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Petting the rug-tiger: Jürgen Dahlmann knows his treasures. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Ground jewels
by Uta Abendroth
1/14/2014

At the Domotex fair in Hanover the focus is on ideas, experiments and novelties. There’s a broad range of highly diverse floor coverings on show, be they made of yarn or elastic fibers. The new “Innovations@Domotex” format attests to the organizers’ aspirations to explicitly foreground innovations. To which end the jury, chaired by designer Stefan Diez, selected the most exciting new products. “The manufacturers are producing very interesting and novel floor coverings, but sadly clients seldom get to know about them,” comments Stefan Diez. “Often only the tradesmen find out about the innovations.” Domotex, the leading international floor coverings fair, is an ideal opportunity to gain an overview of the state of things in the industry. This year, 1,350 exhibitors from 54 different countries presented carpets, wooden, laminated and vinyl floor coverings.

Floors to go

Cologne-based Objectflor, for example, presented “SimpLay Design Vinyl” – a range of tiles and boards made of individually, thermally bonded layers. The honeycomb structure on the back and the high net weight enable them to be laid without adhesives or clicking. The individual elements can easily be exchanged or simply re-used when moving, as the floor underneath suffers no damage at all. As regards the texture of this particular floor covering, clients can choose from between different types and colors of fine wooden or stone textures or a leather or beaded look.

Vinyl flooring can now also be slotted into place. Ziro from Kenzingen in South Germany, presents a design vinyl floor with a surface that seems to be textile and is simply placed on top of HDF with cork impact sound insulation. The product is also available as “Vinylan Tex Hydro”, boasting hydro-polymer panels for wet rooms.

Spanish manufacturer Floover World launched a kind of outdoor tile with an appearance hitherto reserved for wooden boards: The square wood-plastic composite (WPC) panels with a woven vinyl surface can be laid on any surface and are just as easy to remove and relay. Each module consists of four planks and is water-proof and UV-resilient.

Kings of recycling

For many manufacturers, recycling is very important, and the industry is thus forever developing new recycling methods for the various materials. Sweden’s Bergo Flooring, for example, makes light, hard-wearing plastic boards that consist 100 percent of old recycled fruit and vegetable crates. They’re suited for redesigning a tennis court or to protect a ship deck. The boards’ grid-like texture comes in various colors and finishes.

Belgium’s Papilio approaches ecology in a completely different way: It makes carpets from old bike tires and used car fan-belts. The rubber and plastic residues are not so supple and are tied together using hemp or jute string. Papilio also turns old leather belts and remnants of old leather shoes into carpeting, whereby these latter versions are only suitable for indoor use.

Wood and as-good-as-wood

In 2014, Kaindl, from Salzburg, Austria, is again focusing on optimizing laminate floor boards, using wooden boards and so-called “design flooring”. Laminate boards from Kaindl’s “Classic Touch” collection come in up to two meter lengths and boast a textured surface. Its “Magnum” boards run to 2.40 meters. Kaindl has made wood veneer boards for five years now, and the old-wood boards are really special, using wood from old barns, for example. The latter boards, and the company talks here of “wood with a story”, are 0.9 millimeters thick and is treated with lacquer or oil to protect it against dirt of “new” scuffing.

Austria’s Trapa likewise prefers natural wood and makes triply floor boards. The boards can be supplied in lengths of up to 12 meters and are ideal for rooms with underfloor heating. Trapa eschews colored stains for these wooden boards and instead changes the color nuances by using different lyes. The wood is treated by crystallizing natural oils, meaning it is difussible, doesn’t need sanding, and ages with just the right patina. A newcomer in the range this year is the “Parete” wall system boasting the same tones as the floor boards and ensuring a uniform design of wall and floor.

Parador from Coesfeld has long made a name for itself with it click-system flooring. The 2014 novelty: “ClickTex”. The basis consists of HDF boards onto which two different textiles, “Melange Velour” and “Non-Wovens”, are applied. The click-in carpet boards are available in 13 uni-colors and in two design patterns. Another of the maker’s innovations: the Design Edition masterminded by architect Hadi Teherani, who has come up with a modern take on the traditional laying patterns, such as fishbone, used for parquet and laminated floor.

