Circularity sets new standards

Martina Metzner
23. January 2023
Interior designer Dorothee Meier (meierei) guided an expert tour by world-architects. (Photo: Mathias Duerr / World-Architects) 

"Circularity" is the big theme of this year's Heimtextil, which took place from 10 to 13 January, attracting 2,400 exhibitors and 44,000 visitors to the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt am Main. There was hardly a manufacturer who had not taken up the cause of sustainability. Visitors, too, were keen to find ecologically and socially responsible home textiles and wallpapers. While we have already made progress in the area of recycling, circularity confronts the industry with new challenges. 

This could be seen, for example, at Trevira, a supplier in the contract segment, well-known for its flame-retardant yarns. The brand of the Indian manufacturer Indorama occupied a joint stand in Hall 4.0 together with 16 weaving and knitting mills. For some time now, the company has been offering Trevira CS eco yarns, which contain recycled content and include take-back systems. The project to close the loop by 100 percent is currently still under development. The company's solution involves a chemically recycled raw material based on PET bottles, which are first shredded and then depolymerized. Bio-monoethylene glycol is added to make the raw material flame-retardant, and only then is the yarn produced.

In the Trend Space, everything revolved around circularity. (Photo: Messe Frankfurt / Pietro Sutera) 
Recycled acoustic fabrics

The Swiss supplier Deco Design Fürüs has already been offering cradle-to-cradle certified curtain fabrics in its portfolio for several years: the Ocean Safe collection,. What's new is that the second generation will be biomass-based rather than petroleum-based. Fürüs also offers a take-back system for the curtain fabrics. In addition, Fürüs is now increasingly presenting contract textiles under the "PRO-contract fabrics" line. Gebrüder Munzert presented "Sensus," a new acoustic curtain line that consists of 70 percent recycled flame-retardant yarns and is particularly impressive due to its thin and lightweight quality. The Turkish supplier Vanelli has also been paying attention to sustainability for some time: Not only does Vanelli use recycled materials, they also pay attention to saving water in the production process. They also cooperate with the Better Cotton fair trade label. 

With "Terra" from the "Essentiel" line, the Marburg wallpaper factory is launching a clay wallpaper. "The clay is taken and processed only 40 kilometers from our production site in Kirchheim — no additives," says chief designer Felix Diener. Norafin, on the other hand, showed "Extra Organic", its flax wallpaper collection — along with the "Organoids" line, which uses agricultural materials such as straw or hay on wallpaper. Libeco is a Belgian supplier specializing in linen. At the booth, visitors learned how ecological and CO2-friendly the product is, since flax uses little water in cultivation and is cultivated in Europe. 

Clay wallpaper "Terra" from Marburg. (Photo: Marburg) 

This year's Trend Space at Heimtextil was designed by the British agency Franklin Till with a view to material composition and circularity. On the one hand, the focus was on the technical cycle, on the other on the biological one: modularity, mono-materiality and disassembly-friendly design, as well as surprising processes to reuse existing materials. For the biological cycle, the themes "From Earth" and "Nature Engineered" revealed themselves. "From Earth" shed a light on organic materials and natural dyeing methods — accordingly, all in earthy shades. "Nature Engineered" centered on the mechanical enhancement of natural materials — in colors such as brown, beige, gray and green. Wallpaper suppliers like Hohenberger responded to this and had even immersed the entire booth in green. Prints from nature such as ferns and grasses are also popular — for example, as seen at Vanelli, the fabric supplier Apelt or the French supplier Sotexpro, which acquired the German brand Drapilux in 2021.

While sustainability and acoustics are still the top issues, another trend is emerging. Due to rising energy prices, energy through fabrics and wallpapers is becoming a hot topic. For example, the German manufacturer MPOTec presented a wallpaper that helps save heating energy — it fully replaces a heater and consists, among other things, of conductive graphite. The heating wallpaper can be painted or plastered over. And Marburg offers "Celsius," a wallpaper with aluminum particles that can be used to lower the heating by two degrees Celsius while maintaining the same perceived room temperature.

A major visitor magnet was the new Interior.Architecture.Hospitality LIBRARY, which featured materials from exhibitors that were curated for interior designers and architects. A selection of textiles for the contract segment was on display, which are flame-retardant, sound-absorbing, light-resistant, antimicrobial or water-repellent. Furthermore, Talks & Tours complemented the program — including the lectures and guided tours by renowned interior designers organized by world-architects, which were very well received and offered comprehensive insights into what was going on at the trade fair. 

The focus was on natural materials such as linen — here from Belgian supplier Libeco. (Photo: Mathias Duerr / World-Architects) 

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