DOMOTEX 2019 runs from 11 to 14 January in Hannover, Germany. Themed CREATE'N'CONNECT, it explores the connectivity megatrend from many different perspectives and is a unique opportunity for flooring industry experts from all around the world to connect with one another and get creative. Among them are the CEOs of four big-name premium carpet traders from Beirut, Hamburg, New York and Toronto, who regularly participate in the show as exhibitors or visitors. Every year, they travel to Hannover to survey the market, maintain important international partnerships and make new contacts.
In this profile, these key players explain why they have been part of DOMOTEX all these years and why it is so important for their organizations to have a presence at the show, whether as visitors or exhibitors. They also comment on current flooring industry trends, their own projects and their favorite carpets.
Making new contacts and comparing notes on the latest trends
Michael Pourvakil is the President and owner of Weavers Art Inc., a Toronto-based company that trades in innovative hand-knotted rugs made from exquisite natural materials and crafted in a range of modern and traditional designs. Among its many achievements, Weavers Art provided the area rugs for the green room at the last two Toronto International Film Festivals.
"We are a high-end showroom for area rugs in Toronto, and we have been serving the architecture and interior design community for 25 years," says Pourvakil. "For my company, DOMOTEX is the most important trade show for carpets and floor coverings – an event I simply cannot afford to miss."
Michael Pourvakil says he is noticing a current trend towards new designs, textures and colors. For a number of years, his buyers have been carefully seeking out rugs in a diverse range of silver and gray tones. "They are still looking for these sorts of color tones, but with added accents in gold and purple." Pressed to name a personal favorite design, he notes that he has many, but that if he had to narrow it down to just one, it would be "Marble By Rachel", a rug that is part of ten designs created by a group of graduates of OCAD University in partnership with Weavers Art. "Marble By Rachel" is made from premium Chinese silk and hand-spun Tibetan wool. It is "organic to the touch and has a flowing and natural color palette that is very elegant." Pourvakil will be using the upcoming DOMOTEX to stay on top the latest developments, make new contacts and build on existing key relationships.
Who's who of the global market under one roof
Hadi Maktabi is the CEO and owner of a high-end firm that started out as a traditional family business in Beirut and is now very much an exquisitely curated art gallery for antique oriental carpets.
Hadi Maktabi attends DOMOTEX regularly in order to keep up with emerging trends. Why? Because for Maktabi, it is the leading trade show for carpets and floor coverings and hence an absolute must for suppliers and producers from all quarters of the globe. It is also an opportunity "to see the latest developments in rug design" and "meet producers from countries that we typically don't travel to." In addition, the show is a chance to "view and compare various new product lines and carpet types, all under the one roof." Not least, the annual event is a "wonderful opportunity to meet up with friends from all around the world."
In terms of enduring trends in hand-made carpets, Hadi Maktabi says he is noticing new upcycling strategies, such as overdyeing old carpets – a design trend which, in his view, works only if the producers have a keen intuitive sense for innovative interiors and interior styling. He has also noticed a "strong upsurge in interest in modern designer carpets from Nepal and India."
Hadi Maktabi's gallery is currently providing carpets for various private dwellings, hotels and corporate head office buildings around the world. Maktabi also provides advice to carpet aficionados seeking to expand their collections. His current favorite creation is a "fabulous antique Persian Kerman" that he acquired at DOMOTEX 2018. The design features a royal coat of arms, complete with dragon, lions, sword and sun. "It is a rare example of a masterpiece that has survived in perfect condition."
Finding out what's available and what's hot in the international scene
Dr. Ali R. Ipektchi is the owner of IPEK, a Hamburg-based wholesaler of Persian carpets, and the Chairman of the European Carpet-Importers Association (EUCA). His company has a long association with DOMOTEX and will be exhibiting at the show again in 2019.
"DOMOTEX is the world's leading trade show for floor coverings," Dr. Ipektchi says. "If you want to be a player in the markets of Germany, Europe and the world, then you simply need to have a presence at DOMOTEX." He values the event for its international scope and reach and hence its ability to position flooring-industry firms as world-class providers.
"At DOMOTEX, I can catch up with all my key customers in person and showcase my products and innovations to them, all within the space of just four days," Dr. Ipektchi explains, noting he also uses the show to connect with new customers and potential cooperation partners for IPEK.
For Dr. Ipektchi, DOMOTEX is a key marketplace for disseminating and gathering information because it attracts a cross-section of the entire global market. "At DOMOTEX, I can find answers to questions like: What are the latest trends? What's on offer internationally, and what are people buying internationally? What are others doing? What is the retail side of the market looking like? Altogether, that is a big help when it comes to preparing for the year ahead – an incredible benefit."
Beauty and artistic value in diversity
James A. Ffrench is a director at New York's Beauvais Carpets, where he is in charge of antique carpets. Beauvais is a gallery that specializes in antique Oriental and European carpets and tapestries as well as modern hand-tufted and custom carpets.
"I attend DOMOTEX because it gives me a complete overview of current trends and developments in contemporary carpet design," Ffrench says. He uses the show to research his own purchasing decisions, and every year he heads to Hannover fully expecting to make one or two exciting new discoveries. He also values DOMOTEX as a place to meet up with old friends and make new friends in the carpet business.
In terms of general trends, Ffrench points to a sustained move towards simple and minimalistic designs. "The biggest change in the market at the moment, I think, is a growing level of interest in special textures," he says. As regards projects, Ffrench currently has a hand in fitting out several high-end residential buildings around the world. These include a large country house in the UK, a beachfront property on an island in Massachusetts, and a residence in Kuwait. He doesn't have a favorite carpet. "If you're passionate about carpets, you don't have favorites," he says, explaining that he instead sees "beauty and artistic value in a wide range of pieces and styles," be they high-dollar-value antiques or innovative new creations.
Connectedness is an important trend in flooring design. DOMOTEX provides information on this and all the other new and emerging trends and developments in the floor coverings industry worldwide. It also provides an exciting, vibrant atmosphere that is highly conducive to new creative connections and cooperation between the many major international players who participate as visitors and exhibitors.