Everything to Everyone

Throughout the maze of exhibitors at Heimtextil in Frankfurt this past January, one saw nearly every trend in the home and contract textiles sector -even those that would seem to be competing with one another -given equal consideration. What seemed important was functionalism and clarity over decoration and capriciousness, with honest, well-produced products that place as much importance on texture as on appearance drawing the most attention. From a colour and design perspective, there was no single standout direction.

Yet one of the biggest factors clearly affecting the industry today is the globalization of the marketplace and the impact of merging ethnic and cultural influences. The results are contemporary sensibilities that embrace bold, spice-infused colours, intricate handcrafted quality, clean simple lines, and a distinctive Old World feel expressed in time, history and generations of craftsmanship. These multi-ethnic influences have empowered designers to use much more complex colour combinations. Colours that may not have seemed a logical pairing now often make complete sense when viewed in the context of ethnic diversity.

Ever present and with no signs of diminishing in popularity is the public’s love of nostalgia, particularly a longing for the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. This fondness for these distinctive decades brings a proclivity to mix rather than match in an integration of past and present that is a visual equivalent to a greatest hits CD.

Wallpaper designs reflect this juxtaposition of themes most clearly, embracing a wide spectrum of influences, from opulence and elegance to trendy and purist. Designers such as Luigi Colani and Ulf Moritz have embraced the virtues of wallpaper and are experimenting with its potential by adding, for example, Swarovski crystals in damask patterns or metal rivet appliqu.

While no longer novel, organic and ecofriendly constructions were certainly in the spotlight. Recycled or eco-friendly fibres like cotton, silk, wool, linen and hemp were prominently featured, as well as a growing use of non-toxic dyes and finishes.

Fabrics set the human tone in an interior, establishing an ambient statement through their tactile connection with its occupant, along with colour, pattern, motif, scale and application. That Heimtextil’s trend brokers prefer the myriad to the distinct just reinforces that interior designers and textile designers (possibly even more so than designers and manufacturers of furniture, fixtures and other interior elements) should have a close, constant and supportive relationship to ensure they get the best of each other.