Last week we sped over to Frankfurt to take in the gargantuan Heimtextil fair, where over 2,600 exhibitors unveiled their latest fabrics and papers for every conceivable surface. Whether it was freelance designers showing new patterns ready to be put into production, big brands unveiling their latest collections, or contract houses revealing fabrics with new acoustic and olfactory benefits, there was plenty to inspire within the fair's epic 11 halls.
To bring a little focus to proceedings, show organisers, Messe Frankfurt, called in the trend gurus at The Future Laboratory to deliver their prophecies for 2011/12. Looking at signals in the worlds of art, fashion and design, they condensed these into four themes, summed up by their names: sobriety, wilderness, mix mash and utility. While perhaps already quite familiar ideas, the team certainly produced a beautiful edit of fabrics from exhibitors at the fair, many exploring new technologies. These were presented in four imaginatively conceived pavilions.
Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's biggest trade fair organisers and Heimtextil is one of its stalwarts, now in its 41st year. The first trade show of the year, it provides some indications about the shape of the industry over the next 12 months, and, with a growth in exhibitors and visitors on last year, it bodes well for 2011. All in all, the future is looking good.