Viewpoint by: Stephan Ph. Kuhne Member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe AG
Deutsche Messe organized the very first DOMOTEX in 1989. The industry already had a high profile at that time and was in urgent need of an international showcase.
The success of that very first event confirmed that we had made the right move. 531 manufacturers of industrially produced floor coverings and of hand-woven and hand-knotted carpets flocked to Hannover. For the carpet and floor covering industry, this was an important step towards gaining recognition as an independent sector, and demonstrated much entrepreneurial courage and self-belief. For the very first time, the latest collections, newest materials, most up-to-date designs, trends and traditions were displayed in all their glory. 15,000 visitors came to the inaugural DOMOTEX that year, far surpassing all our expectations.
The suppliers of oriental carpets were “excluded“ from the Heimtextil trade fair in Frankfurt and wanted to blaze their own trail in the future. They were due to take part in the Format floor covering trade fair in April 1989, but, for these suppliers, that was much too late. The “World Trade Fair for Carpets and Floor Coverings“ – the fair`s title in 1989 – was created by Deutsche Messe in response to input from high-profile representatives of the industries and associations affected by the exclusion from Heimtextil Frankfurt. The brand new fair was supported by numerous carpeting manufacturers from both Germany and abroad, and by the over 100 members of the German Association of Importers of Oriental Carpets in Hamburg. The first fair took place in Hannover from 9 to 12 January 1989. After its premiere in 1989, DOMOTEX quickly became an essential date in the diary of anyone involved in the international carpet and floor covering industry. As a leading international trade fair, it did not simply reflect the trends of the day – many parallel developments on the market often converged for the very first time at DOMOTEX in Hannover, and the event itself has thus provided the impetus for many a popular trend. Then, like now, we at Deutsche Messe had the task of developing a flexible information platform that was carefully tailored both to the needs of exhibitors and visitors and to the ever-changing market environment.
DOMOTEX experienced a significant boom as early as 1991, buoyed up by a German construction industry flourishing in the wake of reunification and by the massive backlog of demand in the former East Germany. Manufacturers from across the globe gathered in Hannover to welcome major buyers from the wholesale and retail trades. With the event still in only its third year, the number of foreign exhibitors at DOMOTEX had by now outstripped the total number of exhibitors present at the very first fair in 1989. The event was attended by almost 1,000 exhibitors and 25,000 visitors. Today, the most important industry event for the carpet and floor covering sector attracts more than 47,000 visitors from over 80 countries. The figures show just how crucial a role DOMOTEX now plays within the industry – since the first DOMOTEX in 1989, the number of exhibitors and visitors has almost tripled. Manufacturers, wholesalers, designers and associations display an astonishing spectrum of products, the diversity of which is simply unmatched anywhere else. Carpets, textile and resilient floor coverings, parquet, laminate, natural stone, and ceramic tiles are featured alongside application and floor-laying technologies.
In the course of its 19 years, DOMOTEX has also witnessed increasing interest in non-textile floor coverings. Like application and floor-laying technologies, parquet and laminate flooring has achieved a far higher profile, although not at the expense of handmade carpets and textile floor coverings. Natural stone and ceramic tiles made an impressive debut in 2004, confirming DOMOTEX`s status as a yardstick for current and future trends. With the success of DOMOTEX, contractworld was the next logical step forward for the event. This reflected the fact that, over the years, DOMOTEX had also become increasingly important to architects and interior designers. Hannover is now the hub for anyone keen to discover the latest developments in the industry.
The concept of contractworld, linking exhibition, congress and architectural prize, proved to be a great success from the outset and generated extremely positive feedback from visitors. Today, visitors can enjoy an ideal mix of architectural and product-based information and take the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with their peers.contractworld congress is now the biggest annual architectural congress in Europe. With its comprehensive program of presentations and workshops concentrating on offices, hotels, shops and education, it is the ideal forum for high-level knowledge-sharing with internationally renowned experts. The contractworld.exhibition area is a showcase for top international floor covering manufacturers and interior design companies, with a firm focus on the contract sector.
This is the place to see the latest innovations and trends, concepts and brand new materials. With a prize fund of EUR 50,000, “contractworld.award“ is Europe`s most prestigious architectural prize for interior design. The award, which rewards innovative interior design concepts, was bestowed by Deutsche Messe for the eighth time at DOMOTEX 2008.
The unique feature of DOMOTEX is, and has always been, its outstanding international character. 80 percent of participants come from abroad, making DOMOTEX one of the most global trade fairs in the world. In terms of display space, the most prominent foreign player is Belgium, followed by Turkey, the Netherlands, India, China, Italy, Iran, Switzerland and Great Britain. Around 60 percent of visitors to the fair come from outside Germany. We will do everything it takes to ensure that the success story of DOMOTEX HANNOVER continues. To do so, we as organizers will maintain the closest possible contact with the industry and keep our ear to the ground. A trade fair can never remain static – it must be synonymous with the future. Otherwise, it simply will not succeed. We will continue to work on expanding the global presence of the brand. Over the past few years, we have already made great progress in this respect – the rapid development of DOMOTEX asia/Chinafloor in Shanghai and DOMOTEX Middle East in Dubai are two prime examples. Watch this space!