual routes we can take on the way to finding a modern utopia: those who seek temporary time-out from the internet to reconnect with nature and defy the elements (“Go off-grid”), while others escape from the real world into a virtual world (“Escape Reality”). Some withdraw and find security in pure, minimalist rooms (“Seek Sanctuary”). “Embrace Indulgence” offers a nostalgic answer to today’s uncertain times and surrounds us with beauty and luxury. And the unconditional hedonistic desire for play (“Pursue Play”) is probably hidden in all of us.

The idea behind these trends was born from analyzing how we live and function in our environments.  When we pay attention to how we live and function we can design our environments accordingly to support our lifestyle.  I loved the idea of thinking about trends in a more analytical way.  I’ll discuss each trend and talk about how this idea plays into how manufacturers decide what colors, patterns, materials, and designs come to the forefront in the textile world. 

Embrace Indulence – Omar’s Place by Sella Concept

                                                                     Photography by Nicholas Worley  Heimtextil trend book

  1. Embrace Indulgence – “Rich materials and colors, art deco style and skilled craftsmanship combine to offer a utopian vision of the future of luxury.  We look back to calmer eras and surround ourselves with serene, inviting beauty.  Intelligent combinations of materials and tangible expression of creativity are as much a part of luxury today as straightforward opulence.  Intimacy and tactility valued.

Visitors to the Embrace Indulgence area experienced indulgence by walking through velvet covered arches.

Seek Sanctuary – Airplane Mode Box by Branch Heimtextil trend book

 2) Seek Sanctuary – People living hyper-connected, intense lives are looking for ways to disconnect.  Retreating into urban oasis encourage regeneration and clarity.  People are also realizing that more things do not always equate to more happiness.  Essentialism doesn’t mean rejecting products – rather, it involves seeking out and appreciating simple, beautiful, functional, finely executed pieces and concepts.” 

The Seek Sanctuary area of the Trend Space was draped in white sheer fabric and offered a respite from the show


Pursue Play – Walala X Play by Camille Walala For Now Gallery 

Photography by Charles Emerson, Heimtextil trend book


3) Pursue Play – “In an era of uncertainty, political instability and environmental concerns, our need for optimism, escape and invention is being realized through play.  We are using play as a way to make sense of the chaos.  Designers are aiming for uninhibited, tactile interaction and experimentation.  Bold, defiant product, space, and fashion designs are injected with humor.

The Pursue Play area of the Trend Space invited guests to swing in a brightly colored swing made of fabrics.

Go Off-Grid – Ecocapsule Holding Heimtextil trend book

4) Go Off  Grid –  “People are rewilding their lifestyles, turning off-grid to re-establish a connection with nature.  Trying to find out connections with humanity’s primal roots, they are committed to being resourceful, active and fit, and seeking transformative experiences in remote places.  Designs are drawing references from the practical aspects of outdoor textiles and workwear, their tech look suggests longevity and endurance.”

The Go Off Grid Area of The Trend Space was designed like a makeshift camping area complete with an area for cocooning


Escape Reality – Machinic Life Exhibition by Museum of the Future Heimtextil trend book

5) Escape Reality – “The new utopia can be as rooted in the digital as in the real.  The potential of virtual reality and augmented reality blends the real and the unreal.  We are already accustomed to experimenting an ever more realistic digital world through gaming.   Now artists, retailers, and innovative designers are introducing richer and richer digital experiences into our everyday lives, making technology genuinely tactile.


The Escape Reality area of The Trend Space invited guests to step inside a mirrored dome and experience brightly colored mobiles streaming from above.  

All in all the Trend Space was incredibly exciting.  Each area had fabrics and a color palette which represented the theme.   Next to the Trend Space was the artwork area where the artists were selling their original designs.

                                                            Heimtextil 2019 Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther

An Artist in Hall 3.0 showing her artwork to a potential client

One of my favorite areas of the show was the artwork area.  This area was in 3.0 next to the Trend Space.  It is where the artists show their original artwork which can be purchased for fabrics and wallpaper or bedding, etc.  I did not even know this existed.  I am not sure why, but I always thought fabric houses had in house artists who created their patterns.  I’m not sure where I thought bedding manufacturers got their designs but many of them buy artwork from the artists at shows like Heimtextil.  There are other art shows for the industry but this show is the first of the year, so if you purchase from this show you are most likely getting the creme of the crop. Once a design is purchased the artist pulls it from their collection and you own it.  I went back to this area every day of the show.  I found it fascinating to discover art talent who sell to major fabric and wallpaper houses.   


                                                                      Heimtextil 2019  Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther

                                                                             Demand for Innovation is Increasing 

Also in Hall 3.0 were the digital printer manufacturers\ and CAD/CAM suppliers.  Show attendees experienced the printing results with live print demonstrations from brands like Xeikon, Hp, Epsom, Mimaki, Veika, MS Printing Solutions, JK Group, and Kornit Digital. and others.  Booths were covered in digitally printed fabrics and visitors were schooled on each machine.  

