New products 2017: ornaments make a grand entrance, blue is the new black

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, jungle…it’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.

Carpets: flat weaves are on the rise

Modular flooring is absolutely on trend. The principle has also been applied to a new carpet module system made from hand-woven sheep’s wool. Six element sizes and six weave patterns from rep to bouclé in coherent, modern colour worlds from anthracite and olive to pink and strawberry red can be combined at will to form individual carpet landscapes that are attached to each other with Velcro.

The cosiness factor of full pile carpets is out, flat weaves are the new top sellers. Manufactured from the most varied of materials, from polypropylene – thus making them suitable for the balcony or terrace – to jute, cotton and virgin wool, either with woven patterns or, increasingly, printed. The motifs are often laid out geometrically and imitate the relaxed Scandinavian look. Colour are reduced comprising two to a maximum of three shades. At the same time, it is noticeable that there is now a modern-ethno slant that mixes elements from various cultures with extroverted, colourful designs and radiates zest for life and optimism.

The vintage look has established itself on all fronts and almost developed into a genre of its own. The new collections are available in misty shades such as grey, grey-green, pigeon blue and mauve. Viscose and silk additions emphasise individual areas of the design elements with an elegant sheen, making them no longer look flat, but as though they have been positioned in a targeted manner.

Carpets identified by the Good Weave seal signal to buyers that they have been made in accordance with fair social and economic conditions and without the use of child labour. Regular random inspections of the licensees’ premises guarantee that these conditions are upheld. The importers’ licence fees are used to support education and PR work as well as social programmes in India and Nepal.

The renaissance of roller blinds

In addition to the long-standing best-seller of pleated blinds, and the mega-seller of duette pleated blinds, another proven sun protection product is now back in the spotlight: the roller blind. Classic models bring dots and floral motifs, especially with a jungle look, to the window. Digital printing is also making inroads here – and making it possible to have a personalised roller blind tailored to suit an individual ambience. Spring loaded blinds are furnished with beautifully shaped cassettes.

Do chessboard and block stripes sound boring? Not when they’re used on a Scherli double roller blind that conjures up new kinds of 3D effects at the window every time they’re adjusted, they’re not. This works just as well with circles, waves, zigzag stripes and feathers. Clear trend theme with roller blinds: motorised versions that meet demands for comfort and ease of use. “Plug and Play” battery-operated solutions are also now on offer and are suitable for rooms that don’t have their own electricity supply.

The pleated blinds are varied and multi-faceted. Eye-catching are subtle colour gradients on white, powder pink with shimmering shiny effects and maxi pleats with a pleat depth of 32 cm for large windows. With wide, freely moveable tensioned models, a balancer prevents the profile from sagging thanks to the push rod principle. This enables nominal widths of up to 180 cm to be realised. Panel curtains are attempting to curry new favour among customers by employing an environmental ethos, either with a Cradle to Cradle certificate that emphasises the aspect of sustainability or made from 50% recycled ocean waste.

Even if no glass surface is too big, too small or too unusually shaped for today’s modern, highly flexible sun protection products, there are still exceptions. The solution in these special cases is a self-adhesive material that can be cut to fit.

Curtain rails remain simple, unobtrusive, puristic and modern, either invisibly incorporated into the ceiling or with decorative panels that once again tend towards the wider end of the spectrum. Curtain rods can be found in the colours and looks of current interior trends. A favourite is currently satin-coated aluminium with brushed stainless steel and brushed silver as well as white matt – the main theme being matt. The end pieces merge into the rod and generally look like end caps.

On a mission for better sleep

Following the smartphone and smart watch, we now have the smartpillow: a sensor sewn into the pillow transmits personalised sleep analyses to an app that then gives tips for a better night’s sleep. And also wakes you up at the optimum time. The sleep coach can also withstand being washed. Those with allergies will be able to experience a more relaxed night thanks to technology that is patent pending. It functions in a purely physical way: negatively charged particles in pillows, duvet covers and mattress covers attract positively charged allergens.

Hot summer nights are lovely to sit outside in, but sometimes not great for sleeping. In such cases, tempered sleeping comfort is promised by a special fleece with layered microcapsules that have a cooling effect. And if you no longer want the cooling effect, simply turn it over: the fleece is only applied to one side. As an airy companion in high temperatures, the printed summer bed covers that can be used without bedding are recommended.

Also focused on sustainability is a complete bed linen range made from natural materials, all GOTS-certified. The down is sourced from GOTS-certified breeding establishments specialising in organic husbandry, and wool and cotton fibres from organic cultivation, with the covers made from organic cotton and closed with hotel closures, zip closures or buttons.

