Attendance was down, but the mood was generally upbeat, according to organizers of the recent Domotex 2009, held Jan. 17-20 in Hannover, Germany. The attendance at this year's show was about 38,000, a drop of 19 percent from last year's record-breaking 47,000 visitors. The number of exhibitors at the show also fell slightly: 1,394 this year compared to last year's 1,442. However, show organizers noted the "caliber of attending professionals" was high.

“Any crisis also creates a wealth of new opportunities. Domotex 2009 has emitted positive signals in tough times and given the industry valuable guidance for the road ahead,” said Stephan Kühne of the Deutsche Messe Managing Board in charge of Domotex.

He added that Domotex 2009 featured a strong international presence, with the number of international show goers up 5 percent for a record 64 percent of the total turnout. “With 82 percent of exhibitors and 64 percent of trade visitors coming from abroad, Domotex has underscored its significance as a beacon for the global flooring industry - even in a time of international economic incertitude," Kuhne noted.

Domotex 2009 hosted a range of industry events. The Skilled Trades Forum featured presentations by leading specialists on current practical issues, including state-of-the-art processes and techniques. The Initiative for Safer Working Practices meeting focused on health and safety and issues for floorlaying professionals. In the European Team Floorlaying Competition, teams from seven countries faced off to demonstrate their skill and quickness in floor and parquet laying. The Italian team took first place in this year’s competition.

Also features was a two-day “world of acoustic” information forum, covering building acoustics. A series of lectures and workshops featuring architects and scientists explored the optimum design and planning of building acoustics as a key aspect in user comfort. The two-day event also included practical simulations and experiments.

Another highlight of the show was the Contractworld event, showcasing some of Europe's star architects. Presentations included those by urban planning and tourism expert Dr. Felizitas Romeiss-Stracke in the “Hotels/Spas/Catering Facilities” category, and Bishop Margot Kässmann, of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Hannover, in the “Use Conversion” category, on the pros and cons of converting worship areas for alternative uses. The four-day meeting held in concert with Domotex drew 2,500 architects and interior architects.

Domotex also hosted the unveiling of the world's largest Nain carpet, measuring 20 by 20 meters. Handmade in Iran, the flooring was knotted in a single piece over a period of six years, and has approximately 490,000 knots per square meter. A total of 2,250 kilograms of wool, 300 kilograms of natural silk and 1,280 kilograms of cotton went into the filigree design.

Domotex 2010 is set for Jan. 16-19, 2010, in Hannover, Germany. Upcoming regional shows include Domotex asia/Chinafloor (March 24-26, 2009, in Shanghai) and Domotex Middle East (May 17-19, 2009, in Dubai).