From wallpaper covered with thousands of colorful peacock feathers to wallcoverings embellished with Swarvoski crystals, the latest designs and innovations in interior and textiles were unveiled at the 44th annual Heimtextil, the largest international trade fair for home and contract textiles in the world.
The trade fair, which is known for launching upcoming trends for the industry, takes place every January at Messe Frankfurt in Germany. This year, Heimtextil attracted 2,718 exhibitors from 61 countries and was attended by more than 67,000 visitors from 133 countries.
“The quality and spectrum of products underscore the unique position of Heimtextil as the world’s leading trade fair for home and contract textiles,” says Detlef Braun of the Executive Board at Messe Frankfurt.
It was clear at the fair that consumers are willing to invest as much in their walls as they do with their furnishings as high-grade, elaborate wallcoverings are growing in demand.
Stunning sculpted wallcoverings were showcased by two leading wallcovering companies, Belgium’s Arte and Elitis, based in France. These three-dimensional wall coverings offer the added benefit of acoustic qualities.
ATT Rotex, a Taipei, Taiwan-based manufacturer of wallcoverings featured one of the most expensive ever made. Its peacock wallpaper is covered with tiny feathers found on the back of the neck of the exotic bird. This wallpaper, which costs $11,000 per linear meter, is painstakingly made by hand. Feathers, which vary in size and color, are cut off the birds by hand before being applied to the paper one-by-one, a process that takes one worker one month to produce a linear meter of the impressive wallcovering. This Taiwan-based company has 2,500 employees and 150,000 peacocks on its farm, so large orders are easily filled.
Another trend seen at Heimtextil was wallpaper embellished with crystals. ATT Rotex features Swarvoski crystals in its hand-made wallpaper, which costs $150 to $2,000 per roll. Its wallpapers are distributed by F. Schumacher & Co. in New York and Los Angeles, Ca.-based Astek Wallcovering.
Wallcoverings featuring art and photography is another emerging trend seen at Heimtextil.
For example, the “Gallery” wallpaper designed by Andrew Martin , features classical artworks printed over three rolls of construction print wallpaper to give maximum repeat variation. The paper, which is manufactured by Anstey Wallpaper Company, is available in four different colorways including red (seen here), charcoal, neutral and taupe and works well on walls, stairs, landings and hallways.
Several companies, including Italy’s Smart Deco, are offering giant wall stickers and photo wallpaper murals featuring beautiful landscapes such as Venice, Italy. Some of the companies in this space also allow the customer the opportunity to select one of their own images for a mural.
Playful wallcoverings were also featured at the fair, including the Marvel Comic Book Wallpaper made by Graham & Brown.
The British family-owned and operated wallpaper, paint and wall art manufacturer also showcased its “Mickey Vintage” wallcovering which features vintage illustrations from Mickey Mouse comic strips.
Heimtextil is known for introducing new technology, high-tech materials and manufacturing processes. “We show the brands how they can expand their businesses in terms of new technologies and in terms of individuality for customers,” says Thimo Schwenzfeier, Director of Marketing Communications Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. “It is so important for the designers to know which colors, materials and the different ways to work with textiles.”
The latest innovations in digital textiles and digital printing were exhibited at the fair, including the impressive technology developed by Hewlett Packard’s Wall Art Solutions. Hewlett Packard showcased its partnership with Markus Benesch, the world-renowned industrial and innovative interior designer, whose firm, Curious Boy, uses HP’s high tech Latex printing technology to create its line of luxury wallcoverings. The technology is on the forefront as it offers designers the ability to more easily create customized pieces as well as non-repeat patterns, while having more control over color and textures.
New technology makes it possible to digitally print a design on cloth without the design ever repeating. Colorful examples of digitally printed textiles were also featured at Heimtextil.
Another innovative process seen at Heimtextil was the “Engineer Nature” exhibit which displayed how living organisms are used to manufacturer textiles. In this regard, wholly biological living fabrics are made with cellulose bacteria, microorganisms and living membranes. Remarkably, bacterial cellulose is grown into three-dimensional shapes with stiffness, texture and color effectively programmed to create textiles that are completely biodegradable. The advantage of these fabrics is that they are more sustainable than those produced by current manufacturing processes.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge