A trend exhibition that’s anti-trend? That’s what Heimtextil 2024 is promising in its Trend Space feature next week. Focused on new launches in home and contract textile, the behemoth Frankfurt expo, which takes place January 9 to 12, always puts together a fascinating showcase of new directions in design and manufacturing. But this year, the centrepiece “heralds a paradigm shift: away from trends as the driver towards transformation as the driving force,” the organizers say.

Situated in Hall 3.0, Trend Space comprises four main themes and “worlds,” a lecture area and various installations – all curated by Denmark’s SPOTT trends & business studio. By opting to break away from a predictable focus on such stalwart preoccupations as colourways and patterns, the exhibition is leaning into ecologically driven processes, instead – and focusing on “groundbreaking alternatives relating to material extraction, production and dyeing.”

A plant-based leather at Heimtextil

With a sustainable textile future in mind, Heimtextil 2024’s Trend Space begins with a staging area where companies like Colorifix and Ever Dye demonstrate their new, circular-design dyeing processes. Based in the UK, Colorifix engineers microorganisms to replicate hues found in nature; while French brand Ever Dye’s patented technology involves “the synthesis and attachment of dyes,” and combines pigment with “a biosourced organic polymer binding agent.”

Bio-engineering is also explored in a section where companies such as Belgium’s Noosa (makers of “endlessly recyclable” fibres), Denmark’s Pond Global (“the world’s most advanced bioplastic”) and Silicon Valley’s CiCLO (“biodegradable synthetics”) show how they are combining plant-based materials and technical processes to achieve new possibilities. Plant-based textile fabrication is its own major theme: Brands like Ettitude Materials, which produces the patented CleanBamboo; Desserto, a purveyor of vegan cactus leather; and Re-Root-Tex, which spins fibres from pineapple waste, will do live demonstrations.

An upcycled textile at Heimtextil

Alongside these pioneering technologies, the exhibition also includes an area devoted to upcycling and recycling as well as textile construction – specifically nascent 3D knitting technologies, which reduce waste through precision and efficiency.

No present-day exhibition of future design directions would be complete without a nod to AI. At Trend Space, SPOTT has teamed up with fellow Danes at the extended reality studio MANND to create an installation that invites visitors to use AI in designing their own textiles and to experience “augmented weaving.” There is also a Fibre Gallery that explores compositions coming to an application near you: the mycelium-based textile EPHEA developed by Mogu, innovations in fibre and leather from Bananatex and Von Holzhausen, respectively, and more.

A 3D printed textile at Heimtextil

For more insight, visitors can take in trend lectures from SPOTT’s owner, Anja Bisgaard Gaede, as well as Marta Giralt Dunjó (of FranklinTill Studio), Anja Laursen and Bettina Lauridsen (NewRetex A/S) and Anne Marie Commandeur (Stijlinstituut Amsterdam).

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