Trip to a carpet fair

I recently embarked on a trip to the Domotex Carpet Fair in Hanover. This is something I have wanted to do for many years. I have been to Harrogate Carpet Fair a few times, Surfaces in the states probably a dozen times and back in the good old days there was even a carpet fair in London. However Domotex is the biggest of them all. There were 13 halls crammed full of carpets, rugs, laminates, wood floors, tools, carpet tufting machines, cutting machines, fibre producers even leather & hides.
I arrived at 10am after leaving Stanstead at 8am. It was then an easy shuttle to the exhibition centre, by 11am I was walking through the doors of Hall 2, which was the start of my 3-day experience. In this hall were some big bespoke rug suppliers. You could by everything from a tufted to a unique masterpiece in fibres that make you think did I really read that right? When you ask the folk on the stand how would you maintain it? Their eyes glaze over which make you think they have just been given some sad news or they suddenly realise that English isn’t their first language and the answer isn’t forthcoming. Of course as someone who has cleaned a rug or two you get to know what needs to be done in order to maintain them, I was just trying to chat to the suppliers.
After 3 hours of wandering around this hall I move on to Hall 3 where the centrepiece is Iran showing just what they were capable off. One machine made carpet that was hanging, was over 20 feet tall with a very detailed pattern of columns from a ruin I can only assume was from the country. It was certainly common to see rugs depicting photographic pictures on them both big and small. You could walk in and out of the stands quite happily, I took the opinion that I wasn’t necessarily there to buy but to admire, to gain information and grab the atmosphere. So I made sure that sales staff knew that I was interested more as a cleaning consultant than purchasing so that they could judge if they wanted to spend time with me or move on to a purchasing situation with someone else on their stand. This proved a good move and there was no pressure from the sales staff and most were very helpful. I met up with some colleagues from the UK whilst wandering around which was a nice way to spend sometime chatting about what we had seen or missed. I continued round to Halls 4 & 5 where most of the wall to wall stuff was as well as the British Stand entitled The Best of Wool, many of the folk on these stands were from the UK, showing some new products as well as quality. One interesting product was from Martinello Ginetto they have created a wool/viscose/bamboo/nylon chenille loop pile carpet that has a rugged look, its called Heather Tweed. Watch this space. The first day for me ended at around 4.30pm as I wanted to find my hotel in the centre of Hanover and Domotex was a fare way away. The info centre at the fair was most helpful, explaining that the Metro was the easiest to use and my entry ticket to the fair covered the cost. I took two trains and about 16 stops and I was within 200 mtrs of my hotel, simples. It was basic but central and clean; the staff were more than helpful.
Day 2 was rug day. There were 2 halls 16 & 17 that housed more rugs than you could ever imagine. Most were hand knotted and were all shapes and sizes. I was in a candy shop, there were silk (real), wool, linen, cotton and even polyester. There were Tabriz’s, Heriz, Gabbeh, Qum, Kilim’s, Afghan’s Nepalese, Indian, Chinese, Moroccan, Turkish, Uzbekistan, Pakistani’s and loads more. One type of rug that seemed to have many stands showing them was patchwork rugs. These were made up using old pieces of rugs that had been damaged or discarded or I believe made especially for the purpose. They were very interesting, some had been purposefully distressed or aged and usually sewn together in 45cm squares, then a cloth back is attached. Some of the rugs had been given a particular hue to them; I guess the makers had felt this enhanced the look? None the less I can’t wait to see one that needs cleaning. When wandering around these halls I couldn’t help thinking how they had been shipped from around the world to get here and how long it all took. The container companies must be doing a roaring trade to enable the show to go on. The rugs were being turned over and over so buyers could view them and then the pallets were being loaded with the rug buyer’s pickings. The forklifts were picking them up and loading the waiting trucks continuously.
Day 3. Today I concentrated on wandering through the middle halls where the tools, equipment, laminates and wood were. It wasn’t long before I wandered back into the rug halls to get another look at the beauty of these pieces of art. Even the odours that some of them had was a draw, some had the rawness that you would expect from the tribal communities, others smelt as though they had been through a washing process and were on the final part of the drying cycle, then you had the ones that had been through a complete finishing process and just smelt new. I finished the day walking through 1st Rug Avenue this is where designers had created several room sets using modern and old but had been integrated with hand knotted rugs from many different countries, some on the floor and others on the walls. This really showed how you could add to the room using rug art. It was now 4pm and time to travel home. I was laden with books, brochures, samples and my rugs left on a pallet hoping that they will find their way home. Can’t wait to go back next year, the dates are 17th to 20th January, put it in your diary and plan early, you won’t be disappointed.



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