I was visiting Domotex 2014 to look at the latest trends and technology and it was a little disappointing to be able to ‘do’ the show in half a day; where were all the Axminster broadloom manufacturers? It was fortunate that I had a few meetings lined up to pass the time. One exception was Techfloor Services Ltd (not exhibiting but holding meetings) who have something very interesting up their sleeve with regards to Axminster carpet. I have been involved in design and creative consultation but I will say no more at this point as they are working feverishly on this project. Look out for it later this year.
There were a few worthy and notable exhibitors and so my first shout out goes to Wools of New Zealand for an excellent stand with 10 partner companies represented. It was mentioned that it had a similar feel to Chelsea Harbour,all the partners had stylish, semi open plan offices tastefully coordinated with the main stand. I confess to having a vested interest as I designed the stand carpet which was inspired by the creative manager at Wools of New Zealand and gave the impression of Italian ceramic tiles made in printed wool with a random mosaic border creating a centre rug in Wilton using New Zealand wool.

Next door was the Best stand with their trademark natural colours and smooth, even textures with stripes thrown in for good measure. Best always throws a good end of day party and the Sunday evening gathering was a great opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie between members of the ever decreasing circle of British Carpet manufacturers.
A visit to Tuntex was next on the agenda to check out their latest carpet tile designs including commissioned work from Tracey Walsh Design for their recently acquired Colortec machine from CMC. Tuntex and I had a joint discussion with CMC on their stand about the machine’s ability to create axminster type carpet with high speed tufting technology and they may have talked me into a visit to CMC in Chattanooga for a few days training, watch this space.
Staying on the subject of Machine manufacturers I spent some time on Cobble-Van de Wiele’s stand discussing their machinery and designs.I regularly design for Cobble who have recently merged with Van de Wiele and I wish them many successful years.
Chromatone was next on my list and it was good to see they are still going from strength to strength with their range of colour poms for the industry which I find helpful, for instance, when trying to describe a blueish grey colour with a hint of reddish brown to an international client. Much easier for both parties to pick out the matching Chromatone pom.
From a designer’s point of view the best time to visit the stands is on the last day when it’s quiet and stand representatives are short of customers and so are eager to help as it alleviates the boredom. Overall there were plenty of plains, textures, ribs and stripes and colourwise it was all things neutral with soft, dusky, greyed off colours( see what I mean, I could quote Chromatone colours I suppose).
To sum up the exhibition, in my opinion the industry needs a talented, freelance designer of Axminster, Tufted, Wilton and Printed carpet as things are looking a little staid and could do with a shake up but then I would say that wouldn’t I?
As the plane filled with demob happy stand holders and visitors for the evening flight home, the flight attendant studied us and finally asked what we had been visiting as a group of farmers had been on the flight the week before and she could instantly recognize their line of work. We told her we had been to a flooring exhibition and she said, “I would never have known”. We must hide our light under a bushel.