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Industry Talk

Growth oriented Heimtextil opens in Frankfurt

Leading trade fair opens with more than 2800 exhibitors and a panel discussion spotlighting artificial intelligence in design and textile product development.

9th January 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Frankfurt, Germany

Interiors

With over 2800 exhibitors from 60 countries and a 95% level of internationality, this year’s Heimtextil, which kicked off today in Frankfurt, continues to grow.

At a panel discussion during the opening press conference, the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles put the spotlight on the significance of artificial intelligence (AI). How is AI speeding up the design process? Which tried and tested processes have already been introduced in the home textiles sector? What measures are necessary to prevent copyright infringements? Experts discussed a variety of ideas and solutions – from tool combinations to integration in corporate guidelines.

Heimtextil 2024 marks the beginning of the new trade-fair year, and with a 25% increase in the number of exhibitors compared to the last edition, the show continues to grow across all product segments and attract many different nations. “Our trade-fair brands are back and more resilient than ever before. Moreover, they offer small to medium sized companies in particular a high level of international stability. Despite a gloomy economic backdrop, Heimtextil continues to expand and offer a market overview of the latest global trends in the home and contract textile sector,” said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, in his opening statement.

At the opening press conference, panel participants Anja Bisgaard Gaede, founder of the Spott trends & business agency, Danny Richman, AI consultant and inventor of the AI-based Fabric Genie design app, and Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies of Messe Frankfurt, discussed the potential of artificial intelligence for textile product design. The discussion was chaired by Alexandra Bohn, Style Content Director of F.A.Z. Quarterly.

Artificial intelligence in textile product design

ChatGPT, Midjourney, Dallee: powerful tools for text, image and design generation have been very easily accessible for companies and private individuals since 2023. Today, they are a fixed part of everyday life and are leading to enduring changes in working processes. The panel discussion focused on how artificial intelligence is speeding up creative processes, enabling the rapid production of designs and transcending time-consuming drawing processes on computers.

AI is fundamentally redefining the economy, markets and industries. As trade-fair experts, we know how to aid transformation efforts and reduce levels of complexity

One of the key roles played by Heimtextil is the investment in knowledge and the exchange of information with the aim of bringing transformations to life. Olaf Schmidt underscored the rapid growth of AI and explained why Messe Frankfurt is actively focusing on AI and bringing together international experts in this edition of Heimtextil, with a panel discussion and workshops in the Heimtextil Trend Space: “AI is fundamentally redefining the economy, markets and industries. As trade-fair experts, we know how to aid transformation efforts and reduce levels of complexity. With the global home textiles industry at Heimtextil in Frankfurt, now is the optimum time to spotlight the potential of artificial intelligence”, said Olaf Schmidt.

Heimtextil 2024. © Pietro Sutera | Messe Frankfurt

The strength of the global Texpertise Network is also evident in this context: the Network embraces over 50 textile trade fairs in 12 countries and aids the exchange of information about artificial intelligence between many different markets along the textile value chain.

Increasing the potential of AI in textile design: easy and inexpensive in his keynote address, Danny Richman presented a tried and tested aid: Fabric Genie, an AI design application for online shops. Users upload images of their room and describe their design requirements.

The AI then generates proposals from which users can choose the design wanted. In his address, Richman also referred to the public’s reaction to the ability of AI to produce unique textile designs. “AI is superior to humans in terms of its ability to spot patterns in data. At the same time, this potential is easy and inexpensive for companies to take advantage of. Thanks to AI, it is not difficult to generate backend codes or to integrate custom-made applications via APIs,” he said.

AI at the Heimtextil Trend Space

Anja Bisgaard Gaede looked at how companies can get started with AI and which aspects they should take account of during implementation. In this connection, she discussed not only technical questions but also the composition of corporate guidelines and protection against copyright infringements.

Attention was also paid to ways in which AI is being used for textile design, as well as its limits. Gaede explained the importance of suitable prompts and distinguished between effective and less effective commands. Another focus was on combining the AI tools currently available. “It is time to forge ahead with KI. But with caution and with an eye to what is required to be successful in this. Hybrid machine and human interaction as well as collective intelligence are component parts of tomorrow’s workflows,” Anja Bisgaard Gaede said.

Textile innovations, materials and design

Worldwide business contacts and the place-to-be for the international textile interior design sector – this year, Heimtextil brings textile innovations, materials, interior design and trends to life more intensively and in an even greater variety than ever before.

On a total of 17 levels, retailers, wholesalers, designers, furniture and bedding specialists, interior designers, interior decorators, architects, hotel designers and many other decision-makers can be sure of finding the broadest and deepest range of home, household and contract textiles: from decorative furniture fabrics to bedrooms and bathroom textiles, not to mention functional textiles, wallpapers, carpets, curtains and sun-protection systems.

Heimtextil has added two new halls for 2024. The first is Hall 5.1 for the new Carpets & Rugs product segment where 100 global suppliers have rolled out their latest products and design highlights for their first joint presentation in Frankfurt am Main. The broad spectrum to be seen stretches from hand and machine woven carpets to dirt-absorbing runners. The second supplementary hall has been opened this year for the global sourcing segment where private label excellence meets volume products – with a great range of high-quality industrial and artisan household textiles (Halls: 10.0 to 10.4) and home textiles (Halls 6.0, 5.0 and 6.1).

Beyond a range of products unparalleled worldwide, the global meeting place for the sector is once again distinguished by an indispensable visitor and content programme, which includes the Heimtextil Trends 24/25. Under the headline theme of New Sensitivity, they reveal a new sensitivity for the future via three compelling categories ‘plant-based’ ‘technological’ and ‘bio-engineered’.

The Interior.Architecture.Hospitality programme stands for the latest developments in the contract sector while the Finder lists exhibitors with corresponding products. Additionally, experts guide visitors to selected exhibitors and present highlights on ‘Health & Care’, ‘Outdoor’, ‘Sustainability & Climate’ and ‘New Work’ within the framework of the Heimtextil Talks & Tours. In the Library, visitors will find a presentation of functional textiles curated by an expert jury.

For the first time in 2024, all relevant knowledge and product offerings on the main topic of sustainability can be found under the heading Econogy - from Econogy Talks to the Econogy Finder, an expert-checked overview of certified exhibitors with sustainable products. Other components of the Econogy offering include the Econogy Hub, the platform for seal providers and certifiers, and the one-hour Econogy Tours.

This year, the focus is once again on high-grade knowledge content for the specialist bed trade and the hotel industry: at the Heimtextil Sleep & More Conference in Hall 11.0, international sleep experts will share their insights and best practices - from bedroom design and the expectations of Generation Z on hotel accommodation to the use of artificial intelligence for professional sleep analysis.

heimtextil.messefrankfurt.com

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