„Well-Being 4.0“ is the motto of the „Theme Park“ – trend forum at Heimtextil created by WGSN. Photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Fabric as therapy
by Martina Metzner
Jan 15, 2016

“Well-Being 4.0” is the motto of this year’s Heimtextil, which runs from January 12-16 in the halls of the Messe Frankfurt trade-fair grounds. “It hardly seems possible to be offline today. All the more reason for the need for well-being and wellness, linked with the strong wish for a home that gives us calm and inner harmony,” comments Olaf Schmidt, Vice-President Textiles and Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt when explaining the label. Thus, the Heimtextil “sets out today to give us a clear image of future living spaces and a new lifestyle, on designing ‘Well-Being 4.0’”. It’s a well-known fact that upholstery fabrics, curtains, bed linen, and carpets in your own four walls play a not inconsiderable role in boosting your well-being. So what does the term “Well-Being 4.0” mean in the textiles context?

Chilling out in the theme park

The “Theme Park” trend show at the Heimtextil is intended to give you answers to this question. Seven international trend agencies helped design it. The project was lead managed this year by WGSN, which is reputed to be one of the leading trend research agencies and advises clients such as Adidas, L’Oreal, Vitra and VW. WGSN has placed five pavilions made of wooden slats that resemble igloos in the middle of Hall 6.0. Each pavilion is dedicated to one lifestyle world, and they thus bear names such as “Retail”, “Hospitality”, “Technology”, “Craft” and “Sustainability”. In these trend-igloos visitors can view fabric specimens, colors and furnishings for coming seasons. In the “Hospitality” pavilion, almost-warm, moist towels await you, a bare-foot man meditates, and soft in part transparent net curtains hang round a pond. In “Technology” a cocooning settee is meant to help you switch off fast in the middle of the trade-fair, with colors fine-tuned for you and meditative music. “The idea was to make the Theme Park more intuitive,” explains Lisa White, Creative Director for Lifestyle and Interiors at WGSN. “With the pavilions we are trying to create a system of planets and you can immerse all your senses in those worlds and switch off.”

Compared to the Heimtextil 2015 “Theme Park”, this year’s has returned to the traditional concept of a trend forum: Little interaction and media shows, more focus on textiles themselves and the grater picture or context that visualizes the trends without taxing visitors too much. This year’s “Theme Park” is successful here, especially as regards trade visitors. However it is not very exciting, which may be one of the goals given the title “Well-Being 4.0”.

In the mood for fabric

The Moodboards groups around the pavilions present four themed worlds using textile specimens: “Protect”, “Energise”, “Nourish” and “Enrich”. “Protect”, for example, stands for switching off and being offline, something to be driven by a clean aesthetic, white and grey nuances, and fluffy and soft textures and surfaces. “Energise”, by contrast, is meant to zap you into life with brash colors, artificial materials and gleaming surfaces. The style of “Nourish” combines the ubiquitous notion of sustainability with all manner of green and natural fibers. The real kicker comes at the end: “Enrich”. Dark colors such as ocean blue, earthy brown, bright red and black as well as a metallic gleam with gold and silver – they all spell opulence.

So much for the trend agencies’ theories. So what accents do the leading European home textile makers show as regards curtains, wallpapers, upholstery fabrics and bed linen? And what’s the sector’s sentiment like? Initial answers are to be found at a booth with an out-size red cushion: Founded in 2014, the Initiative Textile Räume (ITR), which brings together over 50 leading manufacturers such as Création Baumann, Christian Fischbacher, Drapilux, Jab Anstoetz, Nya Nordiksa, Rasch, Sahco, Tisca Tiara and Zimmer + Rohde, seeks to highlight its new “Gib dir Stoff” campaign here. Dominik Rölli, Vice President Sales and Marketing at Création Baumann, chairs ITR: “Fabrics in rooms have in recent years had a tough time of it given the sleek aesthetic. We want to deploy communicative measures to make end consumers aware of the benefits of textiles in rooms and make sure they are enthusiastic.”

