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Everything is allowed: as like as mixed as the visitors, one of the trendboxes at the “Theme Park” plays joyful with patterns. Foto © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark
Fair for the senses
by Martina Metzner
1/20/2015

En route to the Heimtextil on the subway I find myself sitting opposite a young brunette with a ponytail, her gaze averted. In one hand she holds a white stick; she’s blind. So what would she notice, perceive, take home with her, if she went to a trade fair like the Heimtextil? The colors, the patterns, it would all be beyond her wouldn’t it? Although she doubtless was not thinking of the blind when devising her installation, trend researcher Anne Marie Commandeur of Amsterdam’s Stijlinstituut has come up with a design for the “Theme Park” for the new Heimtextil that would enable the blind to get a lot out of the world of home textiles. The trend zone no longer awaits visitors in the Forum, but directly in Hall 4.0 – and has you playfully wander from one stop to the next, with all the stops arranged in a circle.

In short, it’s a bit like being in a fantasyland for adults: Hardly are you through the entrance than you encounter mountains of gold paper while chiffon fabrics waft mysteriously from the ceiling. There are surprises in store wherever you look, things destined to send your senses reeling, which is no great surprise as the trend researcher comes from the Netherlands, a country that is home to quite a few exalted designers, not to mention the Design Academy Eindhoven, which is perhaps the most unconventional design college in Europe. And Ms. Commandeur eagerly invited students from Eindhoven to participate. The new talents present their latest developments in the field of “Smart Textiles”, i.e. fabrics replete with technology and electronics, networked textiles that for example vibrate when you stroke them. In the lab created by artist Bart Hesse (yes, the installation was already on display at last year’s Milan furniture week in Atelier Clerici) visitors can apply burls to rubber skins and thus help dream up futurist haute couture. At another stop, visitors can immerse themselves in virtual realities and using 3D Oculus Rift glasses wander round seeing interior designs of tomorrow.

The opposite end of the spectrum are the soft stations, such as the wellness oasis with the fragrant salt crystals in which you can dip your feet, or the bedroom, as billowy as cottonwool with all manner of marvelously textured fluffy fabrics made from natural materials. Young textile designer Diene Dekker is likewise firmly committed to all things leisurely that appeal to the senses; she traveled to from Rotterdam to Frankfurt with her loom and set up a small studio, including a bed, not that she sleeps on it, as she explains. A graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven, she weaves unusual materials, such as plastic barrier tapes, prints textiles by hand such that the product resembles abstract, mechanical weaving patterns, or takes paper ribbons and braids them to create masks or fabled creatures.

“But what can you use it for?” the one or other visitor asks. They are simply ideas, beginnings, just as is the “Theme Park” itself – which of course also has the obligatory textile samples that hang in a circle from the ceiling. Things are rounded out by the fact that the lectures (from anything from color trends to architectural themes) are held in a specially designed room with a flight of seats of its own and which forms an integral part of the “Theme Park” – instead of in some boring conference room as in the past. Another first that teases the emotions. Which is exactly what Anne Marie Commandeur sets out to achieve with her installation “Experience”.

„Tactile Dialogues”, a cushion with vibration elements, serving for demented patients - a work by Martijn ten Bhömer and Borre Akkersdijk, Design Academy Eindhoven. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
The future of interior design – with the help of digital projections. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Fashion out of the 3D printer? According to the students of design Academy Eindhoven, yes! Photo © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark
What should mean this golden heap? Maybe, that the future of home textiles is shiny? Definitely it stimulates our synapses… Photo © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark
At the laboratory by artist Bart Hess visitors could make haute couture made of rubber. Photo © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark
Young textile designer Diene Dekkers from Rotterdam weaves plastic ribbons. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
For a little break: a well-designed lollipop. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Sensual explosion: caused by noises this paper lamp blows up like a jellyfish.
Photo © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark
Soft, softer, Heimtextil: natural materials, bright colors and structures make an easy relax.
Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
All stations within the „Theme Park“ have a round shape. Photo © Barbara Wildung, Stylepark