by Saxon Henry
You might say we’re a bit trend obsessed here at Global Lighting but it’s a necessary point of view given we curate light fixtures from some of the most innovative European lighting manufacturers to distribute in North America. When we attended Heimtextil, the world’s most comprehensive textile tradeshow, we noticed a number of trends within and outside of the organization’s exhaustive forecasting research, which they present in the Theme Park section of the fair each year when it opens in January.
A Return to Handmade
It’s remarkable how what we’re seeing in our own collections is showing up in a number of product-driven sectors of the marketplace, such as a return to handmade. Nowhere does this exist amongst our offerings more than in our Ethos Collection. One of the companies that has taken this tack to textiles is Felice, an Austrian company making their carpets from 100% sheep’s wool. The textures and range of colors made their stand a lively standout in our eyes.
Increasingly, our collections are influenced by technology—look no further than the advent of the LED revolution and you’ll see how widespread it is now. We’re proud to be on the leading edge of this transition to a more sustainable way of lighting interiors by devoting hours and resources to educating our team of technicians who retrofit the fixtures we bring to North America. Our UL certification now extends to LED on a wide range of our fixtures and, just as it is in our corner of the design world, technology has made its mark in textiles. Machines are growing more sophisticated and this is allowing textile manufacturers to manipulate fabrics in ways unheard of until now.
The Touch Factor
It was fascinating to watch the impulse to touch, which fairgoers had in spades—the temptation to feel simply too strong to resist! We’ve seen it with our offerings from Ay Illuminate when we exhibit at tradeshows. The cotton, paper, silk-cashmere and sisal shades on the Z series inspiring designers and architects to ask us, “May we touch?” The answer is always yes, of course, as the artisanal qualities of the materials the Netherlands-based company produces includes soft and supple the hand-woven silk-cashmere shades and tantalizing-to-the-touch mulberry paper shades.
Essence with an Edge
If you’ve watched the creative genius behind the collateral that Karman, whose products wow design-savants in our Stratos Collection, produces, you’ve seen how the essence of a brand can be made all the more interesting when it has a bit of an edge to it. Given the subject of fabrics and wallpapers can elicit thoughts of your grandmother’s sofa or nosegay-flecked walls in the kitchen, we’re happy to report there’s as much of a sassy edge where textiles are concerned that in any other avant-garde industry.
Taking Time for Trend Talk at Heimtextil
Our minds were blown wide open where Heimtextil’s trend research is concerned. It wasn’t a surprise given Thimo Schwenzefeier, the director of marketing and communications for the fair, told us to expect a progressive look at the future through textiles: “For more than 20 years, we have been investing in trends—we have six design studios from all over the world who meet for several weeks each March to identify trends that are rolled out in our Theme Park.” A caveat one of the TrendTable team declared is that people will be buying less but buying better in the future. This is music to our ears, as quality is uppermost in our minds as we scour the world for new products to bring to our design-savvy customers.
The theme set for 2017/2018 is Explorations, the four directions identified under this broader umbrella are Cultural Explorations, Natural Explorations, Planetary Explorations and Virtual Explorations. Flavie Benard, the head of marketing of interior and industry for Paris-based Carlin Creative Trend Bureau, explained the key points to each. Cultural introduces the growing popularity of very urban and modern colors—ethnic an advancing trend for a wider audience.
Natural is trending toward texture and woodsy colors, while Planetary explores the fact that human beings are cocooning a bit less and letting curiosity rule, thus we can see more exploration in our futures. Virtual is the edgiest concept with the biggest impacts from technology. Expect shimmery colors, some of which will be flowing through transparent materials, as well as more 3D-printing and laser-cutting in the future.
Projecting into the Future
It’s fascinating to us how these brilliant minds can take information gathered from around the globe and interpret what courses we will all take as we decorate. I asked Lisa White of the World Global Style Network how they even begin to accomplish this. “Over two days, we spread everything we’re seeing out on the table,” she explained. “Then, we sift and shift and study until we begin to see what patterns emerge.” This is only the beginning of their work, of course, as they then discuss what they are seeing in consumer behavior and filter the products Heimtextil has collected through their broad knowledge base. It was a fascinating experience to have and we will be digesting it all as we look at the trends emerging in the lighting we curate into our collections. Talk about being inspired!
Tagged under: 3D printing, design fairs, design process, environmentally-friendly pendants, European design, light fixtures, recycled material. surprising use of materials, sustainable design, The Netherlands, tradeshow, traditional craft, travel, trends