Original designs, amazing interior spaces and intelligent solutions: That's the experience that awaits visitors to DOMOTEX 2018 when design students, young emerging designers and flooring-savvy startups get together to stage their innovative, visionary ideas inspired by the show's " UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE " keynote theme. The bright young pioneers of tomorrow’s floors will open up fresh new perspectives on the world of interior design as they stage their unconventional creations in the "NuThinkers" zone that forms part of new "Framing Trends" display area in Hall 9. The talent lineup will include students from the universities of Mainz, Hannover and Saarbrücken, who will present their own unique interpretations of the individualization megatrend. "'NuThinkers' is a platform for creative ideas and experimental design. It is a key highlight and meet-up zone for all DOMOTEX visitors who want to experience life beyond the mass market and sample some of the more out-of-the-ordinary creations and directions being pioneered by the next generation of designers," commented Susanne Klaproth, the director in charge of DOMOTEX at Deutsche Messe.

Revolutionary, creative floor coverings

The "Nuthinkers" showcase mounted by the students from Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts is called "Innovative Flooring". 14 students from the university's interior architecture and design program are currently designing creative new floor coverings that they will be presenting at the show in prototype form. "As future designers, the students are tasked with developing practicable, sustainable products," explained Guest Professor André Nakonz of the Faculty of Media, Information and Design, who is heading the project along with the university's Professor Suzanne Koechert. "As an expression of the individualization trend, the keynote theme UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE fits in perfectly with our objective of combining superior design values with ecological and economic responsibility," he said.

The students have been given a choice between two potential approaches to developing their innovative floor coverings. They can either draw inspiration from the plant or animal kingdoms, or they can focus on renewable materials and ecological sustainability and work from there to develop a new type of floor covering. A key part of the brief is that their prototypes should still be in the experimental phase. The idea behind consciously avoiding production-readiness is to create an inspiring and visionary study of product individualization. Thus, in terms of its staging at DOMOTEX, the project will be a blend of research lab and design workshop and will provide insights into the work processes used by the students in developing their creations.

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Virtual reality software that uses body movement to create individualized spaces

Meanwhile, the students from the "Communication in Space" master's program at Mainz University of Applied Sciences' design school are working on spaces in which communication and information play a special role. For their project, "Individual Motion Space", the students are developing a virtual reality application that enables users to design individualized spaces in real-time using their own body movements and then translate their designs into real, physical spaces using digital production technologies. The project is headed by Professors Klaus Teltenkötter and Bernd Benninghoff. "The project uses motion sensors to capture the movement data so that it can be used to design a virtual three-dimensional space that can be implemented in a variety of potential forms. Algorithms then translate this 3D model into a format that can be used for digital manufacturing. The VR application itself and a 1:1 model of one of the potential implementations will be on display at DOMOTEX," Teltenkötter explained.

Custom carpet concepts

Saarland University of Art and Design (HBKsaar), Saarbrücken, will also have a presence in the "NuThinkers" zone. Under the leadership of Professor Katrin Greiling, Faculty of Product Design, the "NuThinkers" students are currently working on 12 individual projects. They include modular, eco-friendly carpet solutions that enable users to individually configure their own constellation of materials, patterns and shapes; a carpet that can be transformed from its normal two-dimensional form into a three-dimensional object and thus combines elements of traditional weaving with modern 3D printing; and a simple tool that can be used to individually tailor carpet dimensions, texture and pile.

The 12 projects will be presented to a selection jury on 24 July. The jury, headed by the renowned architect Peter Ippolito, of Büro Ippolito Fleitz Group, Stuttgart, will select the five finalists that will be exhibited at DOMOTEX. The students will then be given support to find manufacturers with the requisite skills and technologies to transform their ideas into reality.

A richly diverse and immersive world of experience

The "NuThinkers" zone is part of "Framing Trends" – an exciting new showcase in Hall 9 that is sure to be an absolute visitor magnet at DOMOTEX 2018. "Framing Trends" is an immersive, emotionally charged showcase that will bring the show's UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE lead theme to life in a celebration of innovation, inspiration and international collaboration. There are also three other zones in the Framing Trends area: "Flooring Spaces" is where companies from the floor coverings industry will stage highly creative product showcases. Then there's the Living Spaces zone, where exhibitors will team up with partners from the interior design sector to stage unique interior spaces, inspiring designs for future living, and innovative lifestyle realms. And, finally, there’s the Art & Interaction zone, which will provide an artistic perspective on UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE. The lineup will also include tried and tested formats such as talks and guided tours.