The carpet as artwork

Carpets are morphing into artworks again. The handmade one-offs by Jan Kath are on display as if in a picture gallery. His “Riot” collection presents carpets with ostensibly organic shapes and soft undulations. Another artwork is Jürgen Dahlmann’s “Rug Star”, which again toys with radiant colors.
The carpets designed by Hamburg’s Hossein Rezvani are representative of modern work from Iran. The finest carpets boast in excess of 400,000 knots per square meter and are made of wool from the Persian highlands and/or silk. “I design the patterns at my PC in Hamburg,” says Hossein Rezvani, “but the designs actually materialize in Iran.” The carpet drawers scale the patterns up to the respective carpet size requested. A carpet of six square meters requires almost 14 weeks of knotting. “The carpet is becoming a fashion item again,” or so Hossein Rezvani is convinced. And he’s setting a trend with modern Persian kilims that are adorned by geometric lines instead of floral patterns.

Steffen Kehrle has shown that industrially made carpets can also be one-of-a-kinds, with his “industrial one-offs” for Dura. The Munich-based designer and the carpet makers in Hessen joined forces last year when Stefan Diez was given a carte blanche for the special “Flooring Deluxe” show and hat various designers and artists stage “Concept Rooms” for him. Back then, Steffen Kehrle studied the production routines at Dura, where each carpet is constantly in motion during the production process. Hundreds of rollers bear the tufted textile down the long path through the production plant to the dying facility. Kehrle intervened here, introducing unconventional measures into the production process. Using perforated rollers, fire-fighting hosepipes and spatulas he coated the carpets in a thick splatter of dye. The resultant splash and drip patterns gave each item the idiosyncratic charm of an Action painting.

English designer Sebastian Wrong was part of the “Concept Rooms” last year. For Denmark’s Fletco he printed patterns on carpet strips – an experiment that has now spawned a kind of carpet tile that can be printed in over 65,000 colors and is 60-percent recyclable material. Kehrle’s and Wrong’s efforts prove that experiments like “Flooring Deluxe” pay off for both the designers and the makers – and lend the Domotex fair a special charm of its own.

Petting the rug-tiger: Jürgen Dahlmann knows his treasures. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
The exhibition of "Innovations @ Domotex" was designed by Jürgen Mayer H.
Photo © Deutsche Messe
The exhibition of "Innovations @ Domotex" was designed by Jürgen Mayer H.
Photo © Deutsche Messe
Stefan Diez guides trough the trade fairs. Photo © Deutsche Messe
Stefan Diez guides trough the trade fairs. Photo © Deutsche Messe
"SimpLay Design Vinyl" Tiles by Objectflor. Photo © Mathias Dürr
"SimpLay Design Vinyl" Tiles by Objectflor. Photo © Mathias Dürr
Jürgen Mayer H at the "Innovations Talks". Photo © Deutsche Messe
Jürgen Mayer H at the "Innovations Talks". Photo © Deutsche Messe
Design-Vinyl Boden by Ziro. Photo © Mathias Dürr
Floover World presents a kind of "Outdoor-Tile". Photo © Mathias Dürr
Design-Vinyl Boden by Ziro. Photo © Mathias Dürr
Floover World presents a kind of "Outdoor-Tile". Photo © Mathias Dürr
Lots of colors offers Bergo Flooring. Photo © Mathias Dürr
Lots of colors offers Bergo Flooring. Photo © Mathias Dürr
Bergo Flooring uses recycled material. Photo © Mathias Dürr
A carpet of hemp and newspaper leftovers from Papilio. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark
Bergo Flooring uses recycled material. Photo © Mathias Dürr
A carpet of hemp and newspaper leftovers from Papilio. Photo © Martina Metzner, Stylepark

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