One of my favorite digital printing exhibits was The Total Solution exhibit which is a complete integrated system in which three companies – For Tex, F.lli Robustelli and Epson have committed themselves to offer a maximum guarantee and assistance during the entire production cycle for direct-to-fabric digital printing.

What New Products Did I See?

In the Wallcovering Hall 3.1, there were so many new products, but rarely did I see traditional wallpaper.   

Embellished wallcoverings were prevalent like this leather wall panel with three dimensional

embroidered flowers at Kinland Decor

Amazing materials such as wood, cork and natural fibers were incorporated in brilliant colors for wallcoverings

Large scale florals and botanicals were everywhere!  The larger the scale the better.  This is a new beauty from Cole and Son

Textural wallcoverings like this woven wallcovering were available from many sources and tribal patterns were also prevalent.

Full wall murals which looked hand painted but were often digitally printed were as popular than ever 


Trends In Fabric and Wallpaper I identified at Heimtextil:

African Patterns with mud cloth and tribal prints, feathers, sticks, and stones

Great Gatsby Art Deco Inspired Patterns,

New York inspired patterns with graphic black and white designs often mimicking the architecture of New York City.

Baroque Influenced patterns with velvets and damasks and tapestries. Textile patterns and prints include florals, damasks, or exotic scenery which are delicately but boldly designed.

Collections inspired by nature: Ocean themes, birds, monkeys 

Flora and Fauna – Large scale palm leaves and banana leaves as well as overscaled florals 


Trending Colors I saw at Heimtextil:

We all want to know what colors are trending right?  We were stuck in the colorless grey phase for so long and while I love neutrals as much as the next person, it is nice to see some color back on the scene.  So what colors did we see at Heimtextil you asked?  All different shades of blue were still predominant especially navy, aqua, teal, and gray-blue.  Persimmon, Clay, and russet were still on the scene as was blush, lavender and more vibrant colors like berry, dark green and mustard.  


Interior Architecture Hospitality Expo Hall 4.2

Heimtextil dedicated Hall 4.2 to contract furnishings that were sustainable and functional.  In this area, there were acoustic and sun protection function fabrics and wallcoverings as well as special abrasion modular carpets.  This area also featured presentations, lectures, and guided tours.  Well, known architects and hotel experts discussed their work and the issues that are shaping the industry. This hall was frequented by interior designers and hospitality experts with a total of approx 500 exhibitors presenting products specifically designed for the contract business.

Click Here to Read an Interview on the Heimtextil Blog with  Isabelle Vidal, Vice President Business Group Marine & Furniture, about the exciting new products from Serge Ferrari, the trend towards individual design through customization and their expectations of Heimtextil 



Sleep Was a Big Topic Of Discussion

Sleep! The Future Forum

Seek Sanctuary – Nokia Sleep Heimtextil trend book

One of the most talked about lifestyle themes at Heimtextil was “sleep” and how important it is to our well being.  In Hall 11.0 there were companies from all over the world on board sharing sleep systems, mattresses,  and bedding.  Sleep experts and international market leaders led interesting lectures on Sleep & Digital, Sports, Hospitality, and Sustainability and gave insights into the future of sleep.  I could have stayed in this Hall to hear all the lectures for all four days.  Some of the lectures included: Enhancing performance through sleep comfort and Textile innovations for a “smarter” sleep.  Don’t we all want to sleep smarter? There were so many interesting topics, I am hoping someone will gather all the information shared and write a book on it.



There is so much more I could tell you about Heimtextil but honestly you need to go for yourself to experience this amazing show. While I was at the show, I had several people ask me why I wanted to go and what was there for designers.  It’s actually quite simple, my answer, “to be a better designer”.   Heimtextil is the leading textile show in the world and being there to learn makes me a better designer.  Anyone who deals with textiles in any way should be at this show.  I learned more in four days about textiles, trends and what is coming down the pipe than I could possibly imagine.    I hope I see you there next year for Heimtextil‘s 50th Anniversary!

Find out more about the Heimtextil Trends and Trend Book:

On the net:

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organizer with its own exhibition site. More than 2,400* employees in 30 locations achieve an annual turnover of around 669* million euros. Thanks to far-reaching networks with industry and an international sales network, the corporate group is able to efficiently support the business interests of its customers. A comprehensive service offer, both on-site and online, guarantees customers across the world the same high quality and flexibility in the planning, organization and realization of their event. The variety of services it offers range from site rental, trade fair construction, and marketing services to personal services and gastronomy. The headquarters of the company are located in Frankfurt am Main. Its shareholders are the City of Frankfurt with 60 percent and the State of Hesse with 40 percent. More information:  |  |






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