Towards Utopia – Franklin & Till at Heimtextil

Now in its 49th edition, international trade show Heimtextil saw a further upturn in exhibitors (the ninth year in a row in which it has done so) earlier this month. Bucking the trend of brands tightening their purse strings, the Frankfurt based show welcomed 3,025 exhibitors of home and contract textiles from 65 countries and proved that it is still a go-to event for contemporary fabrics and material trends.

The show’s organisers adapted the format this year, combining themes and previously divergent product areas into synergised sections covering “Architecture,” “Hotels,” “Sleep” and “Sustainability.”

The latter drew particular attention to the hot topic of water consumption in the textile industry as well as the problem that micro fibres are causing our oceans. Examples include designer Christian Fischbacher and companies such as Erfal who have created innovative surface solutions from PET bottles.

Design Insider Toward Utopia - Luke Evans

Carrying on the success of last year’s trend area, which opened up the debate surrounding ever-increasing urbanisation with The Future is Urban, this years theme Toward Utopia was equally as captivating and timely in it’s approach. Once again, UK–based future research agency FranklinTill take the lead in pulling the trends together, with the clear aim of considering “the potential for a new utopia – a society built around respect for individual humans and the world around us, based on individual responsibility, positive action and optimism.” 

Recognising the power of colour and its poetic qualities they have created 5 key trend stories that offer a rich mix of fresh and positive perspectives.

Design Insider Toward Utopia2-Luke Evans

Pursue Play draws influence from Miguel Sicart’s writing in Play Matters and poses the action of play as an optimistic escape from the turbulent times we find ourselves in. Influences include the design classic Lego; a toy that has always managed to transcend the child-adult divide, as well as Mini Living; Mini and Studiomama’s take on small spaces and Camille Walala’s 2017 Pavillion Walala x Play.

The bold colours and unapologetic patterns in the latter embody the fun-infused and confident spirit of the trend and highlights how serious play can be utilised in creating interior spaces and textiles.

Design Insider Toward Utopia - Escape Reality - Luke Evans

Seek Sanctuary encourages us to embrace disconnection and to switch off from our online and digital worlds. A minimal, almost soft colour palette and gently curved forms serve to create the spatial calm necessary in reconnecting with and reflecting upon our inner thoughts and feelings. Whilst Go off-grid pushes the idea of stepping away from our digitised urban environments further by stimulating a reconnection with nature.

Whilst the trend does not focus upon a return to a primitive existence it does highlight a more resourceful and active one that does not rely upon technology. Such drivers are opening the door to crossovers between traditional twill and modern performance fabrics that allow pursuits in the great outdoors.

Design Insider Toward Utopia - Embrace Indulgence

Escape Reality manages to push the pursuit of escapism even further by embracing the virtual. With this trend digital media in the form of augmented and virtual realities are seized upon by brands that look to create holistic experiences through physical elements and direct tactility. Sony’s Hidden Senses installation shown during Milan Design Week and TeamLab’s interactive artwork Borderless are cited as spearhead examples of new digital and tangible experiences designed to enrich our daily lives.

Embrace Indulgence is perhaps the most traditional or at least familiar of the trends in terms of it’s output, which brings together rich materials and colours, modernist aesthetics and craftsmanship. The curved arch, which we have seen a lot over the past 12 months feature prominently in a trend that unashamedly elevates opulence and oozes nostalgia.

About Meg Vockins

Meg is the Marketing and Membership Executive for BCFA. She enjoys writing about the different projects companies have been involved in, as well as new product ranges that are interesting and colourful! If you would like to appear in the Design Insider Live please do send over an email to
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