Sonia Wedell-Castellano has been Global Director of Domotex since 2018.

Stylepark Domotex
Everything is connected

Sonia Wedell-Castellano is the new Director of Domotex, the world’s leading trade fair for flooring. Fabian Peters talked to her about future plans for the fair and Domotex 2019, taking place in January.

Fabian Peters: You recently took over the role of Global Director of Domotex. What is your vision for the fair?

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: I would like to bring Domotex back “en vogue”. Of course there are now lots of trade fairs at which flooring plays a role among many other themes, but Domotex is the only one that is oriented especially towards the area of flooring – and has been for more than 30 years. My aim is that in future Domotex will once again be the stage for all global players in the market – in all areas of the spectrum, whether it’s hand-woven or machine-woven rugs, elastic floor coverings or parquet. The same applies for the manufacturers of machines and tools required in the trade. Domotex should be perceived as a hotspot, as a meeting point for trade, for architects, for designers and for the tradespeople who lay flooring. 

In 2018 Domotex presented its new concept. How’s the progression looking now? 

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: For Domotex 2019 we haven’t turned everything upside down, but rather fine-tuned and supplemented our changed concept in certain regards. Hence in 2019 the “Treffpunkt Handwerk” skilled trades meeting point in hall 13 will offer a special promotional space with live demonstrations, where new laying and adhesion techniques can be presented, for example. Tradespeople are welcome to have a go themselves and just try these things out. I think that will be really exciting.

That’s an important point: Domotex is a trade fair that aims to address tradespeople or interior fitters as much as architects and interior designers. How do you create this balancing act?

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: It’s not that easy in fact. We have to provide attractive offerings perfectly tailored to these target groups and thus stand out from our competitors. That means that in our visitor marketing we don’t address everyone in a uniform manner, but rather we try to appeal to tradespeople differently from the way we speak to dealers or architects. And often you need to focus on having few, but very good formats. One example is the special exhibition area in “Framing Trends,” which are designed to be as attractive to architects and interior designers as they are to dealers and tradespeople, even though each target group is viewing them from a different angle. Hence even the online information for the different target groups of Domotex is prepared differently.

The artist Vanessa Barragão creates carpet art inspired by coral reefs - a highlight of the "Framing Trends" at Domotex 2019.

What can one expect, for example, from the communication concept for architects and interior designers?

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: To appeal to architects, for example, we have managed to bring on board Ester Bruzkus from Berlin as a trend scout. Her projects are currently causing quite a stir, and she will be blogging both in advance of and at Domotex on the trade fair’s website. She is also taking part in the program of presentations at the trade show, our Talks, where she will be reporting on the topic of connectedness at the interfaces between architecture, interior design, and product design.Star designer Sebastian Herkner and other internationally renowned speakers will be taking part here, too.

The so-called “Framing Trends,” in which manufacturers and creatives interpret the trade show’s motto on stages, was a huge success at Domotex 2018. What can visitors expect from this area in 2019?

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: In 2019 everything will revolve around the megatrend of connectivity. The overriding theme is “Create‘N’Connect”. Human beings are always trying to link up with others, and the floor on which we stand connects us to one another. The project by Portuguese artist Vanessa Barragão appealed to me in particular: She is showing hand-woven rugs for floors and walls made from the waste products of the textile industry. Here, the sea serves as her source of inspiration for three-dimensional coral reefs, which she produces using techniques such as crochet, macramé, or knitting. This and other exciting and, most significantly, inspiring projects, which present flooring in very creative ways, await visitors in the Framing Trends areas in January.

The major eye catcher of the 2018 show was a giant kaleidoscope. What can we expect in 2019?

Sonia Wedell-Castellano: In 2019 we have the “Creativity Wheel”: Visitors can climb into a giant wheel decorated with colored panes of glass and surrounding floor coverings from Carpet Concept. When visitors set the wheel in motion by walking within it, fantastic light effects are created, which are reflected on the floor and in the space – bringing us back to the theme of connectivity once again. The wheel connects light and material in one unique visitor experience.