For one thing, the show has a new hall configuration and venue layout that will make it a lot easier for visitors to survey the market and connect with the exhibitors and trends that matter to them. The show will also have a strong overarching focus on the megatrend of product individualization, as reflected in the keynote theme of " UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE ". This theme will find concentrated expression in Hall 9, which will house an inspiring wonderland of creatively staged display zones by exhibitors, artists and budding young designers. "The upcoming show will immerse its visitors in a totally new and captivating world of trends, innovations and lifestyle," commented Dr. Andreas Gruchow as the responsible Managing Board member at Deutsche Messe. "Exhibitors and visitors alike can look forward to a wealth of concrete ideas that will help them grow their business and keep up with the trends and innovations that are shaping the future of their industry," he added.

Exhibitor registrations trending much higher than expected

The enhanced DOMOTEX format has been well received by the carpet and floor coverings industry – as can be seen from the high level of exhibitor registrations. "We are well up on the number of exhibitors confirmed at the same time in the build-up to DOMOTEX 2017. We're also significantly above expectation on booked display space," Klaproth said. "This further underscores DOMOTEX’s importance as a global marketplace and setter of trends for the carpet and floor coverings industry. At this rate, we are on track for around 1,400 exhibitors from over 60 nations," she added. Apart from Germany, the show's biggest exhibiting nations in terms of display space are Turkey, India, Belgium, China, the Netherlands, Iran, Italy, Egypt and the USA.

New hall configuration boosts market transparency

The revamped hall configuration physically clusters allied product groups, making it much easier for visitors from all professional backgrounds – whether wholesale or retail, architecture, interior design, the skilled trades, or furniture or furnishing retail – to find their way around and survey the market. Getting down to specifics, halls 2 to 4 now house the biggest offering of hand-made carpets and rugs seen anywhere in the world. Halls 5 through 7 are home to a unique selection of machine-woven carpets and rugs. Hall 8 is the gateway to the latest carpet creations from the world’s most innovative designers and labels. The displays of resilient floor coverings and luxury vinyl tiles are concentrated in halls 11 and 12. And halls 12 and 13 house the show’s displays of parquet, wood and laminate flooring. Hall 13 also houses displays of the latest flooring application and installation products and solutions. The convenience factor will be further enhanced by the venue’s excellent integration into the local public transport system and by the new MY DOMOTEX shuttle service, which will transport visitors and exhibitors quickly and directly to wherever they want to go on the exhibition grounds. (Download: Shuttle stops ).

"UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE" – wall-to-wall individualization

With its keynote theme of " UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE ", DOMOTEX 2018 is focusing on the individualization megatrend and its effects on the flooring industry. In today's globalized and digitized world, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to express their individuality. Consequently, the products and services they use to shape their lives – including their home lives – are becoming more and personalized and tailored to their needs and preferences. "DOMOTEX is picking up on this trend, because if other products can be tailored to lifestyle preferences, then the same should also be true of floor coverings," explained Gruchow.

Immersive showcase of creative ideas

Hall 9 is the new jewel in the crown of DOMOTEX. It is the home of the "Framing Trends" display area, a richly diverse and immersive showcase in which established companies, industry newcomers and artists will engage with the keynote theme in an array of creatively staged displays. "Framing Trends" comprises four distinct zones, where visitors will be able to experience and interact with all kinds of out-of-the-box ideas and designs. In the "Flooring Spaces" zone, companies from the floor coverings industry will stage extraordinary product showcases that play with and reflect on the individualization trend. Next-door, exhibitors will partner with interior designers to craft inspiring spaces and lifestyle realms in the “Living Spaces” zone. Then there’s the "NuThinkers" zone, where students and young designers will redefine interior design with a dazzling array of unconventional ideas and product prototypes. And finally, the "Art & Interaction" zone will present the keynote theme of "UNIQUE UNIVERSE" in a sensory feast of exhibits from the worlds of art and design, paired with interactive multimedia displays. To ensure that "Framing Trends" delivers a consistently high-quality visitor experience, the organizers have appointed a panel of experts under the leadership of Peter Ippolito, of Büro Ippolito Fleitz Group (Stuttgart, Germany), who will determine which of the ideas and designs submitted are worthy of going on display.

