Hannover. Year after year, DOMOTEX serves as a prime source of inspiration on the shape of things to come, and reliably holds a mirror to and highlights the very latest floor covering trends and innovations. True to this role, from 2018 on DOMOTEX will be annually sporting a keynote theme, the first of which will be "UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE" – a tribute to the quintessentially human quest for uniqueness and individuality now giving rise to a mega-trend of product and service customization and personalization. This theme will be explored in depth during the DOMOTEX Talks to be held in Hall 9 alongside another "UNIQUE YOUNIVERSE" focal point: the new "Framing Trends" showcase. The Talks program will traverse several highly topical and fascinating projects from architecture and design, picking up on initial ideas and following them through the design process, right through to production and sales strategy. The speaker lineup includes global experts and world-renowned designers and architects – obviously – but also founders of exciting new startups and next-generation designers.

Read on for an overview of the 2018 DOMOTEX Talks program

Modular design: Individual versus mass-produced?
Friday, 12 Jan., 2018, 1-3 p.m.
Speakers: Werner Aisslinger (designer, Studio Aisslinger, Berlin), Andreas Krawczyk (architect, NKBAK, Frankfurt/Main), Chris Middleton (co-founder, Kinzo, Berlin)

Modular design enables a high degree of flexibility across the entire product lifecycle, from development to use. At the same time, living in today's society is increasingly about staying flexible and adaptable. These trends are opening up a whole new world of architecture and interior design in which modules are pre-fabricated and can then be assembled in all kinds of combinations. In the furniture industry, systems of interchangeable modules first arose in the 1960s and 1980s with manufacturers like USM Haller and System 180. These manufacturers are still highly relevant today, and their ideas are still sparking a lot of new design solutions. Then there's the approach taken by interior design customers like Adidas, SoundCloud and 50Hertz. They contract interdisciplinary interior architecture and design firms like Kinzo to develop multifunctional yet highly individualized work environments using flexible design and furnishing systems. The result: entire office floors that look more like co-working spaces for startups, creatives and digital nomads than the headquarters of large corporations. Werner Aisslinger, Andreas Krawczyk and Chris Middleton will be reporting on a wide range of projects and sharing insights from their work for corporate clients.

New one-off originals: Handmade versus digital?
Saturday, 13 Jan. 2018, 1-3 p.m.
Speakers: Veronika Aumann (textile designer, Experimental Materials Research, Weissensee Academy of Art Berlin), Manuel Jimenez Garcia (co-founder, madMdesign, London), Gilles Retsin (founder, Gilles Retsin Architecture, London), Fabian Scheurer (co-founder, Design-to-Production, Zurich)

Hand craftsmanship is currently experiencing something of a renaissance in contemporary design and the lifestyle sector. Traditional artisan techniques are being rediscovered and reinvented, factories are becoming manufactories, and "craft" is in – be it in the form of micro-breweries in New York and London or the one-of-a-kind creations gracing the fashion capitals of Milan and Berlin. This nostalgia for handmade, one-off originals is coming up against the modern reality digital manufacturing processes, although the tension is more apparent than real. Additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and, on an even more modern note, 4D printing with its materials that reshape or re-assemble themselves over time, open up fascinating new possibilities for individualized design and "super-personalized" products. These digital technologies effectively mean that the efficiencies of mass production can now be used to create one-offs that are unique in every way, from shape to material composition. In this Talk, Veronika Aumann, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Gilles Retsin and Fabian Scheurer will discuss the convergence of hand craftsmanship, contemporary design and cutting-edge digital technology.

Retail Interactive: Virtual versus real?
Sunday, 14 Jan. 2018, 1-3 p.m.
Speakers: Jürgen Mayer H. (founder, J.MAYER.H und Partner, Architekten mbB, Berlin), Theresa Schleicher (Strategic Communication Consultant, Author and Future Talk speaker at Zukunftsinstitut, Frankfurt/Main), Sven Samplatzki (Managing Director, nation d GmbH, Hamburg)

While eCommerce is booming, some of the biggest and best-known names in conventional retailing are now pinning their hopes on decidedly unconventional formats that enable in-store customer engagement and transform retail space into art. Known as "mixed commerce", these sorts of solutions combine elements of both real and virtual shopping. Shoppers can go to physical stores and engage with products and materials both physically and digitally. This approach lends itself well to product personalization. Pop-up stores also enable personalization – by providing a limited range of carefully selected items. Online retailers like MONOQI and SELEKKT operate along similar lines, albeit in a purely digital space, by offering a limited range of hand-picked one-off-original and limited-edition products. Jürgen Mayer H., Theresa Schleicher and Sven Samplatzki will discuss, among much else, the impacts of new technologies on retail shopping behavior; the potential of VR and AR for marketing and sales; and the ways in which designers are responding to today's changing retail environment.

