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© Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

Trade fairs are places of many different interactions. They are where people meet, connect with contacts, discover new things and do business. Convention centres have had to stay closed since the coronavirus arrived, with many venues for communication moving online in this time. Following Heimtextil’s cancellation in January due to the pandemic, the “International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles” is continuing to expand its digital services by presenting the “Future Materials Library 2021”. It is an international collection of innovative materials in interior design. FranklinTill, a futures research agency in London, curated the online library.

Whereas Heimtextil guests last year were able to directly experience the touch and feel of materials in the library, this year a selection of innovative materials is going to be presented online and invite guests to participate consciously in experimental approaches and alternative ways of thinking. With a mix of commercially proven and revolutionary approaches, some of which still in an early stage of their development, it gives a platform to material pioneers. To this end, FranklinTill has arranged the materials according to four key themes: REGENERATIVE CROPS, REMADE FIBRES, HARVESTING WASTE STREAMS and SUSTAINABLE COLOUR. Himalayan Wild Fibers, for example, produces a textile fibre made from the stalk of the wild Himalayan nettle. Ioncell uses ionic liquid to process textile waste, wood pulp, recycled newspapers and cardboard into high-quality fibres. With “ReStart”, a take-back and recycling programme by Tarkett, post-installation and used flooring is given another life. Food Textile, from Japan, takes a stand against food waste, producing dyes from excess food. For example, it processes blueberries, red cabbage, coffee and matcha tea into natural, colour-fast textile dyes.

Textile material pioneers like these and their different approaches help transform the linear system that is still practised and gain the favour of manufacturers as well as consumers for a circular economy. The materials library also addresses a key problem of our time: our planet’s limited resources. The “Future Materials Library 2021” is part of Heimtextil Trends, which has presented the design trends of the upcoming season for almost three decades.

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