A look at the future of textiles
The motto for this year’s theme park at the world’s largest trade fair for home and contract textiles was “The Future is urban”. The park offered five experience areas and four central lifestyle trends. While last year’s exhibition was somewhat disappointing with its stacks of panels of fabric and lack of information available, this year there was a noticeable breath of fresh air with a concept courtesy of British research and design studio FranklinTill.
Small home environments and studios were created in the different thematic areas that showed how living in the increasingly limited spaces of our ever busier urban environments can in fact be quite pleasant – multi-sensorial experiences included. This was certainly the case for the recreation rooms “Color Experience,” which was entirely in different reds and blues. Here, visitors were able to experience the effect being immersed in a color can have on your mood. And interactive elements were part of the parcel, too. A return to quality and the authenticity of proven crafting techniques were vividly explained: including the 1,000 year old Japanese dying technique Shibori, presented in the “Perfect Imperfection” section by Lola Lely and Bristol Weavers Mill, and the DIY creation of fashion eschewing the need for sewing, demonstrated in Dutch label Post Couture’s “Fab Lab”. The visibility of materiality and creative processes was also a topic in the trend section “Adapt and Assemble”: materials without frills and complex details – some of which will be produced using laser cutters and 3D printers – are to serve modern nomads as robust companions in their frequent changes of residence.
The return of the ficus
The “Green Workspace” presented an alternative to boring grey office areas: work stations with the ambience of a botanical garden. FranklinTill underlined the fact that our often condescending attitude toward “green” colleagues is fatal at several levels by referencing a current study conducted by psychologist Dr. Chris Knight of Exeter University and his international colleagues: Productivity in offices with plants is up to 15 percent higher than in those without.
Needless to say, the topic of sustainability did not come up short either: The exhibition space “Remade Materials” showcased theme park products created using recycling methods and natural materials. For example those by “Ananas Anam,” a company that makes alternative textiles using the fibers of pineapple leaves. Or the “Pinatex” brand, who provide a natural alternative to leather and plastics, which may be used in everything from shoe manufacture to furniture covers.
Small and beautiful oasis
According to the theme park, the topic of an “urban oasis” remains a hot one: and of course the feel of an oasis can also be brought into your own home with colors and fabrics rather than leafy friends. Last but not least, the “Micro Home” pavilion by Studiomama provided interior design solutions for living in the limited space of growing cities. The London-based label showed us how to get the maximum out of a minimal amount of living space by using it flexibly and brought us the multifunctional apartment spanning only 13 square meters. The “Soft Minimal” exhibition in the adjacent section presented a textile collage based on restrained pastel hues, helping the single inhabitant of the “Micro Home” avoid negatively influencing the atmosphere of their abode through an awkward choice of home textile colors. Instead, the fabrics presented here guaranteed visual freedom in spite of the confined space.