Coming on strong/soft

The massive Heimtextil show presented an impressive panorama of home and contract textile design in Frankfurt this past January. 2,718 international exhibitors showed the latest pattern, material and technology trends that seemed to run the gamut from lively colours and shimmering lustre to subtle tones and Baroque inspirations. Overall, the trend to more colour was obvious with expressive tones, and a love of nature (particularly flowers and blossoms of every kind and size, from a scattering of tiny little flowers to big picturesque blossoms à la Andy Warhol) was seen across a wide array of products. Yet contrasting the burst of blooms at Heimtextil was a trend towards patterns with a contrasting dark background in anthracite, mocha or black, so you could have it both ways. Technology in many forms was also a dominant player, but often hidden from the eye. Fabrics and wallcoverings that actually help clean the air or kill germs are becoming more readily available, and of course the proliferation and progress of digital printing technology is opening up new design opportunities. 

1—Days of Future Past

Vatos is a fairly young Belgian brand aiming to make a splash in the world of wallcoverings. For example, its new Atomic collection contrasts shimmering matt or bright shiny colours against soft velvet backgrounds to elicit notions of some futuristic utopia that might have been imagined during the atomic age.

2—Barely there

The near-transparent fabrics of the Irisa Collection by Sahco Hesslein are a delicate interplay of light and shadow yet simultaneously reveal strong, expressive colours. The playful watercolour-like design created by countless flowers is printed onto a Trevira CS basic material using various techniques, such as high-speed digital printing, air lace and plissé designs to create the contrasts and generate a wonderful poetry at the same time.

3—Imminent invasion

Barcelona-based Desigual may not have any presence to speak of in Canada, but that will inevitably change. The fashion and home textile label is big in Europe right now, and is aggressively expanding across the globe. Beyond its extremely popular clothing lines, the firm is staking out a claim in the home textile world using the same focus on youth – tags like “Sex, Fun & Love” are everywhere – as seen in the For Everybody home collection.

4—Tag team champs

Global architecture behemoth Coop Himmel(b)lau and German textile mill Backhausen have teamed up to create a unique textile collection called Circles, and while the name is simple, the effect on furniture and other applications is decidedly not. With a choice of colours ranging from white to silver to black, the glittery effect is achieved with the use of a fine metallic yarn and lends a captivating 3D effect, referencing the curved outer surfaces on buildings designed by Coop Himmel(b)lau.

5—Down Under coming up

KAS is an Australian home-furnishings brand that is also not very well known in Canada – yet. But with a decidedly fresh home fashion sense focusing on applying bright, playful colours to lifestyle products including bed linens, cushions, throws, towels and more, that should change soon.

6—Hear no evil

The fabric-covered Rossoacoustic TP 30 room-partitioning system – by Nimbus Group GmbH  – is a coloured textile–based and acoustically effective space-structuring system, offering the necessary flexibility for concentrated or communicative working. It comes in both Knit and Wool versions. The low weight makes alteration of a space‘s layout easy.              


Textile giant JAB Anstoetz brought over 150 new lines of window coverings to Heimtextil, all under the new 2014 Hemisphere panel collection. The range is impressive, and at times confusing, but roughly breaks down into three groups –
Paper Art, Design and Colours. For example Boardwalk, in the latter group, borrows wooden panel motifs in soft grey tones to cast an elegant design.

8—When light impregnates fabric

From Swiss firm Création Baumann comes eLumino, a radiant new textile product with embroidered LED elements. Two curtain designs are currently available: Aves (a), a soft metallic, opaque weave, which can be sculptured and draped; and Sema (b), which dances freely in waves across the delicate and soft transparent voile. Both fabrics are available in white, an elegant grey and a deep warm brown tone.

9—More real than real

The clarity of digitally printed fabric and wallpaper patterns is getting more and more eye-popping, and companies like Architects Paper are pushing it as far as it will go. Following the success of AP Digital introduced two years ago, the German firm launched the next version, Digital II, focusing on high-definition (HD) photographs and coloured scanned images on cellulose-based non-woven wallpaper and solvent-free inks.

10—Lining the Enterprise

Someone over at T47 needs to hire an ad agency, because T47 Bioactive Textile Wallcoverings is not a very sexy name. But the product itself is scooping up scads of innovation awards for its ability to actively clean a room’s air quality through catalytic metal salts imbedded in the tissues. This super-science textile also has fire-resistance capabilities and even noise reduction. The only thing it can’t do is beam you up.