More textiles for the home: quality of life lies in furnishings

Textiles are experiencing a comeback: whether furnishing fabrics, piles of cushions or curtains – the trend towards more materiality within our own four walls continues in 2017. With what felt like a veritable firework display of new products, 2963 international exhibitors at Heimtextil 2017 in Frankfurt am Main highlighted the increasing importance that textile products will play in future furnishing projects. "Materials in all forms are in once again in great demand for both private and public spaces, " says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies. "As a global display window for interior design, Heimtextil gives a comprehensive insight into what kinds of new products can be expected from interior decorators, interior designers and bed dealers for the new season." Almost 70, 000 trade visitors from 141 nations viewed these new products at this year's Heimtextil.

Palms, plants,'s impossible to imagine social media without all things botanic at the moment. And the same goes for the new furnishing fabrics that could be seen in great variety at this year's Heimtextil. Leaves are the new flowers. Large palm leaves, feathered leaves and filigree ferns are translated onto fabric the form of prints or jacquards. Mostly stylised or abstract, they look almost graphical, and are often present just as a contour or silhouette. This makes them look close to nature while also having a very clean and modern appearance. The colour scheme is deliberately reduced, and often only seen in bicolour form. The backgrounds are open. The trend for graphics over the past year has strengthened and also changed at Heimtextil 2017: net, honeycomb and lattice structures that also appear to pulsate are en vogue, as are isolated circles that compress into a base and graceful triangles. Zigzag stripes are also often seen and not to be forgotten are chevrons in various sizes, printed and colourfully woven.

Back to ornaments
The ornament is a classic decorative item whose origins reach far back into human history. This year it is making a roaring comeback. Designers have reached deep into the archives and been inspired by palmettes and rosettes from ancient Egypt, acanthus vines, meanders from ancient Greece, braids, knot, damask and tile motifs, arabesques and tendrils. There is also a recognisable touch of Louis XIV, a pinch of empire style and a hint of Art Deco. And all these elements are of course not just copied, but reinterpreted and filled in with colour. Often only individual elements of the patterns are incorporated or the décor disguised. Almost always included are nostalgic patinas and deliberate vintage touches that give the materials their formal style and lend them an air of nonchalant charm.

Jacquards with a new character and interesting feel with new wool yarns represent a modern, ethno trend. This ethno feeling is created mainly through expressive colour combinations, such as petrol with orange and curry, while the design is inspired by South America. Colour gradients and degradés in the most varied of forms, both woven patterns and printed, as ombré, chiné or shimmering digital prints, remain important and are reminiscent of streaks of oil in water.

Blue sets the tone
Key word colour: blue sets the tone for 2017. Blue proves to be more versatile than any other shade: casual or elegant, light or dark, intense or subtle, relaxing or mysterious. The colour palette that plays into the green end of the scale is just as broad, with nuances dominating above all. Aquamarine, petrol and midnight blue are strongly represented. New is a smoky jeans blue. Waiting in the wings to become a an on-trend colour is green. Oases of harmony at home can be designed with new, bright pastels that radiate the cheerful and energetic charm of a spring morning. Combining these with grey or blue looks more grown-up and gives them a laid-back air of sophistication.

Furnishing and upholstery fabrics: the high art of weaving
Faux plain, mini and small patterns, structures, weave effects: the new furnishing and upholstery fabrics illustrate the entire spectrum of modern weaving techniques. And not in an eye-catching and superficial way, but with finesse in the detail. Diamonds, rhombuses, honeycomb and braid patterns, waves, herringbone and zigzags look almost monochrome from a distance, only revealing just how charismatic they are at close quarters. The different patterns sometimes overlap each other, giving the material a very vibrant look. Partial use of chenille fibres gives rise to a soft feel.

Velours made from wool and tencel blends present themselves in the form of soft materials with an elegant lustre. Thanks to the varying dyeability of the fibres, the combination of cotton and tencel gives rise to a delicate metallic shimmer that changes depending on your perspective and the way the light falls. New are dry, linen-like surfaces and blunt, matt flat weaves whose design is based on tweed but has been modernised by giving it a distorted pixelated impression. It feels soft and woolly to the touch. As in the other product ranges, green tones play a bigger role here, from lind and pea to lime, reed, jade and malachite. Aqua, turquoise and grey are also very important.

Pearls on the wall
Wallpaper is a product that has an emotional character. The end consumer buys a roll of wallpaper if it matches their lifestyle and personal design ideas. The current collections offer a rich selection to choose from as well as spectacular designs. Luxurious fleece wallpaper to which tiny glass beads are attached sparkles and shimmers in a play of light. Personal motifs can be realised using larger beads in gold, silver, black or rhinestones – unique pieces for the wall.

A world first was presented at this year's Heimtextil, namely a combination of wallpaper and light: tiny LED lights are shaped in two star designs that customers can position on the strips of wallpaper as they wish – and voilà, they get a ready-made star wallpaper with integrated LED technology straight from the factory. The cables are so thin that they don't spoil the illusion and they have a standard adapter for connection to the mains. And you can also dim the stars.

We've already seen concrete and wood looks before. But oxidised copper? Oxidised iron? In order to bring their original, unique character and rough charm to the wall, designers successfully experimented with the finest iron and copper shavings and have also entered the third dimension with these wallpapers.

Textile themes incorporating everything from damask to rediscovered moiré unveil a modern look with a classical basis. These used to be called stylised wallpapers. However, this new generation doesn't come across as old-fashioned, but has something of a contemporary chic about it: the hot stamping technique enables precise cross-hatches and the finest lines for a high-quality relief-style feel, while subtle shading and light washes create depth. The background is often dry and matt with a linen look, and the décor shimmers silkily.

This year, nature can be found once again on wallpapers, mainly in the form of green plants: subtle tree drawings are reminiscent of Japanese ink drawings. Large-format leaves or reed stems blowing in the wind are so stylised that they look almost graphical. Colourful parrots emerge from tropical jungle flora. Fantastic trompe l'oeil worlds which imitate the old painting-style wallpapers in a superbly authentic way show that the possibilities of digital printing are nowhere near exhausted.

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