Ornaments and graphics are an essential feature of the new bed linen collections. Tiny geometric patterns, fragmented mosaics, plait motifs, meandering ribbons, empire-style inspirations and acanthus tendrils can be found in many variations. The overall appearance is quieter and more understated than in previous years. Individual design elements are often positioned in a targeted manner, such as individual flower stems. Embroidery is also used in a deliberate way, such as to emphasise a contour. Ornamental cushions complete the decorative bed. Eye-catchers here include sophisticated sequin cushions.

Given that some people are starting to get tired of printed varieties, there has been increased interest in coloured fabrics. Melange and herringbone designs have already established themselves on the market, and are being complemented by chambray, fine jacquard flannel, grid checks and pinstripes with a timeless look and soft feel.

The colour worlds in and around the bed are rather cool and sophisticated: lots of blue shades, from aqua and denim to midnight blue, silver, grey and anthracite, reed, malachite and pine. Subtle rosé functions as a brightener.

The warmer season of the year has become a season for blankets and plaids. In light fabrics such as cotton, super fine lamb’s wool, wool-silk and wool-linen blends, they are ideal for decorative purposes or for snuggling up in when it gets cooler in the evening. The line between blankets and shawls are blurring.


Clear lines in the bathroom

Relaxation is on trend in the bathroom. That isn’t something just to be taken literally, but is also based on current trends: the new bathroom textiles appear calm and tranquil with clear lines and a focus on natural materials. Typical are somewhat subtle designs in natural white, sand, grey, anthracite and taupe or 80:20 cotton-linen blends with interesting structures thanks to yarn interspersed with black. Skilfully implemented on towels and bathroom carpets is the characteristic appearance of fine Carrara marble. Classic patterns such as herringbone or houndstooth are always found in clay shades, never rich in contrasts. These are joined by new and fresh looking, jacquard woven Vichy checks. The diagonally striped quilting seam provides a fresh accent.

The new stonewashed terry will make every towel a unique item. A careful mechanical process gives rise to a special used look for cotton towels without impacting on the high-value look and quality. Convenient: the towels no longer have to undergo washing treatment later. The theme of stripes has still not been exhausted and is offered in a range of variants: lengthways and crossways, wide and narrow, precisely ordered or casual as though drawn by hand, offset, jagged or waved, bicolour or multicolour.

Complementary accessories to the textile programmes have now become almost obligatory. As well as the usual accessories for body care and cosmetics, the offer also encompasses bins, laundry baskets, fabric storage bins and make up bags.


Table: an excursion into nature

What’s in bloom? Botanics are once again the most important source of inspiration for season-oriented table decoration. Designers have picked spring flowers and forget-me-nots from the garden and put them on tablecloths, runners, cushions and accessories – all over on the tablecloth and as a targeted accent on the runners. Oleander blossoms look summery and thick jumbles of ivy are perfect whatever the season. The depictions are either naturalistic or look as though they have been dotted on by hand with a carefree stroke of the brush.

Striking prints continue to be essential on table linen, but need a calmer counterpart. This role is taken up by jacquards with subtle graphic patterns or gentle tone-in-tone feather and butterfly motifs, versatile plain rep weaves in a wide-ranging colour palette and casual pre-washed fabrics. The colours showcase the spring-like pastel spectrum, from ice blue and violet, mint, light may green to rose quartz and primrose yellow. Pink, fuchsia, orange and turquoise send strong colour signals. But it’s not all colourful and eye-catching: simple stripes that alternate between transparent and opaque and geometric shapes that are comprised of fine highlights exude a discreet courtliness.


Digital printing is becoming more flexible and more efficient

In textile printing, one change in particular needs to be highlighted, and this is that digital printing has been brought into the mainstream: the industry has been won over and regards this change as a result of various factors. These include advances in printing technology and inks and the increasing demand for smaller runs and products tailored to specific customers. Plant manufacturers are also conquering new fields or closing gaps in their service portfolio: they are pushing new machines for large-volume digital production in areas that were previously only able to realise cost-effective printing using traditional print technology. Other developments are no longer limited to specific materials, but can be printed on a variety of textiles thanks to variable head spacing among other reasons – from thick, structured and deep-pile to thin weaves and elastic fabrics. New pigment inks make subsequent washing or steaming unnecessary and thus save time and costs. This also avoids the potential wastewater load. In this way, Heimtextil once again reveals what huge opportunities the new digital print technologies continue to offer for the future.

By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer