Between art and technology
It’s likely that no other trade show in Germany is quite as international as DOMOTEX – 90 percent of the exhibitors and two thirds of the visitors flock to Hanover from abroad. Nor are any other exhibitions quite so out of the ordinary – in various regards.
The world’s leading fair for carpets and floor coverings is also a must for anybody who is interested in these topics either privately or professionally, as here you can enjoy viewing the latest trends such as innovative products or advanced laying technologies. Exhibition Halls 11 and 12 included not only the industry’s major international players displaying their product ranges but also small workshops producing top-quality bespoke parquet. In Hall 13, meanwhile, there was a lot of bolting, drilling and plugging going on accompanied by plenty of shop talk, since this was the venue where the tool manufacturers, producers of floor varnishes and waxes, and specialists for underlay materials and assembly solutions all had their booths. It was also here that “Treffpunkt Handwerk”, a “meeting place for tradespeople”, set up camp, with expert presentations on the topic of flooring staged throughout the exhibition.
And then there is the other, exotic, oriental DOMOTEX. This is where visitors delve into the fascinating world of woven carpets. Sometimes, among the huge stacks you might come across valuable carpets similar to those you might find at a bazaar somewhere along the Silk Road or at a Venetian trading post to which sailing ships have brought their precious cargo. Almost no other fair in Germany offers this kind of experience. Some of the major carpet trading companies constructed magnificent stands with elaborate gold decoration and columns fully reminiscent of the glittering petro-states on the Persian Gulf. Whereas in the hall for the Indian carpet producers the functionality of the simple exhibition stands made of aluminum profiles contrasted with the rich ornamentation of the carpets. The traders made themselves at home among their goods and you couldn’t help but get the impression that they transported not only their carpets but also the atmosphere of their homes to the exhibition hall.
The fascination of the craftsmanship involved in carpet weaving was conveyed quite particularly this year in the special show “The 4 Seasons” by carpet designer Lila Valadan in Hall 3. Her work demonstrates that the centuries-old cultural technique can irrefutably produce contemporary works without compromised the tradition’s roots. Valadan, which works closely with nomadic weaving families in Iran, manages to bridge the divide here and succeeds in bringing the notion of traditional Islamic ornamentation fully up to date and, at the same time, applying the objective and figurative motifs likewise characteristic of Persian art while neither distorting them nor rendering them kitsch.
The link between the two worlds of DOMOTEX was embodied in the Trendspace, which occupied Hall 8 for the first time in 2020. At first glance, not a lot seems to have changed here: The section still included stage-like booths in the center of the special exhibition area with striking, lilac-colored frames, all dedicated to presenting so-called Framing Trends. Anyone looking more closely, however, swiftly discerned that the concept of the Trendspace has been overhauled entirely. New are the so-called “Contract Frames” – four fully installed themed spaces designed to bring to life the motto of the Trendspace 2020, namely “Atmysphere”. The name “Atmysphere” was coined from the “megatrend of health and wellbeing”, which DOMOTEX aimed to highlight here with the help of the “Contract Frames” and their various formats. These included a hotel room, where the impact of the material is paramount, while a living space highlighted particularly environmentally friendly and health-boosting products and technologies. In the yoga room everything likewise revolves around a healthy and relaxing environment, while the conference room focuses on applications for the workplace – from acoustic solutions to the upholstered seating. Finally, the large patio, which combines the four themed areas, shows contemporary solutions for outdoor flooring. The exhibition organizers developed all the different areas with help from partners, who have found an ideal stage for their products and solutions here. At the same time, the exhibition with the “Contract Frames” gives industry visitors, be they retailers, tradespeople or architects, practice-oriented examples providing motivation and inspiration.
A truly impressive insight into the possibilities of textile materials was to be found at the booth presenting the efforts of the textile and surface design course at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin. The Academy was among the ideas exhibitors showcasing their work in the Trendspace as part of the “Nu Thinkers” segment, with students presenting a number of exciting applications they had developed under the supervision of Christiane Sauer, Professor of Material and Design, in the interiors context. These included a paper screen that collapses when moistened and elastic tissue that gains its particular qualities purely through mechanical processing of wool threads and entirely without the use of artificial fibers.
In the year 2020 DOMOTEX also placed particular emphasis on contemporary art. Hence MODICA from Munich created a floor mosaic in the center of hall 8 that was made entirely of gravel and small stones, the three-dimensionality and amorphous forms of which challenged habitual perceptions and demonstrated the artists’ unique approach to craftsmanship. Here, the two force fields of art and technology, the twin poles between which Domotex comes to life, are brought together in a way that is unexpected, contemporary and self-evident all at the same time.