From 12-15th January the very latest designs and technical developments within the home and contract textiles industry were united under one roof at Heimtextil in Frankfurt.

Heimtextil has long been favoured worldwide for its breadth of visitors, multifaceted product offering, and ambitious approach to trend forecasting – all elements the show upheld in this year’s edition.

With a rise in trade visitors – over 69,000 compared to 67,861 in 2015 – and in exhibitors – 2,866 from last year’s figure of 2,723, the show represented a thriving microcosm of the global textile industry.

Particular growth was seen in visitors from Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Japan and South Korea while, on the exhibitor front, there was an increased international presence, notably from Brazil and the USA.

In terms of product segments, decor and upholstery materials were given an expanded presence with the addition of a new level in Hall 4, predominantly featuring high-quality Italian exhibitors.

The growth of textile digital printing, too, was easy to observe at the show. The abundance of striking, often intricate, floral designs and eye-catching sheer fabrics within the halls evidenced the waves being made by this remarkable technology.

With market leaders such as Epson, Hewlett Packard, Kornit, Mimaki and Zimmer, enjoying a more substantial presence at Heimtextil it would seem this fast-growing segment will enjoy a more fixed position in future shows.

Another key draw to Heimtextil is the show’s Theme Park concept – a creative exhibition of colour and material trend predictions for 2016/17. Heimtextil’s trendtable for this year was headed by well-respected US trend analyst, WGSN Group, which assembled a number of interesting exhibitions and seminars centred around the theme of Well-being 4.0.

Named after industry 4.0 –  a term describing the fourth industrial revolution, and namely the idea of embracing contemporary automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies – the exhibition artfully forged links between nature and technology.

Four themes – Protect, Energise Nourish and Enrich – resonated with the busy lives many lead today, suggesting a balance between unplugging from our surroundings and how, in fact, we might use technology to improve our sense of wellbeing.

‘Protect’ was embodied by soft surfaces and clean, understated forms. The notion of cocooning, literally and figuratively, was explored to interesting effect, tapping into the idea of a silent, calming retreat.

‘Energise’ references our interaction with technology, and the blurring of the online and offline worlds. Expressed through a vivid colour spectrum, from weak to lurid colour contrasts, intense fluorescent shades, and electric blue tones, this theme captures the diverse and exciting potential of textile design.

‘Nourish’, meanwhile, really focussed in on our relationship with the natural world, featuring an earthy, natural palette of greens, dark browns and greys. The emphasis here was not just on the materials used, but on how they are made, and the craftsmanship involved.

Sophisticated upcycling, innovative dyeing processes and the use of organic fibres were all explored.

Finally, ‘Enrich’ reflected a quest for opulence, awash with oriental plums, shimmering golds, reds, brass and gun metal gray.

The inspiration and direction Heimtextil provides for industry professionals is key to its status as, arguably, the pre-eminent furnishing textile event.

Offering an invaluable platform for global brands – both established and up-and-coming – and an important resource for scores of visitors from across the world, it will be interesting to see how the show develops and expands over the coming years.
The next edition of Heimtextil will take place from 10-13 January 2017 in Frankfurt am Main.