Nuthinker Stage: What's Next?
Monday, 15 Jan. 2018, 1-3 p.m.
Speakers: Guest Dr. André Nakonz, Dr. Suzanne Köchert and students from Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dr. Klaus Teltenkötter and students from Mainz University of Applied Sciences, Dr. Katrin Greiling and students from Saarland University of Art and Design.

"NuThinkers" is a section of the "Framing Trends" special display in Hall 9 where NuThinkers – i.e. students – will present a series of innovative projects inspired by the individualization trend. The projects on show include a carpet that purifies the air, a floor tile that changes color depending on the viewing angle, a floor surface made of beeswax, and a type of flooring that – thanks to an instantaneous chemical reaction – can be sprayed on and then "cooked" to return it to its original state. The "NuThinkers" zone has a Talks stage, where budding young designers and architects from the Hannover, Mainz and Saarbrücken universities of applied sciences, art and design and their supervising professors will present unconventional product designs and offer fresh perspectives on the world of interior design. The presentations will also be a beacon and gathering point for all visitors who are reaching beyond today's plethora of mass-produced products in search of out-of-the-ordinary creative concepts and new directions from the next generation of designers.

There will also be Guided Tours of the show, led by big-name architects and designers, including Peter Ippolito (Ippolito Fleitz Group, Stuttgart), Jürgen Mayer. H. (J.MAYER.H und Partner, Architekten mbB, Berlin) and Susanne Schmidhuber (SCHMIDHUBER, Munich). 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 exhibitors. The Guided Tours will run from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. on all four days of the show.

The Talks speakers in brief:

Werner Aisslinger, Studio Aisslinger
Werner Aisslinger is a designer with an enduring fascination for unusual materials and new technologies and their design applications. His innovative projects and visionary spaces resonate far beyond the world of design. www.aisslinger.de

Andreas Krawczyk, NKBAK
The multiple award-winning educational buildings designed by NKBAK are based on prefabricated modular systems that provide a high degree of flexibility and hence enable very contemporary, dynamic building processes. Most recent award: 2017 DAM architecture award for "The 24 Best Buildings in/from Germany" www.nkbak.de

Chris Middleton, Kinzo
Kinzo is a Berlin-based interior architecture and design firm that crafts innovative work environments for clients of all kinds, from budding young enterprises to big names in
business. These include: 50Hertz, Adidas, Axel Springer, Ernst & Young, Erste Group, Roland Berger, Tishman Speyer, SieMatic and SoundCloud. www.kinzo-berlin.de

Veronika Aumann
Aumann, a textile designer and researcher, divides her time between conceptual work at the interface between technology and textile in the human/machine/body context and designing classic textile collections and patterns for clothing and interiors. www.st4sd.de

Manuel Jimenez García, madMdesign +
Gilles Retsin, Gilles Retsin Architecture
Manuel Jimenez García and Gilles Retsin jointly teach and research at various institutions, including the Bartlett School of Architecture, London, where they work in the Architectural Computation program. They are also co-founders of two architecture and design firms which apply architectural computation principles in their work. www.manueljimenezgarcia.com/news

Fabian Scheurer, Design-to-Production
Fabian Scheurer is a co-founder of Design-to-Production, a firm that specializes in building data modeling and parameterization – a business model that fills the digital gap in the building process chain between initial design and production. By mastering complexity, the firm helps many of the world's big names in architecture realize their projects. www.designtoproduction.com

Theresa Schleicher, communications expert at Zukunftsinstitut Frankfurt
Theresa Schleicher has worked as a retail strategy advisor to major corporations for many years. Her clients market a diverse range of consumer products, from automobiles to FMCG. Ms. Schleicher is the author of the Retail Report 2020 published by Zukunftsinstitut Frankfurt.

Sven Samplatzki, nation d GmbH
Sven Samplatzki is the founder and managing director of nation d GmbH, a consulting firm and provider of digital technology services. Technology and digital innovation have been constants throughout Sven Samplatzki's illustrious career.

Jürgen Mayer H., J.MAYER.H
The internationally renowned architectural firm works right at the interface of modern architecture, communication design and new technologies. Its award winning Volt Berlin concept for a multi-purpose experiential building complex in the heart of the German capital is emblematic of the firm's innovative approach to design. Volt Berlin caters for the modern urban lifestyle. The building complex will comprise multi-brand retail stores, food services, entertainment and event venues and a hotel.