Fashion underfoot: trends and highlights of the upcoming Domotex 2015

At Domotex 2015, which runs from 17 to 20 January in Hannover, Germany, visitors are literally going to be floored (pun intended) by fresh flooring designs of every description. True to form as the leading trade show for carpets and floor coverings, Domotex will reveal the underlying magic of appealing interiors by showcasing the best in resilient and textile floor coverings, parquet and laminate flooring, woven, knotted and tufted carpets, flooring installation systems and everything in between. Eye-catching innovations perfect for enhancing interiors from the ground up await visitors in each and every section of the show.

Modern hand-made carpets are always a major attraction at the show, and 2015 will be no exception. Veritable textile storytellers, they use the full repertoire of optical and haptic stylistic devices to captivate and enthrall their users. A case in point at the upcoming Domotex is Paulig's Century Art design, a kind of layer-upon-layer collage of a wall in which hints of motifs appear to peep out from beneath old wallpaper. Jan Kath's creations offer a variation on the wall theme, with carpets inspired by billboards in Bangkok. In his design, the stylized posters have been torn down, leaving behind fragments of lettering and shreds of paper. Domotex visitors seeking solace in nature will be transported to lush fields and meadows by the Steppe collection created by Wool and Silk LLC (USA). Meanwhile, those who prefer the urban jungle can lose themselves in "TUNNEL, " a photo-real wool embodiment of London's Greenwich foot tunnel created by the German label Floor to Heaven. The tunnel design is so mesmerizingly three-dimensional in appearance that one has more of a sense of stepping into it than upon it. And speaking of photorealism, there's also Jan Kath's "Moon, " which, with between 150 to 200 knots per square centimeter and no fewer than 60 hues, depicts the lunar surface with telescopic precision. Some carpets are statements in and of themselves. One such carpet is "Frozen" – a textile commentary on global warming by Austria's Beate van Harten. Another is "Canvas" – an anti-war protest made of recycled army tents.

By reinventing classic motifs and techniques, these modern hand-made carpets lay the groundwork for the displays of classic Oriental carpets, a genre that is in the very early stages of an illustrious comeback. These hand-knotted, -woven and -stitched one-off creations from a range of Middle Eastern provenances have effortlessly cast off their old-fashioned "Persian rug" image and taken on a vibrant new role as tellers of captivating textile stories for today's modern interiors. Beautifully ornate examples of this include the flatweaves of the "Modernist Kilim Collection" by Zollanvari AG and the "Massal Collection" by Edelgrund GmbH, and the sumptuous hand-knotted designs by IPEK and Mohammadzadeh & Sohn.

If you think fitted carpets with their cozy wall-to-wall sophistication are somehow inferior, then think again. Manufacturers of fitted carpets have endless options and possibilities, ranging from new materials, yarns and fibers to sizings and production methods. The Dutch manufacturers, for example, have some truly groundbreaking ideas when it comes to recycling, as will be evident from Edel Tapijt's "Majestic, " the world's first fitted carpet made 100% from recycled PET bottles, and Robusta's "Bouclé Flame, " a polyamide yarn made from recycled carpets, ropes and fishing nets. Other providers offer highly promising innovations for the contract furnishing business – things like antibacterial yarns and products with extreme wear resistance. Homeowners, on the other hand, are likely to fall in love with Vorwerk's "Elementary Shapes, " which were designed by Werner Aisslinger. This range consists of organically shaped carpet tiles made of Vorwerk materials that can be joined using brightly colored felt strips to create custom patterns to suit any individual taste.

Thanks to advanced manufacturing techniques, resilient floor coverings are in many cases barely distinguishable from the natural materials that inspire them. Vinyl floor coverings are now available with surfaces which perfectly exude the grain and granularity of natural wood and stone, with haptic surface finishes that are equally natural to the touch. The products showcased at Domotex by the International Vinyl Company, Belgium, are excellent examples of this. One unmistakable trend in resilient flooring is the move towards making installation easier for floorlaying professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike. For instance, some manufacturers offer tiles that have ingenious click-fit locking systems on all four sides, making them a dream to install. Beaulieu's luxury vinyl tiles, which are designed to allow two carpet layers to work in parallel, are an excellent example of this. Switzerland's Li & Co. AG also offers easy-to-install tiles. Its range includes cork tiles with surfaces made of thin slabs of natural slate that offer the modern look and feel of natural stone flooring, but without the hardness and coldness. Another key trend is sustainability. Many coverings in the resilient segment are either recyclable, made from recycled materials themselves, and/or feature glueless installation – as in the case of the woven PVC tiles offered by Nox Corporation of South Korea.

In the parquet and laminate flooring segment, oak is very big at the moment. And it comes in a range of styles and finishes, including natural, stained – with practically endless shades to choose from – and aged. There are also specialty oaks, such as the Lithuanian bog oak that is the mainstay of the floorboards offered by UAB Grigo Studija. Then there are new, organically curved parquet boards, such as those supplied by the Dutch firm Parketfabriek Lieverdink, which make for truly alluring laying patterns. Still other options include black PVC joints between boards to create a ship-deck look, and aluminum trim adds a touch of class. Not that everything in the parquet and laminate flooring segment is striving to look like natural wood: The German firm Falquon, for instance, offers some exciting alternatives with "Glossart" – a collection of high-gloss, digitally printed floor coverings available in a wide range of designs and colors.

The installation technology section of Domotex is dedicated to bringing maximum ease of use and simplicity to the hands-on, "behind-the-scenes" aspects of floor coverings. While the floor coverings, themselves, are always the stars of the show, they would be nothing without all the sophisticated tools, materials and equipment needed to install them. Bright innovations in a whole range of areas, from laying, fixing and jointing to footfall sound dampening, are continually optimizing use and usability for every type of floor covering installation. For example, Astech has developed a screwless system for fixing timber and wood-plastic composite decking boards in outdoor areas. Once installed, the boards can be taken up again with the aid of a small metal key. Similarly, iDeck Systems has developed EasyClick, a fixing system that enables installers to secure decking boards to the deck substructure simply by stepping on them. Turning to indoor floors, HTC Floor Systems offers "Greyline" diamond floor-grinding tools for preparing concrete substrates. They are quieter than their conventional counterparts and are almost dust-free, so that they can be used without undue disruption to people in the vicinity.

With all of this to choose from, the new season has something for every taste and budget. And it will all be on show at Domotex 2015. Each of the show's display categories will feature hot new creations and innovations in a rich and varied celebration of flooring design excellence.

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