Arts & Design

Home designers’ new secret weapon: Print

The outside-in trend is getting a boost from modern printing’s prowess at fusing high-quality images onto just about anything.

By Garage Staff — January 17, 2018

It may be winter, but you need to start letting nature in.

That’s the takeaway from designers showing off their latest flights of fancy at Heimtextil, the planet’s largest home-textile show, which ran from Jan. 9 to Jan. 12 in Frankfurt, Germany. The show’s hottest trends include offices with canopies made of live plants, wallpaper splashed with massive abstract flowers and indigo designs across all kinds of surfaces. 

As the world hurtles toward an ever more urban and digital future, interior designers are searching for new ways to bring nature inside.  At two of the show’s main displays — the Urban Oasis and the Healthy Space — furniture, pillows, drapes and floors all featured complex layers, soft textures and undulating fabrics that mimic the natural world. 

A search for connection

This focus echoes two other concepts guiding designers and lifestyle pros these days: biophilia and botanicals, as seen in a host of trends, including the proliferation of essential oils for everything from beauty care to pet calming, the craze for botanical teas and the use of plants throughout the home and office, including in bathrooms and kitchens. 

“It’s all about man’s connection with nature,” says Jennifer Castoldi, who runs Trendease International, an international multimedia and design research firm that helps companies track design trends and find cutting-edge designers. Castoldi worked with HP to weave several interpretations of flora-and-fauna themes into the company’s stand at Heimtextil.

By teaming up with designers, HP wanted to showcase the versatility and value of the company’s printing capabilities. The designers’ work was printed on a range of substrates, including cork, sparkly wallpaper and even antimicrobial fabric, with the resulting prints adorning lampshades, ceilings, floors — and wrapping around sinks.

A design by ATADesigns and Arka Chergui inspired by the iconic British bulldog — but in this case resting on a bed of flowers.

Courtesy of ATADesigns

A design by ATADesigns and Arka Chergui inspired by the iconic British bulldog — but in this case resting on a bed of flowers.

Heads up for a “textile swoosh”

Castoldi chose 10 designers to outfit a variety of rooms in HP’s display, which included a bedroom, a living room and a lounge.

In the bar area, Annette Taylor-Anderson of ATADesigns decorated a wall with prints from her “All Things British Collection,”  including a print she designed with Arka Chergui that overlays an eclectic collection of British icons such as  a bulldog, a horn, and a whistle over a pattern of British flowers.  She also hung “a textile swoosh” — a 100-foot swath of fabric that covered the entire length of the ceiling. The billowing layer is printed with images of the gigantic roses growing at Kew Gardens, near the designer’s London studio.

Taylor-Anderson says the design — called Kews Ghost Roses — is a traditional yet contemporary and ethereal take on the classic rose in bloom. It features silk leaves repeated on rich, dark, sophisticated tones of blue, pink and green. The overall effect is that of a ghostly garden.

“I love working with texture and layers, so the flowers are very layered to get that see-through, weaving-in-and-out effect,” says Taylor-Anderson.

The bedroom featured the work of Sasha Donkin and Charlotte O'Reilly, whose prints explore man’s impact on nature, especially global warming and endangered species. One of Donkin's techniques is ice-dyeing, in which fabric is covered with ice that has been sprinkled with dye. As the ice melts, the pigment falls onto the textile in random patterns. Donkin used fabric she ice-dyed to create blinds and bedding. O'Reilly's prints feature her sketches of animals overlapping with drawings of the flowers growing in her backyard.

“It’s more than aesthetically pleasing design,” says Castoldi. “It’s storytelling.”

Kews Ghost Roses, a printed fabric designed by Annette Taylor-Anderson.

Courtesy of ATADesigns

Kews Ghost Roses, a printed fabric designed by Annette Taylor-Anderson.

Plenty of room to grow

This is HP’s second year working with designers and its seventh at Heimtextil — it was the first company to come here to show off how printers could transform the textile market. Today, digital textiles make up only 2% of the overall textile market, but the segment is expected to grow quickly, propelled by the desire for print on demand and the need to turn around fashion items in a snap. According to Allied Market Research, the global digital textile printing market is expected to climb around 18% annually between 2016 and 2022, to $3.9 billion.

“The trend now — and it’s well beyond a trend, it’s reality — is mass customization,” says Terry Raghunath, business development manager for decorative printing at HP. “People are looking beyond brand logos now. It has to be yours. It has to be your name, your color. That’s changing everything, including home fashion.”

For designers, this new world of custom-printed home goods delivers a treasure trove of opportunity — the first being a garden in any room of the house.   


Check out a few of the ways HP is changing interior design.