This year’s trade show season was welcomed by Heimtextil, a leading fair dedicated to home and contract textiles and wallcoverings. Often hailed as a must-attend event for those in the design industries, the show places great emphasis on creativity, innovation and sustainability. At the event, Hospitality Interiors found that visitors and exhibitors were enthused by the show’s vitality and international appeal – with the 2013/14 Trend Forum, Design Live area and Young Creations Award providing notable talking points.

Heimtextil’s international focus is evident in its exhibitor and visitor numbers. The event hosted 2658 exhibitors from 62 countries, which were joined by approximately 66,000 visitors over the four days – 66% of which came from countries other than Germany. The most represented international visitor nations included Italy, China, Turkey, the UK, the USA, France, Spain, the Russian Federation and Poland.

With 80% of exhibitors and 94% of visitors claiming to have achieved their goals during the show, it is evident that the exhibition is a good platform for doing business. “We have been able to acquire new markets for the wallpaper collections we launched three years ago,” says Mark Kennedy, export sales manager at UK-based fabric and wallcoverings specialist, Clarke & Clarke. “As one of the largest textile fairs in the world, Heimtextil is an outstanding platform for contact with both new and existing customers.”

With a particular emphasis on the interior design of hotels, the Contract Creations pocket guide highlighted exhibitors displaying products ideal for the contract market – providing an invaluable resource for contract buyers.

Trading was not the only activity on the agenda, with a range of informative seminars and inspirational displays providing a plethora of entertainment for visitors and exhibitors alike.

Part of the Contract Creations events programme, Thursday’s set of discussions on the Let’s talk about... seminar stage provided a point of interest for hospitality professionals, with a presentation of the IHA (German Hotel Association)’s recently-revised Hotel Business furnishing planner.

Furthermore, Germany-based architecture and design magazine, AIT, put together a hotel platform to gather architects, investors and operators in an inspirational think tank. AIT also hosted the Innovation Award Architecture Textile Object in collaboration with the show, the winner of which was Japanese-style window treatment specialist, Wood & Washi, for its innovative Flow blind system.

Design inspiration could also be found in abundance within the show’s specially-created displays – the most spectacular of which was the Trend Forum. Designed and realised by  Stijlinstituut Amsterdam, the concept area highlighted four upcoming trends for 2013/14  – as decided by an international panel of design experts from this year’s Heimtextil Trendtable.

The four trend personalities – The Eccentric, The Historian, The Geologist and The Inventor –  reflect the complex lifestyles of contemporary consumers. The Eccentric, for example, represents a collector of unique objects, and mixes flamboyance with a passion for the creative arts. Here, bold colours and references of the exotic were combined with more subtle touches to create an elegant and highly-decorative display.

The Historian represents an individual who strives to incorporate the luxury and heritage of the past with our modern, digital-centric lifestyles. The trend encompasses rich textures in pale, pearlescent hues with a slight metallic sheen alongside dark mysterious shades. This, alongside references to poetry and historical art, creates a feeling of comfort and opulence.

The Geologist represents preserver and explorer of the unknown and unexpected elements of nature. The trend highlights the link between nature and technology, personifying a consumer that – although a lover of nature – is intrigued by the role of urban life in the current ecosystem. Reflecting the dark, powerful and self-destructive side of nature, the trend embodies intense hues that sparkle with deep metallics and stone-like, irregular textures.

In contrast, The Inventor is a playful trend, which reflects a free-thinking, creative and opportunistic individual who enjoys research and experimentation to find fun and functional solutions for the everyday. Encompassing a bright, fresh colour palette, the trend combines contrasts such as clinical and organic, hot and frozen, and functionality and entertainment.

Stijlinstituut Amsterdam also selected an array of on-trend and innovative wallcoverings from various exhibitors to display in the Wall Gallery, which offered an overview of the latest additions to the world of wallcoverings. Embellished textures and vintage-style prints combined with strong, neutral and subtle metallic hues to create a display rich in understated luxury.

The revamped Design Live area hosted a wide range of inspirations from new and up-and-coming design studios. Over 180 international exhibitors displayed their colourful and creative designs, many of which were present at the show for the first time. Among the newcomers was UK-based Hewlett-Packard (HP), which highlighted its new printing techniques.

“Coming to Heimtextil has been a tremendous first step in evaluating the market for digital printing and estimating visitor interest in our products,” says David Sharpe, European communications manager at HP. “We brought along our latest graphic printing solutions, particularly those for wallcoverings, and presented them at Heimtextil in collaboration with top designer, Karim Rashid.”

The show’s dedication to highlighting the work of up-and-coming designers was merged with the issue of sustainability in the Young Creations Award: Upcycling. The competition displayed a range of innovative design solutions with sustainability in mind.

The overall winner of the competition was a lamp made from shower heads fitted with LED lights by Aachen-based designers Tobias Bast, Christina Jansen and Daniel Tsveikov. An old bathtub transformed into a desk by Sergius Kowalski, Julius Hüttner and Sophia Hälterlein and a seat constructed from woven tights by Lisa Weinfurtner and Sarah Lüthke were also on display.

This year’s Heimtextil combined the best of business with design innovation, securing its place as one of the leading textile and wallcovering trade fairs. Next year’s event is set to take place at Frankfurt am Main between 8-11th January.