Bigger and even better than last year, Luxury Brands at the 2018 Domotex asia/CHINAFLOOR (20-22 March) was the second edition of the collaborative show organised by COVER and DACF. While last year’s event was a great success, increasing the number of high-end exhibitors from 13 to 16 gave the exhibition even greater gravitas. The high quality of the display not only pleased the exhibitors but was also remarked upon by the Asian and international visitors.
Each company showed two rug designs and due to the diversity of the 16 high-end contemporary rug companies chosen by COVER, the overall display of 32 designs was a great showcase for the best rugs that are on the international market today: from the fresh clean look of cc-tapis, Creative Matters and HOC and the intense colours and creativity of Rug Star and Wool & Silk to the traditional Persian interpretations of Hossein Rezvani, Edelgrund, Lila Valadan and Zollanvari. Afghan brands Ariana and Amadi introduced a more tribal look, while Samad brought transitionals, Tufenkian and Art Resources had an arty edge, French Accents’s rugs featured great colour and texture, and New Moon’s creative style won the heart of more than one visitor.
The contemporary rug market in China is developing fast. A taste for traditional design is still very prevalent but the demand for cool contemporary designs has most definitely arrived. It is clear from the number of Luxury Brands sales completed and connections made during the show that those willing to invest in high-end handmade rugs are making their way to the DACF display. While the Luxury Brands show establishes itself, the audience for the type of rugs on show is building and building. It is hard to pinpoint what kind of design was particularly popular but contemporary and transitional decoratives were definitely crowd-pleasers.
Meanwhile, 2018 marked Domotex asia/CHINAFLOOR’s 20th anniversary and celebrations included a grand gala dinner on Monday 19 March, the night before the start of the show. During the evening, COVER Editor Lucy Upward was not only asked to give out awards for the InnovAction Flooring Campaign (focusing on innovative flooring collections, framed in a display by architect Kostas Chatzigiannis) but COVER also won an editorial award.
W5 is DACF’s handmade hall, featuring a variety of work. This year, one side of the hall was given over to design and innovation, not only featuring the Luxury Brands stand but also a Materia exhibition of materials, the InnovAction display, a Cadex area for talks and the Chinese brand TAN—who work with artists and designers like Beijing-based Studio Henny van Nistelrooy. In Shanghai, TAN debuted a new furniture collection and is about to launch an interior design section of the firm. Another good contemporary collection came from Nasser Nishaburi, who displayed his new Silence collection that debuted at Domotex Hannover in January and features in COVER 50. Designed by Luis Eslava and featuring cotton Zilu double cloths, a range of hand-knotted rugs and various machine-made designs, the entire collection represents the breadth of possibility in Iranian production. In terms of talks, on Wednesday 21 March, Jürgen Dahlmanns of Rug Star spoke on the subject ‘Diversity Movement Colour’—discussing his design process which ties into our article on Rug Star in COVER 50.
In addition to all these show events and displays, COVER also organised a buyers’ tour of Domotex asia/CHINAFLOOR, which proved to be a fruitful endeavour. International rug buyers from areas such as the US, Australia, the Middle East and South America came to Shanghai to find new products, predominantly in the tufted and machine-made halls for more commercial projects. Lucy Upward headed a large group through several of the carpet halls to get acquainted with some of the Chinese brands on offer. It was a great way for those new to China and to the DACF event to source products and make contacts.
Taking into account all the projects COVER was involved in at DACF 2018, our trip to Shanghai was a resounding success. Everyone involved in the Luxury Brands exhibition was very positive about the experience and we have already begun work on Luxury Brands 2019. The show next year promises to be bigger and better as our relationships with DACF and contacts in Asia strengthen and develop. We are looking forward to next year already!