Heimtextil’s international emphasis is evident in its exhibitor and visitor numbers. The event hosted 2658 exhibitors from 62 countries, which were joined by approximately 66,000 visitors over the four days – 66% of which came from countries other than Germany. The most represented international visitor nations included Italy, China, Turkey, the UK, the USA, France, Spain, the Russian Federation and Poland.

With 80% of exhibitors and 94% of visitors claiming to have achieved their goals during the show, it is evident that the exhibition is a good platform for doing business.

Ricardo Lemos, member of the board of directors of Portuguese textile specialist, António de Almeida & Filhos, comments on the company’s success at the show as an exhibitor: “It has been outstandingly well received. True, we didn’t have more visitors at the stand, but the really important people, the decision makers, were there. That makes the show a more professional affair and we don’t waste time with inconsequential discussions.

“There was great interest from the USA in particular – representatives from the big chain stores were all there. As far as we are concerned, Heimtextil is the major trade fair, and we invest most in it. It gives us a platform on which to introduce our new products.”

Trading was not the only activity on the agenda – a range of informative seminars and inspirational displays provided a plethora of entertainment for visitors and exhibitors alike.

The first day of the seminar programme on the Let’s talk about... platform was dedicated to a specialist forum for buying and selling online. The Webchance seminar was aimed at the bricks-and-mortar retail trade, and featured an explanation of new opportunities in online trading, as well as reports from retailers regarding their own practical experience of the internet.

Design inspiration could be found in abundance within the show’s specially-created displays – the most spectacular of which was the Trend Forum. Designed and realised by  Stijlinstituut Amsterdam, the concept area highlighted four upcoming trends for 2013/14 – as decided by an international panel of design experts from this year’s Heimtextil Trendtable.

Each of the four trend personalities – The Eccentric, The Historian, The Geologist and The Inventor – reflect the complex lifestyles of contemporary consumers. Interpretations of The Eccentric,

The Historian and The Geologist were on display in the Be Inspired area, which highlighted how the trends could be used in a retail setting.

The Eccentric represents a collector of unique objects, and mixes flamboyance with a passion for the creative arts. Here, bold colours and references of the exotic were combined with more subtle touches to create an elegant and highly-decorative display.

The Historian represents an individual who strives to incorporate the luxury and heritage of the past with our modern, digital-centric lifestyles. The trend encompasses rich textures in pale, pearlescent hues with a slight metallic sheen alongside dark mysterious shades. This, alongside references to poetry and historical art, creates a feeling of comfort and opulence.

The Geologist represents preserver and explorer of the unknown and unexpected elements of nature. The trend highlights the link between nature and technology, personifying a consumer that – although a lover of nature – is intrigued by the role of urban life in the current ecosystem. Reflecting the dark, powerful and self-destructive side of nature, the trend embodies intense hues that sparkle with deep metallics and stone-like, irregular textures. See last month’s issue for examples of these trends.

The revamped Design Live area hosted a wide range of inspirations from new and emerging design studios. Over 180 international exhibitors displayed their colourful and creative designs, many of which were present at the show for the first time. Among the newcomers was UK-based Hewlett-Packard (HP), which highlighted its new printing techniques.

The show’s dedication to highlighting the work of up-and-coming designers was merged with the issue of sustainability in the Young Creations Award: Upcycling. The competition displayed a range of innovative design solutions with sustainability in mind.

The overall winner of the competition was a lamp made from shower heads fitted with LED lights by Aachen-based designers Tobias Bast, Christina Jansen and Daniel Tsveikov. An old bathtub transformed into a desk by Sergius Kowalski, Julius Hüttner and Sophia Hälterlein and a seat constructed from woven tights by Lisa Weinfurtner and Sarah Lüthke were also on display.

This year’s Heimtextil combined the best of business with design innovation, securing its place as one of the leading textile and wallcovering trade fairs. Next year’s event is set to take place at Frankfurt am Main between 8-11th January.