As its name suggests, the "NuThinkers" zone is for alternative thinkers who can envisage a world beyond the main stream. The exciting new ideas on display there will include a new kind of floor heating system inspired by reptilian thermoregulation, a self-driving robotic painter that can create personalized floors, and a virtual reality software that uses body movement to create individualized spaces in real-time. When it comes to exploring the keynote theme, the sky is – literally – the limit in the "Art & Interaction" zone. "Meanwhile in the Universe", for instance, is an installation in which visitors can open a window to catch their own little glimpse of infinity – in the form of a live feed of outer space from NASA.

The "Endless Uniqueness" installation offers a similarly interactive perspective on the keynote theme. For this, 50 creatives, including Germany's ten best interior designers, were each asked build their own personal interpretation of the "UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE" keynote theme in the form of their favorite items and flooring staged inside an open mirror box. The boxes are arrayed opposite a giant mirror kaleidoscope that reflects the boxes and the visitors walking among them. As they walk through this mirror installation, visitors can change and rearrange the materials in the boxes, thereby creating their own unique design universe.

Captivating supporting program in Hall 9

To add to the inspiration on offer, the upcoming show will feature a captivating program of speaking events – the DOMOTEX Talks – inspired by the "UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE" keynote theme. Among those to speak are renowned architects such as Jürgen Mayer H. (J.MAYER.H und Partner, Architekten MbB, Berlin), Andreas Krawczyk (NKBAK, Frankfurt/Main), Chris Middleton (KINZO, Berlin), Werner Aisslinger (Studio Aisslinger, Berlin) and a number of founders of amazing startups and trailblazing next-generation designers. Held on the "Framing Trends" stage in Hall 9, each day's Talks will comprise three speed presentations followed by a moderated discussion panel. The Talks will explore a range of highly topical and innovative projects and ideas from architecture and design. They will be grouped into three main theme areas: "Modular design: individual versus mass-produced?", "New one-off originals: handmade versus digital?" and "Retail interactive: virtual versus real?" The Talks are aimed primarily at architects, interior and product designers, but are also of interest to forward-thinking exhibitors and visitors. There will also be daily Guided Tours of the show, led by big-name architects and designers. For visitors, the tours are a great way to gain deeper insights into the keynote theme and the products on display and, of course, to make contact with key exhibitors. In the center of the "Framing Trends" area, visitors and exhibitors will find lounge-style meeting areas and a café – the ideal settings for relaxed, informal dialogue.

The Carpet Design Awards are another Hall 9 highlight. The internationally coveted award honors the world’s best new designer carpets in eight categories. The 24 carpets shortlisted for the award will be on display in Hall 9 for the duration of DOMOTEX. Hall 9 will also have a key focus on the exciting promise of virtual reality as an interior design tool. Virtual reality is set to transform the way we shop for floor coverings and furnishings and how we connect with one another and perceive the world. On the subject of virtual reality, it is worth noting that DOMOTEX’s organizer, Deutsche Messe, has developed the "hackvention event series" – a new international series of events in which, among much else, companies from the skilled trades, commerce and industry can use virtual and augmented reality to develop concepts and prototypes for individualized products. The series runs in August and November 2017, and a number of DOMOTEX exhibitors are taking part. The fruits of their foray into VR and AR will be on show at DOMOTEX 2018.

Change to show days

Starting in 2018, DOMOTEX is moving from its traditional Saturday-to-Tuesday format to a new Friday-to-Monday format. This means DOMOTEX 2018 will open on Friday 12 January and remain open until Monday 15 January. The change comes in response to calls from many exhibitors to switch the official DOMOTEX opening day to Friday.