Heimtextil, the leading and largest trade fair specialising in home furnishing and contract textiles, will once again open its doors in Frankfurt am Main for four days from 14 to 17 January 2015. Around 70,000 trade visitors, including many architects and interior designers, will take advantage of the early date in the year to put themselves in the picture as regards product innovations and trends for the coming season. One especially exciting feature is sure to be the newly installed Theme Park in Hall 4.0. It picks up on the intentions of the previous trend show and now continues it as an event highlight in the heart of the exhibition site. Here, everything revolves around topics of design and the future, around concepts and visions.

Every planner wants – even needs – to know which way the wind is blowing, especially in such a diverse area as home furnishings and contract textiles. The range of goods offered by nearly 2,800 exhibitors, spread over eight halls, therefore extends from the application fields of sunscreen, window, wall, floor and upholstery to bed, bath and table textiles. The international trade fair overlooks no category. Regarding the fair’s programme, Olaf Schmidt, vice-president of textiles and textile technologies, gets to the heart of it when he states: ‘With Heimtextil 2015, we are required to offer the international industry not only a comprehensive range of products, but, first and foremost, to give them the earliest possible vision of upcoming topics and trends. And I’m sure that we’ll satisfy this requirement. Its huge popularity with exhibitors and, above all, a newly devised and elaborately designed trend area underline this.’

Consequently, the fair has expanded the exhibition area, and visitors will benefit from the return of renowned companies and many first-time exhibitors. Level 4.0 is one of the areas that have currently been added to the fair. The spearheads of innovation and diverse future issues will make this exhibition level a meeting place and centre of attraction – not only for architects. One important topic that is gaining in importance is, among others, digital printing. Its applications now range from wall coverings with a unique character for interiors to bedding. The mere presence at the trade fair of companies such as Reggiani, Epson and Hewlett Packard is proof of the huge potential of this technology. Conversely, the European Digital Textile Conference, held for the second time in cooperation with the World Textile Information Network, proves that Heimtextil offers the perfect setting for global issues.

The topic of trends – in all its aspects – is at the core of debate and discussion in Hall 4.0. For years, Heimtextil’s trend show has been regarded as a groundbreaking pool of information for all industry members. This ‘institution’ has undergone a major revision, one that is in keeping with its significance, and the fresh and vital version now goes under the name of Theme Park. It has a completely new presence that consists of the presentation and staging of relevant topics for the future. Different focuses help visitors find their way around the fair. A Material Gallery with selected products offers an overview of home textile trends, also with regard to material technical aspects. The Colour Pavilion revolves around the latest colour trends, and various areas examine in detail aspects such as hospitality, sustainability or retail in a very clear and competent manner. Seminars are held in the Conference Space, and the remarks by renowned speakers are sure to stimulate a lively exchange of ideas with colleagues in the Community Area.

Where do trends come from? Do they suddenly arrive from nowhere? Can we anticipate them? Do we have to conjure them up or are we continually pursuing them? Reputable trend research and analysis, which have been the focus of Heimtextil since 1991, are costly ways of increasing customer and visitor benefits. It is not by chance that the exhibition is recognised internationally as a trend barometer, setting the benchmarks for quality fabrics with a sophisticated design and innovative functionality. The findings extracted by a panel of experts reflect the most important general trends and thus provide particularly creative teams, fitters, designers and architects with valuable and reliable guidance. Those findings are also the basis for the visionary productions of each trend area. Even in advance of the Theme Park that is now making its debut, there was this established and so-called Trend Table. Six authoritative international design agencies have formulated statements for Heimtextil trends for 2015/2016 under the watchword of ‘experience’.

Under the direction of the Stijlinstituut Amsterdam – that is to say, under the leadership of Anne Marie Commandeur – predictions for textile interior design for the coming season have not only been implemented and visualised in the Theme Park, but also summarised in the new Heimtextil Trend Book. This superbly designed and useful guide now comes, for the very first time, with interactive print links, which people can use to access additional digital information via their smartphone or tablet.

‘Experience’ stands for sensorial experience, the experience of the senses, and Anne Marie Commandeur emphasised this point ahead of the show when she spoke of textiles as ‘the perfect vehicle for stimulating, sensory and interactive experiences’ and made people curious about the Theme Park’s spectacular projects, which can be experienced with all one’s senses.

The trend experts have developed four design fields for Heimtextil 2015: Memory, Mixology, Discovery and Sensory. Memory stands for reflection and re-evaluation. It is about the pursuit of a simpler, purer and ethically correct lifestyle – away from consumerism and towards a favourite item. Textiles are becoming honest and helpful. Designers are combining craft and tradition with a flair for vibrant modernity. Mixology celebrates cultural fusion, in which different identities are played around with. Patterns, prints and colours collide. Opposites meet: ethnic design and 3D rave designs; the digital and the organic; futuristic and retro design.

Discovery reaches for the unknown. Outer space beckons. Designers are inspired as much by the look and feel of meteorites and lunar rocks with their dark solidity as they are by the deep black of the cosmos and the sparkling spots of starlight. Sensory combines science and design. It is all about smart textiles that have built-in responsive technologies. Super-sensory materials draw on the huge variety of tactile effects. Fabrics with smooth, lacquer-like surfaces are used together with those with a soft roughness to them to form a harmonious contrast.

The concept of the Theme Park goes even further. It has Trend Spots on different topics in various halls. For example, there will be a presentation on the subject of 'walls’ in Hall 3.1. In Hall 5.1, the topic of the Trend Spot will be ‘sun protection’, and in Hall 11.1, everything will revolve around trend-relevant questions concerning retail. These ‘showcases’ are intended to expand on any new ideas raised at the Theme Park and to inspire visitors by suggesting specific examples of how to implement them.

Besides giving visitors a vision of the immediate future, the presentations of the latest products for the interior design of hotels are essential for interior designers and architects. This area forms a very natural focus of the fair. Contract Creations will provide a venue for major international exhibitors, while also offering this specialized target group a sophisticated social programme – including lectures, competitions and special shows. A visit to Heimtextil is, therefore, not only a must, but primarily also a huge benefit for anyone working in the creative professions.