Domotex Germany: The largest global flooring show - Mar 2016

By Kemp Harr

This year, Domotex, the largest floorcovering expo in the world, attracted 45,000 visitors to its massive Hannover complex and the 12 separate buildings housing 1,441 exhibits from over 59 nations. These are impressive attendance and exhibit figures, especially when you factor in the snowy weather, the lethargic global economy and government warnings from countries like Japan advising against travel to Europe due to concern over potential terrorist attacks. 

Most of the people who attend this annual show commit to their travel plans months in advance, since 85% of the attendees are from outside of Germany. They come to the show knowing that there is no other single event in the world that attracts such a diverse range of professionals who all make their living focused on some facet of floorcovering. 

Unlike the domestic shows here in the U.S., which focus on a singular surface type (like ceramic tile or wood) or segment their target base based on whether the product is specified by an architect or sold by a retailer, Domotex attracts everyone—component suppliers, machinery producers, flooring manufacturers, inventors, specifiers, buyers, importers and installers for every type of flooring except ceramic tile.

The venue for this event is the largest exhibit complex in the world, with a total of 26 exhibit halls. To help attendees navigate this massive show, each of the 12 halls devoted to this show is organized by product type. For example, four halls are devoted just to area rugs, two for machine-made rugs and two for handmade rugs. 

One way to navigate the show is to follow the show’s Innovations@Domotex program, where the winning entries are divided by product grouping and displayed in three separate buildings—one focused on area rugs, another on hardwood and laminate, and the third on resilient flooring and carpet. Prior to the show, exhibitors enter their newest products, which are judged by a diverse jury of ten designers who select 60 winners to go on display. Attendees can easily get a feel for the latest flooring developments by touring these display areas or studying the printed guidebook.

Some products are picked for their unique aesthetics and others for their innovative design. In hardwood, for example, in addition to the trend toward longer and wider boards over the last few years, we’re now seeing quarter-turned wood squares, herringbone and chevron strips, as well as driftwood and random painted boards with an antique finish.

With resilient, the WPC (wood polymer composite) movement is starting to bring cork, bamboo and other veneers to the wear surface in addition to the more traditional vinyl (LVT) surface. We continue to see new developments in installation methods like adhesive sheets and enhancements to click and floating floor products. 

With carpets and area rugs, we’re seeing unique shapes, new synthetic and natural fiber blends, like nylon and Tencel, and visuals created using digital printing, hand shearing and even torch (flame) finishing.

The three biggest European carpet producers—Balta, Associated Weavers and Beaulieu International Group—dominated Hall 6 with massive displays. 

The biggest news at Domotex from the U.S. was the debut exhibit space focused on Coretec, US Floors’ WPC product. Company owner Piet Dossche has hired his brother Jan to drive the penetration of this patented product line in Europe, and the brothers did a great job of tailoring the brand message to match the European market. Prior to this role, Jan Dossche was running a flooring business based in Romania.

Beaulieu of America was back at the show this year with a carpet display after skipping last year. Mohawk was well represented with an exhibit area in the back section of the Lano carpet booth as well as large IVC and Unilin displays in the resilient section of the show. The American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA) and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) continued their practice of hosting U.S. pavilions with a long list of specialty exhibitors. Other exhibitors included Phenix Flooring, Masland, Mannington Commercial, Earthwerks, Metroflor, Mattex and Aquafil. 

The show’s management, Deutsche Messe, eclipsed its performance from previous years with a full range of speakers, guided tours (hosted by big name designers), awards and special events, which attracted a large contingency of design focused participants. Piero Lissoni, a Milan based architect, spoke about innovations in design, and Vanessa Brady, with the Society of British and International Design, spoke about networking with key industry stakeholders.

Copyright 2016 Floor Focus

Related Topics:HMTX, NWFA Expo, Mohawk Industries, Masland Carpets & Rugs, Mannington Mills, The Dixie Group, Beaulieu International Group, Phenix Flooring, Domotex, Metroflor Luxury Vinyl Tile