Guest blog by Sophie Minshall and Hannah Seward
What better way to start the new year than by taking in some European culture and design? A group of third year BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern and BA (Hons) Textile Practices students did exactly that…
We began our whistle-stop tour of Germany in Berlin, where we spent time taking in the city’s vibrant art and design scene. The first stop was Deutsche Bank, KunstHalle for the current exhibition of Fahrelnissa Zeid, an amazing collection of work spanning eight decades, including some incredible large-scale abstract paintings, rich in colour and design inspiration.
"The trip was enormously enriching and has provided us with endless inspiration for designing and curating our final show; an amazing experience."
Walking from Museum Island, we passed the beautifully haunting Holocaust Memorial, through parkland and on to the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Museum of Decorative Arts. Here there was so much to see, from Bauhaus design to art nouveau objet d’arts, a comprehensive history of fashion and finally a superb exhibition on the art of florals, Form Follows Flower.
After a day of soaking up these cultural delights, we headed downtown to check out the boutiques and shops and get a feel for the what’s on offer in the high-end European market.
Starting at Gallery Lafayette we browsed the gorgeous fashions of Gucci, Burberry and the like, as well as sampling some very tasty macaroons in the food hall! We also made some new discoveries, amongst our favourites were the fashion house Etro and luxury, interior design company Ligne Roset.
On our last morning in Berlin we headed to the East Side Gallery, walking the 1316 metres of the largest open-air gallery in the world to view the impressive range of art graffitied on the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.
With weary legs, we boarded the train to Frankfurt, glad of the chance for a few hours rest in preparation for the next day’s excursion to the Frankfurt Messe Exhibition Centre to see the globally renowned design show, Heimtextil.
And it was incredible! Messe Frankfurt is unbelievably vast, so we were pleased that we’d made a plan of action.
First, we explored the Trend Theme Park, taking in what their industry experts had curated as the design trends of the future, all under the umbrella ‘The Future is Urban’.
We listened to a presentation by Caroline Till from FranklinTill, a London-based company that makes up one of Trendtable’s (Heimtextil’s trend forecasting group) base of expertise, exploring the Maker, Healthy and Flexible Space.
We also attended a talk from Judith Van Vliet, President of the colour marketing company Clariant who offered amazing insights into where the colour forecasts have come from and where they are headed for 2019/20.
Heimtextil is the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles and is the first trade fair of the year for its sector, acting as a climate and trend barometer for the new business year.
Our next port of call was the Textile Designers hall to have a look at the prints being sold and do some all important networking. There was a diverse range of companies and it was great to meet with people in the industry from all over the world face-to-face, who are doing what we are training to do.
The Italian design studio Nerodiseppia was one of the most exciting new studios we engaged with, they were happy to talk about their experiences and had the most beautiful stand.
In the afternoon we spent time absorbing the companies and products on offer in the numerous halls; a huge array of bedding, wallcoverings, flooring, bath and tableware.
We finished the day with a complimentary cocktail at the networking ‘happy hour’ event before heading to Frankfurt for our final night. The trip was enormously enriching and has provided us with endless inspiration for designing and curating our final show; an amazing experience.
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