DOMOTEX 2019: Interview with Global Director Sonia Wedell-Castellano

Inspiration Floor

Thomas Geuder
29. January 2019
Interview partner Sonia Wedell-Castellano (photo: Deutsche Messe)

This year, DOMOTEX – the world's leading trade fair for floor coverings – took place from 11 to 14 January. From Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Global Director DOMOTEX, we wanted to know more about the strengths and future of DOMOTEX. 10 questions from Thomas Geuder.

Interview partner: Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Global Director DOMOTEX, www.domotex.de

Mrs. Wedell-Castellano, what is DOMOTEX able to achieve?
DOMOTEX represents the entire world of floor coverings and brings together business partners from all continents. It gives purchasing agents the opportunity to meet new suppliers. And it ensures that architects take notice of trends, innovations, and new materials.

What does DOMOTEX mean to architects, interior designers, designers, and planners?
With our range of services, we provide the most comprehensive market overview for floor coverings from all over the world – almost 90 % of our exhibitors come from abroad. With the 'Framing Trends' hotspot in Hall 9 on the guiding theme of 'Create'n'Connect', we additionally provide an inspiring glimpse into the future. Guided tours to trade fair highlights, which are led by renowned architects and designers, as well as panel discussions on current topics round off the program.

The guiding theme of 'Create'n'Connect' was translated by Stefany in an abstract and philosophical way. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)

What does DOMOTEX have to offer for international exhibitors?
International exhibitors, in particular, appreciate the fact that they can also meet European and German visitors at DOMOTEX. After all, our exhibitors from Asia and the USA come to DOMOTEX in Hanover with precisely this aim in mind. In addition, they can also meet their market companions and obtain ideas for their own product development.

How do you assess the innovation density among exhibitors this year?
Especially in the field of carpets there are permanent novelties, this year, too. Some manufacturers present new collections every year and wait for DOMOTEX to launch them.

Susanne Schmidhuber (left, with microphone) was again responsible for the special area 'Framing Trends' this year. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)

What is particular about the Framing Trends concept?
Framing Trends offers everyone – visitors or exhibitors, distributors or interior designers – a number of highlights and inspirations. In a sometimes playful way, it shows the creative design possibilities floor coverings offer, but also the additional areas of application. In short: it's a small and also interactive world of experience that we create with Framing Trends in Hall 9.

What is the international visitor response?
Well, a share of 70% of international visitors, a figure that has remained constant over the years, probably answers this question. But seriously, many of our international visitors are "repeaters". They want to inform themselves about new developments and trends in the industry but also about new technologies.

What do architects, interior designers, designers, and planners think about DOMOTEX?
At DOMOTEX, they research, for example, trends and innovative materials. The color trends or key areas such as sustainability, recycling, and new material cycles they discover at DOMOTEX can be transferred to the respective fields of work of architects or designers. Each of them can thus take along new and good impulses for their work.

With his tour, Hendrik Müller (in the foreground, left) was aiming for a good cross-section through the world of flooring. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)

What makes Hanover a particularly attractive trade fair location compared to others?
The international character that DOMOTEX offers and our service. This diversity of nations – more than 60 countries are represented here at DOMOTEX – makes the world's leading trade fair for floor coverings unique. There is no comparable trade fair of this size. Even our own DOMOTEX events abroad are not as international in character as they tend to cater to the regional market.

How do exhibitors feel about the future of their industry?
2018 fell short of expectations for this industry, especially in Germany and Europe, due to the warm, long summer. Those who do not also supply to other markets might not be able to compensate the decline so easily. Fortunately, however, our exhibitors at DOMOTEX did good business. So, the purchasing volume of our visitors has not decreased. Accordingly, our exhibitors are looking ahead rather cautiously, but nevertheless optimistically.

What will the future direction of DOMOTEX (have to) be?
We will adapt our services and measures even more specifically to the different needs of our various visitor target groups and exhibitor groups. We already have some good ideas as to how we can achieve this. One is, for example, the guiding theme, which represents exactly the right megatrend for floor coverings in 2020. It is very tangible – many exhibitors and visitors will be able to identify themselves with it. There's a lot to do. Let's get started!

Thank you for the interview, Mrs. Wedell-Castellano.

The development from tradition to modernism was a central theme of Tour #3 with Prof. Peter Greenberg. In the picture: The Rug Republic (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
Tour #4 gave us an insight into the quality characteristics of Indian carpets at Jaipur Rugs. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
During her tour, design journalist Martina Metzner analyzed the digitalization in the industry. In the picture: Paulig, who presented a special app. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
The focus of Tour #6 with Petra Wollenberg and Roland Bondzio was the naturalness of materials. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
Polina Goldberg was fascinated by the possibilities that the basic material cork now offers. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
During the final tour with the NuThinkers, the students were happy to be inspired by the materials and techniques. (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)
The well-proven World-Architects DOMOTEX team (photo: Markus Bachmann / World-Architects)

Impressions from Domotex 2019:

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