Let it crease!

However, the makers have got used to dwindling interest in home textiles in their traditional markets, and are ready for the challenge. Thus many are focusing increasingly on clients in Russia, the USA or the Middle East, where home textiles are still greatly appreciated. However, some seek to kindle new desires in their domestic markets, such as Martin Buhmann, former MD of Marburger Tapetenfabrik and still active in the trade. Precisely the topic of “texture” on walls is a key trend for makers, as smooth wallpapers hardly have a chance any longer given the tendency to simply render and paint walls or rely on a woven. While Marburger Tapetenfabrik has re-issued its “Crush” wallpaper, where a special process ensures there are lots of folds, Arte Tapeten opts for small rubber burls, banana peel weaves or textiles that give the walls a haptic texture. Arte, while also produces for high-end retailers such as Louis Vuitton or Gucci, therefore eschews the term wallpaper in favor of wall cladding. Another new star here are wall panels, such as those by Belgian maker NMC, which has expanded its collection to include models called “Square” (hand-sized 3D squares) and “Stripe” (angled, horizontal blinds with an LED option). The polyurethane panels are easy to fit and can be painted at will. Precisely hotels and retailed really like this decorative touch, NMC narrates. The new pleated window net curtains that Jab Anstoetz presents are very 3D and architectural in appearance: “Maze” and “Silk Architella”. Specifically the honeycomb-like “Maze” will probably get the architects raving, as it not only provides sunlight protection in windows but can also be used as a wall screen for up to three meters.

Head for the coast or in the theater

As regards curtain fabrics, elaborate textures are also the rage, as Turkish makers Difference Marteks explains: they supply textile publishers such as Jab Anstoetz, Kinnasand or Nya Nordiska. Everything that looks like it hasn’t been ironed and has just popped out of the washing machine seems high-end, they say. And natural fibers in new combinations play a great role, too, linen with Lurex, for example. Nature as the measure of all things: At Zimmer + Rohde MD Andreas Zimmer loves how natural and soft artificial yarns now seem. And at Drapilux you can see how attractive hardly inflammable contract textiles can be – with a bicolor woven using CS. By contrast, at Christian Fischbacher “ECO FR” is on show: a fireproof contract textile boasting a linen, viscose and cotton mixture that remains heatproof at up to 1,000°C.

Gleam and glory

Above all two themes are constantly to found at the fair booths: “Nature”, which covers just about everything combining natural materials and colors with the greatest of nuances of gray or sonorous blues reminiscent of Nordic coasts. Or “Opulence”, which covers arrangements of gold and silver, enriched with dark hues, in particular a mix of black and mustard yellow. As regards the trends, the agencies didn’t dash out that far in front, as the manufacturers’ themes are definitely fairly in line with the pavilions in the “Theme Park”. And whoever so likes will feel good at home with such textiles, and doesn’t even have to shell out on an interior decoration consultant. Maybe that’s what “Well Being 4.0” is?

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Neon colors, artificial materials, shining surfaces: trend „Energise“. Photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Glamour is one of the most obvious trends. Foto © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
Five worlds of lifestyle were shown at the pavilions: “Hospitality“, “Retail“, “Technology“, “Sustainability“ and “Craft“. Photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
At „Mycoocoon“ sofa you get an individual colour therapy. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Initiative Textile Räume (ITR) starts a campaign for home textiles. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Marburger Tapetenfabrik has relaunched the wall covering „Crush“.
Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
The wall panels „Stripe“ by NMC are available also with LED. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
New object textile from Drapilux – made of Trevira CS. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
First price at the “Young creations Award: Upcycling“: Bowl made of waste yarns by Katrin Krupka, Fachhochschule Potsdam. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Fire resistant object textile made from natural yarns: innovation „ECO FR“ by Christian Fischbacher. Photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark
„Maze“ can be used as sun protection as well as a paravent. Photo © Robert Volhard, Stylepark